Category Archives: Gift

Top Ten Gifts on HER list for free!!

Are you on a very tight budget and still looking for that perfect gift for her–so that you’ll have a reaction like the picture? Here are the things on her wish list that you can give her for FREE…and they will help kindle the love in your relationship.
1. Intimacy–And nope, I don’t mean sex. I mean opening up and being best friends and being emotionally close. I mean opening up and including her in your thoughts and feelings.

If you want to really strengthen your marriage and have a warm, loving, safe relationship with your bride, I would say give her the gift of intimacy. Share yourself, your life and your thoughts with her. Tell her how you feel. Be open to her and let her see the real you. One thing that extinguishes love quickly is being closed, not sharing your thoughts and feelings, and creating a life that excludes her. (And fellas, just so you know, when your gal is excluded she starts to feel less desired/desirable and sexual desire decreases). Sooo… #1 on her Christmas Wish List will definitely be: Give her YOU! She wants you.

2. Romance–UGH, I know the guys hate to hear this, but one of the best free gifts you can give her is to romance her like when you were dating. Now, I do have pity on you guys–romance can be hard to do on a daily basis, but here’s some practical assistance:  The Affaircare Romance Calendar.   This little calendar changes every month and has one daily suggestion for an idea for your sweetheart.  So if you are NOT the creative, Don Juan type, but you are in your heart, use that as an idea and even if the suggestion doesn’t work for you, pick another day.  Yes, it takes a little effort every day. Yes, it’s worth it.

3. Conversation–Okay this one is a little easier, in a way.  When you two wake up in the morning, when you’re back together after work, when you’re eating dinner, when you lay down to go to bed at night…take some time and talk to her with the TV off, no newspaper, and your PC turned off.  Give 100% attention and act like as if you are interested in her and her day.  It feels crummy when you talk to someone and they are halfway watching a show or reading something and you know that they aren’t really paying attention to you.  Also, I’ll be honest–eventually she’ll feel like this: “Do I have to set myself on fire to get your attention?”  Trust me–you don’t want to go there.  So take the time for her and her alone. The benefits are BIG!

4. Cheerlead–WHAT?  The macho males are supposed to be cheerleaders?  Yes!  Cheer on your bride.  People will tell her how great she is, how well she did or how proud they are, so you be the one with the loudest voice telling her first. And I’m not talking about false compliments here.  I mean see her for the amazing person she is and really make sure that she knows you see it.  Create that environment that when something great happens to her at work or at home, the very *first* person she thinks of telling is YOU.  If she does something you like or you’re proud of…tell her!  If she really tries to make a hard new recipe and it turns out great…tell her!  Be your wife’s biggest fan.

5. Sex–Hmmm…sort of a touchy, personal subject here and I do realize that different women react differently, but men… women like sex too!  There have been tons of books written about the differences between men and women but looking again at The Generous Husband one thing that guys often “don’t get” is that we are hard-wired to want sex when we feel safe, loved, and close to a man…and if one of those three is lacking, what happens is that we might even TRY to respond but physically we can’t get there.  Hey the fact is, our brain is our largest sexual organ!  On the other hand, when the lady in your life does feel safe, loved, and close to you, then WOW please feel free to be Mr. Sexy with her because it kindles that desire!  Again, part of feeling desire is to feel that you are desired…so on the occasion go with the rose petals and candles and at other times, be aggressive, make your move and take her like you can’t wait to get her clothes off!

6. Chores–This is another one that makes husbands roll their eyes but is actually a great gift! If your wife is a stay-at-home-mom, she likely is “on duty” 24hr./7 days a week for laundry, dishes, dinner, picking up the house, and actually cleaning (like with comet and mops).  So while you may work 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday–she works midnight to 11:59pm Sunday to Saturday.  If your wife is a career woman, then just like you, when she gets home from working all day, she has a list a mile long of chores she has to get done around the house just for cleaning and daily “wear and tear.” My point is that no one can feel lovely and sexy when there’s laundry to get done before tomorrow, the baby is crying and has a fever, and there’s a sink full of dishes.  If you were to both work on all three together though, she would feel grateful for the help and like someone was on her side helping…and that leads to feeling close which leads to feeling loved and sexy.  So yep–man up and change that diaper or scrub that sink, and give her a hug while ya do it.

7. Play–again, this one can be fairly easy. Play together.  Remember when you first met how you used to chase her around and try to tickle her?  Remember how you used to tell jokes and laugh at each other?  Remember how she would go to ballgames with you, and you’d go to ballet with her (even though neither one of you really were fans of it)?  People have fun together and enjoy each others’ company in a thousand ways, but this year for Christmas, give her that fun back.  My Dear Hubby and I *LOVE* to play video games together, create RPG’s together, go camping together, watch football together, and watch movies together. What do you just LIKE to do with your bride?

8. Family–Oy “family” is a tricky one.  Give your wife the gift this Christmas of firmly and devotedly defending her and picking her above all others, whether that means against your family or her family.  One thing that REALLY extinguishes love (and quickly!) is the feeling that given the chance to back her or someone else, you pick someone else…and that includes your mother or your daughter!  When it comes to family, you have the chance to really be a “knight in shining armor” and jump to her aide and defend her, but that sometimes means you have to stand up to other people you love. Here’s the thing: I think everyone would like to believe that our spouse would choose us over everyone else in the world. I know that women often fall in love with or feel love for someone who can periodically “rescue” them (and I don’t mean in an unhealthy way).  But imagine the two scenarios: your wife makes a “family faux pas” and forgets to buy a gift for Uncle Jim; your mother criticizes her in front of everyone in less that glowing terms.  #1–You agree with mom and can’t believe she forgot your relative.  Your mom thinks you’re a good son but your wife feels like she’s fighting all alone and you have to go home with her. Where do you end up sleeping?  #2–You stand up to your mom and say it could have happened to anyone or tell her to please speak to your wife more respectfully.  Your mom is a little miffed that you called her on it but your wife thinks you jumped to her rescue and you have to go home with her.  Where do you end up sleeping?

See what I mean?

9. Gussy up–Okay this one goes both ways a little.  She used to look SO AMAZING in that sexy outfit with her hair done up…remember that?  Well life may have intervened a little, children may have come, etc. and some of her physique may have changed a bit, but if she makes the effort to gussy up for you, look at her as if she was that beautiful bride that you could NOT take your eyes off of.  Notice her hair cut, color, makeup and outfit every day.  Say something about it.  Did she offer to wear some lingerie for you?  DROP EVERYTHING and act interested.  And this goes for you too guys…you look like James Bond when you gussy up a little yourself.  So take off the jeans and tee with the stain, and gussy up for your bride.  Do your hair–add some cologne–wear a night shirt and pants that look GOOD on you.

10. Finances–When single men and women fight, they often go to this argument: (Woman) “All you want a woman for is a trophy wife!” (Man) “Yeah? Well all you want a man for is his wallet!”  Fellas, this may seem like an odd gift to give your bride for Christmas, but again trust me, it’s on her wish list somewhere.  This day and age many women are perfectly capable of “providing for themselves” and yet part of being a wife and mother is safety, and as a wife and mother it is a horribly unstable feeling if you’re worrying about becoming homeless or feeding your children.  Now I do realize that not everyone can be in perfect financial condition, and that sometimes women can want a certain lifestyle that you just can’t attain!  But one gift you can give your bride is that firm, safe feeling of knowing that you will work WITH her on the finances so that things are taken care of.  If you two are in financial straits now, give her the gift of making movement toward straightening up the finances!  Just as it would be a huge burden for you to have to “provide for” the family alone, show her that she’s safe and won’t be left alone to take care of herself and the kids.

And there you have it!  Ten gifts that are sure to be on her Christmas Wish List and that you can her for free.

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Not Everybody Has Perfect Holidays

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Not everybody has perfect holidays

The economy is tough right now and many people are out of work, so they can barely pay there bills.  There just isn’t money for presents.

Some people are ill or have a loved one in the hospital.   Some people are alcoholic, addicted, mentally ill or clinically depressed, and the holidays just are not HAPPY.

Some people have a spouse who is committing adultery or who had an affair, and this year they are with the other person having the time of their lives, while the faithful spouse is home alone and left trying to explain to kids why “mommy” or “daddy” isn’t with them for Christmas.

Coping with “less than perfect” holidays starts with going easy on yourself. Here are some ideas to accept:

  • It’s okay if the holidays can’t be what they once were.  Just because you once had thousands of dollars to spend on presents doesn’t mean you do this year…and if you did it last year it doesn’t mean you have to do it this year.  Let the past BE in the past, and do what you can do this year.
  • There is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays.  You don’t have to get brand new electronics for Christmas, or spends thousands of dollars on decorating and the electric bill for lighting the whole house in Christmas lights.  Ask yourself what you want and ask your children what they want.  It is perfect acceptable to celebrate Christmas by spending the day in your pajamas, watching all 3 Lord of the Rings movies, and ordering a pizza if that is what would be celebrating to you.  Sometimes you feel like it’s expected of you…and other people don’t expect it at all!
  • Taking care of yourself must be a priority.  Yes I know the Holidays are a season of giving and thinking of others, but it is okay, during this season, to also take care of yourself .  I don’t mean you should be selfish or self-centered but it is reasonable, especially if you are going through financial worries, illness, or marital difficulties to take some time to care for you.

Here are some coping techniques:

  1. Don’t lose your faith.  Many people become angry with God when they lose their job, encounter a chronic illness, or lose their spouse.  “Where was HE?!!” they wonder.  “Why didn’t He stop this?”  During this time of trial, it can feel very painful and even lonely, but feelings do not determine the truth;  GOD determines the truth.  He has made promises to us:
    • that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 3:16),
    • that He has plans for good and not for harm for our future (Jeremiah 29:11),
    • that He will give us rest  if we are weary and our burden is heavy (Matt. 11:28 and 29),
    • that He will give power to the weak (Isaiah 40:29-31)
    • that He will supply all our needs (Phil 4:19),
    • that NOTHING will separate us from Him (Romans 8:37-39).  
  2. Give yourself permission to “not be perfect”.  So often we hold ourselves to just IMPOSSIBLE standards.  If you can not decorate a tree–see if the kids want to do it, or enjoy the tree at the courthouse this year.  Make some adjustments in what you can do, and do the things you can do with joy.  If it’s not perfect….well oh well!  Big deal.
  3. Make new traditions.  Your old traditions about sharing a big family dinner together may not work anymore, and since there is no “right” and “wrong” way to celebrate the holidays, make NEW traditions that fit with the circumstances you’re in right now.  If you don’t have the finances–go to a meal at your church and enjoy the company of your church family.  If you are ill–go out to Christmas dinner and enjoy not having to do the dishes!   If your family is torn in two by an affair or the kids are grown up and out of the house–have a potluck meal and invite those who don’t HAVE a family to share the day with you.
  4. Volunteer.  So often we think of “what we don’t have anymore” and get depressed that we don’t have the money or don’t have the health or don’t have the family…and we forget what we DO have.  To break out of that cycle, instead of staying home and thinking of what you’ve lost, go to a nursing home and volunteer time with someone who would love to talk to you.  Volunteer to be Santa and pass out candy canes at your child’s school.  Go to the homeless shelter and share coffee and a meal with someone who has no home in the winter.  Go to your local animal shelter and care for an innocent, faithful, loving animal.   Trust me, suddenly your life won’t seem quite so bad and you’ll remember what you DO have.

14 Days of Love Challenge

You know what’s funny?  I’ve always been the kind of gal who’s emotional, sentimental and romantic.  I keep things that remind me of good memories.  I appreciate a good poem, a tear-jerker chick flick, and a half gallon of Rocky Road as much as the next gal!  But to me Valentines Day has always seemed like a made up holiday, specifically made to stimulate “card sales” and as a kick in the pants for the flower economy.  “What does all this have to do with infidelity?”  you ask?  Well…a lot!  I was looking at Valentines Day like I think most folks in western society look at love: like it should just naturally be gushy and romantic, with roses, lace and barbie-doll sunsets!   But in real life, “love” doesn’t just happen effortlessly.  In real life, love is a VERB and it is a decision…a very deliberate choice to act lovingly toward someone, especially the one to whom you’ve made a vow to “forsake all others.”

That’s where the Fourteen Days of Love Challenge comes in.  As I mentioned, Love is a VERB and that means it’s active.  For the first fourteen days of February, we have one loving activity each day on our Affaircare Romance Calendar….so that means today is Day Six already!!  For the first fourteen days of February, I challenge you to stop looking at what your spouse IS or IS NOT doing, and instead look at yourself.  What loving actions have YOU taken?  And for these 14 days, rather than doing nothing or wishing your spouse would be romantic or loving…YOU be loving!  When your spouse is not exactly wanting to be with you or not treating you in a loving way, the temptation is to say, “Fine then I won’t be nice back!”  No.  For the next week, leading up to the final day on Valentines Day, make the decision to be the kind of person who honors their promises and acts based on commitment rather than as a reward or punishment.  Be a loving person because that is WHO YOU ARE…not because some does or doesn’t do something to you.

Finally, some of the ideas on the Romance Calendar are geared for couples who are together, but as an example, if you look at Wednesdays and realize that you let TVs and computers and laundry turn your bedroom into a Family Room rather than a sexy haven…now’s the time to love by changing that!  Get some new pillows in rich, royal satin.  Move the PCs out and the incense in.  Get a new nighty and still be the loving, sexy person you are!   The idea of the calendar is to give you an idea…whet your whistle…and let your creative juices flow to suite your particular situation.  And don’t forget, your spouse is not the only person whom you can love during this 14 Days of Love Challenge:

Love Yourself–give yourself that loving gesture you need.  Take time, get to know yourself, and love who you are…and if you don’t love who you are at the moment, become the person you were meant to be.

Love Someone who needs it–do you have an aunt who’s all alone?  How about a old dog who’s been faithful all these years?  A best friend you haven’t talked to?  Love THEM by doing one thoughtful thing for them.

Love Something–love gardening, crocheting, working on your car, dog shows…whatever!  Do some activity that YOU used to just love and haven’t done for a long time.

Love a Stranger–this is especially true when it feels like your world is falling apart and you feel despair.  Go help out at a nursing home.  Feed homeless people.  Volunteer to read to blind children.  Suddenly you’ll realize that your life isn’t so bad after all and they will LOVE you for it.

So I’m laying down the challenge.  Who’s joining in?

Her Christmas Wish List (gifts you can give for FREE!)

Are you on a very tight budget and still looking for that perfect gift for her–so that you’ll have a reaction like the picture? Here are the things on her wish list that you can give her for FREE…and they will help kindle the love in your relationship.


1. Intimacy
–And nope, I don’t mean sex. I mean opening up and being best friends and being emotionally close. I mean opening up and including her in your thoughts and feelings.

I actually read the other blogs on my blogroll, and yesterday I was reading The Generous Husband’s blog Relational intimacy vs sexual intimacy and he really hit the nail on the head. If you want to really strengthen your marriage and have a warm, loving, safe relationship with your bride, I would say give her the gift of intimacy. Share yourself, your life and your thoughts with her. Tell her how you feel. Be open to her and let her see the real you. One thing that extinguishes love quickly is being closed, not sharing your thoughts and feelings, and creating a life that excludes her. (And fellas, just so you know, when your gal is excluded she starts to feel less desired/desirable and sexual desire decreases). Sooo… #1 on her Christmas Wish List will definitely be: Give her YOU! She wants you.

2. Romance–UGH, I know the fellas hate to hear this, but one of the best free gifts you can give her is to romance her like when you were dating. Now, I do have pity on you guys–romance can be hard to do on a daily basis, but here’s some practical assistance:
Loving You: Romance Calendar. This little calendar changes every month and has one daily suggestion for an idea for your sweetheart. So if you are NOT the creative, Don Juan type but you are in your heart, use that as an idea and even if the suggestion doesn’t work for you, pick another day. It’s even clickable so that you can can click on the words and get details on “how to.” 😛 Yes, it takes a little effort every day. Yes, it’s worth it.

3. Conversation–Okay this one is a little easier, in a way. When you two wake up in the morning, when you’re back together after work, when you’re eating dinner, when you lay down to go to bed at night…take some time and talk to her with the TV off, no newspaper, and your PC turned off. Give 100% attention and act like as if you are interested in her and her day. It feels crummy when you talk to someone and they are halfway watching a show or reading something and you know that they aren’t really paying attention to you. Also, I’ll be honest–eventually she’ll feel like this: “Do I have to set myself on fire to get your attention?” Trust me–you don’t want to go there. So take the time for her and her alone. The benefits are BIG!

4. Cheerlead–Hey! The GUYS are supposed to be cheerleaders? Yes! Cheer on your bride. People will tell her how great she is, how well she did or how proud they are, so you be the one with the loudest voice telling her first. And I’m not talking about false compliments here. I mean see her for the amazing person she is and really make sure that she knows you see it. Create that environment that when something great happens to her at work or at home, the very *first* person she thinks of telling is YOU. If she does something you like or you’re proud of…tell her! If she really tries to make a hard new recipe and it turns out great…tell her! Be your wife’s biggest fan.

5. Sex–Hmmm…sort of a touchy, personal subject here and I do realize that different women react differently, but fellas, women like sex too. There have been tons of books written about the differences between men and women but looking again at The Generous Husband one thing that guys often “don’t get” is that we are hard-wired to want sex when we feel safe, loved, and close to a man…and if one of those three is lacking, what happens is that we might even TRY to respond but physically we can’t get there. Hey the fact is, our brain is our largest sexual organ! On the other hand, when the lady in your life does feel safe, loved, and close to you, then WOW please feel free to be Mr. Sexy with her because it kindles that desire! Again, part of feeling desire is to feel that you are desired…so on the occasion go with the rose petals and candles and at other times, be aggressive, make your move and take her like you can’t wait to get her clothes off!

6. Chores–This is another one that makes husbands roll their eyes but is actually a great gift! If your wife is a stay-at-home-mom, she likely is “on duty” 24hr./7 days a week for laundry, dishes, dinner, picking up the house, and actually cleaning (like with comet and mops). So while you may work 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday–she works midnight to 11:59pm Sunday to Saturday. If your wife is a career woman, then just like you, when she gets home from working all day, she has a list a mile long of chores she has to get done around the house just for cleaning and daily “wear and tear.” My point is that no one can feel lovely and sexy when there’s laundry to get done before tomorrow, the baby is crying and has a fever, and there’s a sink full of dishes. If you were to both work on all three together though, she would feel grateful for the help and like someone was on her side helping…and that leads to feeling close which leads to feeling loved and sexy. So yep–man up and change that diaper or scrub that sink, and give her a hug while ya do it.

7. Play–again, this one can be fairly easy. Play together. Remember when you first met how you used to chase her around and try to tickle her? Remember how you used to tell jokes and laugh at each other? Remember how she would go to ballgames with you, and you’d go to ballet with her (even though neither one of you really were fans of it)? People have fun together and enjoy each others’ company in a thousand ways, but this year for Christmas, give her that fun back. My dear hubby and I *LOVE* to play video games together, create RPG’s together, go camping together, watch football together, and watch movies together. What do you just LIKE to do with your bride?

8. Family–Oy “family” is a tricky one. Give your wife the gift this Christmas of firmly and devotedly defending her and picking her above all others, whether that means against your family or her family. One thing that REALLY extinguishes love (and quickly!) is the feeling that given the chance to back her or someone else, you pick someone else…and that includes your mother or your daughter! When it comes to family, you have the chance to really be a “knight in shining armor” and jump to her aide and defend her, but that sometimes means you have to stand up to other people you love. Here’s the thing. I think everyone would like to believe that our spouse would choose us over everyone else in the world. I know that women often fall in love with or feel love for someone who can periodically “rescue” them (and I don’t mean in an unhealthy way). But imagine the two scenarios: your wife makes a “family faux pas” and forgets to buy a gift for Uncle Jim; your mother criticizes her in front of everyone in less that glowing terms. #1–You agree with mom and can’t believe she forgot your relative. Your mom thinks you’re a good son but your wife feels like she’s fighting all alone and you have to go home with her. Where do you end up sleeping? #2–You stand up to your mom and say it could have happened to anyone or tell her to please speak to your wife more respectfully. Your mom is a little miffed that you called her on it but your wife thinks you jumped to her rescue and you have to go home with her. Where do you end up sleeping?

See what I mean?

9. Gussy up–Okay this one goes both ways a little. She used to look SO AMAZING in that sexy outfit with her hair done up…remember that? Well life may have intervened a little, children may have come, etc. and some of her physique may have changed a bit, but if she makes the effort to gussy up for you, look at her as if she was that beautiful bride that you could NOT take your eyes off of. Notice her hair cut, color, makeup and outfit every day. Say something about it. Did she offer to wear some lingerie for you? DROP EVERYTHING and act interested. And this goes for you too guys…you look like James Bond when you gussy up a little yourself. So take off the jeans and tee with the stain, and gussy up for your bride. Do your hair–add some cologne–wear a night shirt and pants that look GOOD on you.

10. Finances–When single men and women fight, they often go to this argument: (Woman) “All you want a woman for is a trophy wife!” (Man) “Yeah? Well all you want a man for is his wallet!” Fellas, this may seem like an odd gift to give your bride for Christmas, but again trust me, it’s on her wish list somewhere. This day and age many women are perfectly capable of “providing for themselves” and yet part of being a wife and mother is safety, and as a wife and mother it is a horribly unstable feeling if you’re worrying about becoming homeless or feeding your children. Now I do realize that not everyone can be in perfect financial condition, and that sometimes women can want a certain lifestyle that you just can’t attain! But one gift you can give your bride is that firm, safe feeling of knowing that you will work WITH her on the finances so that things are taken care of. If you two are in financial straits now, give her the gift of making movement toward straightening up the finances! Just as it would be a huge burden for you to have to “provide for” the family alone, show her that she’s safe and won’t be left alone to take care of herself and the kids.

And there you have it! Ten gifts that are sure to be on her Christmas Wish List and that you can her for free.

The Best Gift: Laughter!

When you’ve been married a year or two like I have you’ll start to realize that one of the most important things about your spouse is not always the romance or the steamy lovemaking…but that your spouse is your best friend, who knows you more intimately than anyone else on the planet and oddly they still decide to stay with you!

At this time of year, when so many people are talking about giving this gift and that gift to your spouse for the holidays–everything from this possession to that sexual act :0 –may I suggest one gift that will last you a lifetime, lower your blood pressure and be better than any medicine over the long run? LAUGH! Laugh together; laugh with each other; laugh AT each other (in a lighthearted way); and be silly! Come on people, life just is not all that serious.

This morning my dear hubby was just waking up and came over by me to give me a good morning kiss. He tried to pick up his coffee cup, but being half asleep, it leapt from his hands and clattered all over my desk. After two seconds of “that horrified face” we realized it was empty and no harm was done… and we feel into each other and burst out laughing. That has lead to a whole day of joking, kidding around, and sneaking up on each other–not to mention unending comments about “dropsy”! 😛

My point is that in life we are often faced with a moment that is a turning point. Maybe our spouse did something surprising, or made a mistake, or outright did something wrong–and we have the chance to choose to be a critic and make them feel worse -OR- to laugh, make life fun and easy, don’t be so serious, have a sense of humor, and let them know that they’re safe. Sometimes it’s not a mistake at all…they meant to surprise us or they said something really funny. LAUGH!! Don’t lightly giggle and blush–roll on the floor and double over, laughing until your sides hurt and your mouth aches.

Likewise, don’t be a stick in the mud. Be funny. Play little practical jokes that might make your spouse laugh. Tease each other. Run around the house chasing each other and squeeling with laughter–and yes even if you’re in your fifties RUN (in that slower William Shatner jog-run). Tickle each other or find a new ticklish spot…that’s always a fun hunt! Tell jokes. Be light hearted

Especially at this time, when there seems to be so much pressure to get to the mall, get the perfect gift, get to all the school plays, get the presents in the mail, get the tree up, get the house decorated, get the menu planned, get the family invitations, get to the Nutcracker or Messiah, and all those other holiday stresses…stop. Laugh. Smear your lipstick? Laugh about it. Mess up your hair? Mess his or hers back! It is the best gift you can give yourself and your spouse–a fun marriage.

The MOST IMPORTANT Gift to Give Your Spouse

I’ve noticed a lot of blogs in the marriage-blogosphere right now along this line: “Christmas Gifts for Your Spouse”, “Get a Gift for Your Marriage”, “How to Strengthen Your Marriage During the Holidays”, “How to Get More Holiday Spirit in Your Marriage” and many of the blogs are neat little romantic things you can do together as a couple–things to bring back the magic and joy of the season. But one MAJOR gift is always missing, and without this gift, the romantic gestures will not be accepted by your spouse and they will not rekindle the love in your marriage.

What is this MOST IMPORTANT gift?
You need to stop being the one who extinguishes love (brings pain to their life) before your spouse will be open to receiving your romantic gestures and loving gifts.

Let me explain a little further. Relationships are a little like a fire. You see each other or meet each other and something catches our interest–sometimes we’ll even say that “sparks flew!” But the relationship is started with a spark. Then there are things done that kindle the fire: she dresses up, wears makeup and perfume, compliments him, and spends all kinds of time with him…and he buys her affectionate little things or flowers, tells her she’s pretty, writes her poems, and spends hours talking with her and getting to know her. Those actions are Love Kindlers and they make the fire grow hotter and hotter. But as time goes by, bills pile up and kids arrive and they both stop doing the kindlers and starts doing things that hurt each other. He works more hours than he spends with her, and when he is home, he doesn’t talk or act interested. If she tries to talk, he yells at her to be quiet. She nags him about the bills and money so he works longer–then she yells about never being home! He plays on the computer and watches football with his buddies, and since she’s not into that, she hangs with her girlfriends and spends money. He tells her she “has to” be submissive and forces her to move and leave her family. She stops respecting him and withdraws, and when he wants sex, she thinks “Are you KIDDING?” Those behaviors are the Love Extinguishers. They are like dumping a bucket of water on the fire of love.

Too often we try to do Love Kindlers while we are still doing Love Extinguishers–and then we feel all justified and say to ourselves, “Well I tried and they just dismissed all my attempts!” But as Christians we are called to love our spouse as Christ loved the Church. We have made a covenant with our spouse to put them and their needs ahead of our own and in all things consider them. So we have a responsibility to look at ourselves and be honest: “What Love Extinguishers am I doing that dump cold water on the love in my marriage?” Until you stop the Love Extinguishers, trying to do Love Kindlers will be like putting water in a bucket with holes…they will just flow out and the bucket stays empty.

So if you really want to give your marriage a gift this Christmas, the little romantic things are nice and will bring back some of the fun and joy–but not if you are still the one causing your spouse pain. The MOST IMPORTANT gift you can give this season is to look at yourself or ask your spouse to tell you, take responsibility for those Love Extinguishers, and then stop them…and make a plan to change!