Written by: Ryan Cook.

It all depends on your perspective, but Valentine’s Day can be super stressful or super fun. The stress comes in various forms. Maybe the stress or pain of being alone, or the stress of pursuing a relationship so you aren’t alone anymore.

Or the stress of being in a struggling relationship and trying to find a perfect gift or perfect restaurant to help make things better. There’s also stress when things are going ‘ok’, but you wish they were great and you don’t want to mess up this really important day. STRESS!!

Then there’s the other side of the ‘pillow’…the relationships that are going great and Valentines is just another day to show how much you love your significant other. There’s no pressure to get some great gift because your beloved already knows how valuable they are. There’s no risk in picking a bad restaurant or making a mistake because you have created an atmosphere of grace and understanding. PEACE!!

So how do you get from STRESS to PEACE on Valentine’s Day? The answer is a long one. In fact, it really takes years of investment. The secret is seeing EVERY DAY as a day to express love, gratitude, appreciation, and blessing to your spouse. Like so many areas of our lives, if you will invest little deposits each day it will add up over time and things in your life will truly be rich!

So maybe you are a couple days from Valentine’s and you’ve thinking…I have a long way to go. Don’t worry. You can get there. Here is one thing you can try this year. If you do then this Valentine’s Day can still be good and future Valentine’s can be AMAZING!!

When you’re out to eat this weekend, or whatever your plans happen to be, ask your spouse these 2 simple questions (and take good notes when they answer).

                                    “You feel loved when I _______?”

                                    “You feel unloved when I _____?”

Now, if you really want to press in, try answering the questions first before you actually ask. See how well you know your spouse. Are they going to say they feel loved “when you do the dishes” or maybe “when you get me a nice gift” or maybe “when you tell me I’m special”?

Do they feel unloved when you “don’t communicate your plans for the evening” or “don’t give them a hug regularly” or “make them do all the cooking/cleaning” or “spend money without talking things through”?

Then, before you ask the questions, you need to know how you’re going to answer. Inevitably, these questions will get bounced back to you, so be prepared. Think through what speaks life, love and encouragement to you. Think about when you feel the most respected or cherished and what did your spouse do to foster that.

Also think about words, attitudes and actions that communicate ‘unlove’. What are the things your spouse does that wound you, frustrate you, and create distance in your marriage? Also, try not to answer this question with a laundry list of accusations. Not Helpful!!

You should also be prepared to apologize when the conversation is over. There will likely be some things that surface that you need to own. Be willing to humble yourself and recognize you have done things that broke trust, wounded, and took love away from your spouse. This is all part of the process.

In fact, if you are in a place of resentment or rebellion toward your spouse you may want to think about NOT asking these questions yet. The only way to make real progress is to ask for and offer forgiveness in the end. If you plan to dig your heels in, then it’s best to wait.

On the other hand, if you ARE willing to humble yourself and repent to your spouse, it could be a real breakthrough in your relationship.  Even if you don’t fully agree with their views, but see that you hurt them, an apology goes a long way.

Finally, you can talk about a plan to do a few things each week, or better yet – each day, that shows love and blessing to your partner. Purpose to make small investments in your marriage and the next time Valentine’s rolls around you will be shocked at how much better things are.

Christian Family Life is a marriage discipleship ministry. We are here to offer resources and support no matter what condition your marriage is in. Our passion is to Build, Enrich, and Reconcile Marriages. Find out more at https://www.christianfamilylife.com/

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