Here are some practical actions you can take to learn how to daily love your spouse in the little things.
I’ve determined that my husband Ted has a foot fetish.
Okay, maybe “fetish” isn’t the right word. Perhaps “preoccupation” or “fixation” better applies here.
When I mentioned this to him the other day, he looked confused.
Foot? Fetish? Huh? Yep, his expression said it all.
That is, until I explained. Suddenly this confused look of his was replaced with one of understanding. You see, I reminded him how often matters of feet make him feel loved.
Take, for example, the matching of his freshly washed socks. In our sixteen years of marriage, this is one action that he’s consistently responded to with an enthusiastic “You love me!”
But that’s not all.
As quirky as it may be, Ted likes me to touch his foot with my foot in the morning before I get out of bed. To him it’s a nonverbal reminder that “We’re good. There isn’t anything strained between us.” It helps him start the day freshly reminded that I love him.
And, if I really want my hot-footed husband to remember that he holds my heart, I grab a bottle of lotion and rub it on his feet while we Netflix binge watch in the evenings. Nothing like a foot massage to communicate to Ted that I’m still glad that I’m his wife.
What about your spouse?
Perhaps he or she doesn’t have a “fantastic foot fetish,” as Ted now calls it, but I have no doubt there are little things that speak big volumes of love to your spouse. If nothing immediately comes to mind, perhaps it’s time to sharpen your inner Sherlock Holmes’ skills.
How can you do that? How can you strengthen those powers of observation? Well, let’s get a bit scientific and look at four ways you can train yourself to be an expert in the ways of your significant other.
According to an article by Time, seeing and observing are not the same thing. It’s one thing “to see” or, as Dictionary.com notes, “to perceive with the eyes; to look at.” It’s another thing to “observe” or, as this trusty online resource explains, “regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something.”
How can you make sure that you’re not simply seeing your spouse, but actually observing him or her? You can do this by teaching yourself to focus your attention on the right details. This is where #2 comes in.
One way you can focus on the right details is by taking field notes. It might seem silly to pull out a notebook to write descriptions and maybe even draw pictures—you know, if you’re the artsy type—of the ways you notice your spouse feels loved, but it’s something that Family Life President Dennis Rainey actually recommends. He encourages:
Become a student of your spouse. Make a list of things that communicate love to your mate and write it in something permanent that can’t be easily lost or forgotten.
Next, you can continually analyze your data. What do your notes tell you about the ways your spouse feels most loved at this point in time? Is it when you speak affirming words to him or her? Perhaps it’s through acts of service, or maybe physical touch. Look for patterns or common threads. You know, perhaps things like feet.
Finally, make it a habit to regularly test out what you’re learning. Come up with hypotheses based on your observations and put them into action. Have fun determining “If I do _____, then my spouse feels loved.”
In an article at ThrivingFamily.com, Dr. Paul C. and Teri K Reisser note:
Your school days may be long behind you, but you never need to stop learning. Careers, hobbies, parenting – life is full of opportunities to grow and gain new knowledge. Unfortunately, there is one subject that far too many adults stop learning about: the person they married.
Let’s not be those adults. Instead, let’s be individuals who are experts in the ways of our spouses. People who can confidently determine whether or not our significant other has a “fantastic foot fetish.”
About Team Us
The best marriages have a teamwork mentality. Spouses serve each other, support each other, and celebrate each other. They tackle life as a unit, and when one slips, the other gives grace. They can be vulnerable together because they know they rise and fall as one.
Do you want a marriage like this? Team Us: The Unifying Power of Grace, Commitment, and Cooperation in Marriage. will help you and your spouse cultivate a teamwork mentality. Ashleigh Slater shares observations from her marriage while offering practical, realistic ideas for unifying yours.
Even if just one of you reads, your marriage can grow in intimacy and joy, providing momentum for the changes you long to see.