At a LIFE couples retreat you learn to love your spouse better. Two of the best ways to show love to your spouse and create a healthy relationship is to validate and support them.
Validating and supporting does not necessarily mean agreeing with or conceding to him or her, but it does mean trying to understand why your partner feels and acts a certain way.
Validation is often verbally communicated. For example, if you have just arrived late and your partner is upset, you should verbally admit that you were late, apologize, and recognize his or her anxiety or feelings about the situation. This shows that you care about your partner’s feelings and time.
Physically, validation can be communicated through intimacy or a reassuring touch. Repeatedly rejecting your partner’s physical advances actually affects you chemically, causing distancing and sometimes resentment. Instead, validate your partner’s physical needs and presence by responding happily and encouraging your physical connection.
Support has similar verbal and physical cues that make a big difference. Frequently tell your partner how much his or her efforts mean to you, congratulate accomplishments, and stand up for him or her in front of family or friends.
To physically show support you might hold hands in distressing (or normal) situations. You might also keep a hand on your partner’s back or arm while in public.
All relationships require encouragement and time to make progress. And like anything worth having, good marriages don’t just happen.
When you attend a LIFE small group Marriage Retreat or a LIFE private Marriage Retreat you will learn skills like validation and support to grow in your marriage. A couples retreat is one of many marriage retreat ideas that can rekindle romance and interest in your marriage.
Even if you think there is little hope for your marriage, you can find lasting change, peace, and growth that will help you and your partner feel accepted and worthy of trust, love, loyalty, and time. Contact us today to schedule a LIFE Marriage Retreat.
Perhaps, like me, you have received some extra-special Christmas gifts: A favorite doll, the perfect bike, or the fashionable jeans you wore until they were ragged. When I was 9 and everything I held dear was about army and battle Mom and Dad gave me a toy machine gun mounted on a tripod that I still remember in every detail. It had a red plastic “flame” cylinder that popped in and out of the muzzle when I pulled the trigger, and made a machine gun sound that was music to my ears, but apparently was not as pleasing to my mom as she insisted that I play with it outside.
While it is customary at Christmas to give gifts wrapped in shiny paper and exotic bows, and while all of us appreciate tangible gifts, remember that your loved ones have a variety of so-called “love languages,” or favorite ways to be shown love and appreciation. Dr. Gary Chapman has defined what he refers to as the Five Love Languages:
1. Expressing gratitude for others and acknowledging the simple as well as important things they do.
2. Offering your undivided attention to a person and spending meaningful time with them.
3. Giving gifts and other tangible expressions of love.
4. Helping someone through service, such as assisting them with errands or household chores.
5. Expressing love through physical contact such as a hug or holding hands.
While we enjoy and appreciate all of these expressions of love and caring, we also tend to have a particular favorite. For me it is feeling acknowledged and appreciated. For Margo it is receiving the gift of meaningful time from others.
Take a moment and rank the love languages in the order of importance to you. You might ask your partner to do the same. It is a fun exercise and you might learn some things about one another. There is nothing wrong with giving your loved one the perfect gift with ribbons and bows, but also remember other offerings of time, attention, service, acknowledgment, and touch that will help make this Christmas Season especially merry and bright for you and your relationship.
Merry Christmas from LIFE Marriage Retreats!
The song “Love is a Rose” by Neil Young has always been one of my favorites. I mention it now because of a truth that it speaks to me. The song begins, “Love is a rose, but you better not pick it. It only grows when it’s on the vine. Handful of thorns and you’ll know you’ve missed it. You lose your love when you say the word mine.”
Love is indeed like a rose. As a verb, love connotes action. When the action ceases, the love dies. In other words, love must be maintained in order for it to survive.
For many of us who are in committed relationships, the love that we feel wanes from time to time. For some, the love may have even diminished entirely. So what can we do to strengthen our love, or bring it back from the dead, so it can maintain its full bloom? For an answer, look back to the last line of the song verse above. “You lose your love when you say the word mine.”
As long as you act selfishly, the love you seek will elude you. If you really love your partner, or want to love them, begin to act selflessly for them. Plan a date that they will want to do. Leave the last piece of desert for them. Offer to give them a back massage or foot rub. Like water and sun to a rose, selfless acts of kindness will nourish the love in your relationship and help it to blossom.