Loving Your Spouse
How can you show love, fuel your love, still have special times together when there are no funds for it?
Finances are are on everyone's mind these days, or should I say “lack of finances”. People seem to be cutting back and scraping by, and more often than not one of the first things cut out while trimming the family budget is date night. Electricity, gas, and groceries are just somehow more important.
As missionaries, we live this scenario pretty often. Our income depends on the generosity (and memory) of God's people, and therefore fluctuates considerably monthly. God always provides for our needs, but there is not often extra for a babysitter and a nice dinner out. We have learned in those times to love simply. After all, love has no price tag. You can't buy it, and you certainly don't NEED money to maintain it.
Here are some of the ways we love simply.
Coming and Going
Whenever one of us leaves the house or returns we seek the other out for a goodbye or welcoming kiss. This seems insignificant perhaps, but goes a long way in communicating that “you are the most important person in my life, and I love you.”
“I love you anyway.”
Early on in our marriage this became a meaningful phrase for us. It takes the place of I-told-you-sos, it softens the blows of unwanted surprises, it reduces the sting of failures, and lets us know that the other is committed to this marriage no matter what happens. A simple statement, but packed with as much love as four words can hold.
I think nearly every couple has a song that is “theirs”. That holds a special meaning for them, or is tied to some special memory. We have two or three that nearly always evoke a smile and a softening of the eyes at the memory. Every now and then one of us will surprise the other by randomly turning on one of those songs, pulling the other close and reliving the memory. It's a simple way to say “Remember? I love you. Still.”
Every now and then we do have a chance to slip away for an hour or two of alone time. Replacing a full course meal at a high dollar restaurant with $4 worth of coffee in a quiet little shop downtown, or a milkshake and a walk in the park is one more way we have chosen to love simply. The food isn't love, it the time and the conversation and the chance to hold hands and stare undistracted into each other's eyes for a few minutes. We cherish those coffee (and park) dates.
The Love Fund
Getting back to the financial side of things, we don't often afford luxury anniversary getaways, but we do save for our anniversary all year. We have specified a certain coin that is our “I love you coin”. For us it is a 10 peso coin (approximately $1USD). Whenever that coin comes into our hands, it is ceremoniously set aside and placed into our Love Fund. We love to wink at each other and make a big deal about adding the next coin or coins to the jar. It ‘s a simple way to anticipate that special time together all through the year. And when the anniversary is approaching we count up the Love Fund and add it to any extra money we may be able to squeeze out of the budget, planning our anniversary celebration based on that total. We've done this for a couple of years now, and really enjoyed it.
There are many more ways to show your spouse love in simple, free and inexpensive ways. I'd love to hear some of your favorites. Won't you share them with us in the comments?
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