How can you best love your spouse? Here are some basics to identify their unique love profile and meet their needs while avoiding potential pitfalls.

On a mission to love…

Every couple wants to avoid divorce and get along without too many fights. A successful marriage, however, is much more than just this; it is a life-long union in which both husband and wife flourish as individuals and enjoy a deep and passionate intimacy.

Thinking only in terms of ‘avoiding divorce’ is very limited. It’s rather like a student who only aims to pass: if you miss the mark by even a little, you are already in trouble.

We have a different proposition: make marriage your vocation, your whole life’s work. Convince this man that he is loved and appreciated; convince this woman that she is understood and cherished.

That’s the job description. Actually, it is more like a mission, and if you approach it with a proactive mindset, you can take it on with confidence and enthusiasm. You can dedicate all of your talents and intellect to achieving your goal. Put your whole self into this mission as a total gift of self-donation.

Fifty-fifty doesn’t really work, because it leads you to hold back and to keep score. Your potential to love your whole life long is all in your will: you choose it, and you are freer than you think to make choices that will be good for you and your marriage. It is not difficult or mysterious once you clarify the mission, clear out the obstacles, identify your resources and make the most of them.

1. Know your spouse’s Unique Love Profile

Falling in love is a conversion experience. Most of us start out as self-centred individuals and suddenly find ourselves caring more about someone else’s happiness than we do our own. Some of the joy that we associate with being ‘in love’ is really that freedom to be outside of ourselves, caught up in the goodness of the other. Their strength or beauty may attract us, but in order to love with an authentic other-centred love, we need to know the other.

We cannot love someone effectively until we know them well. Thinking about your spouse…

  • When is he/she most joyful?
  • What does he/she long for or desire most?
  • What does he/she worry about or fear the most?
  • About what does he/she get irritable or complain?
  • When does he feel most strong in his masculinity, or she feel most feminine?
  • When does he/she experience self-doubt or feelings of inadequacy?
  • When does he/she feel most appreciated? Respected? Cherished?
  • When does he/she feel most needed? Trusted?

2. Meet your spouse’s Love Needs & avoid your spouse’s Love Busters

If you want to love your spouse well, you’ll need to focus on meeting his/her love needs and avoiding his/her love busters. It’s pretty simple really… once you know what they are! So make an action plan:

  1. List your spouse’s top five Love Needs and top five Love Busters.
  2. Starting with the Love Busters, choose one to eliminate this week. Think about when you are most likely to do a Love Buster and plan how you will avoid it. For example, say your spouse’s top Love Buster is breaking promises. Maybe you are most likely to do this because you get caught up at work and then are late home. Maybe you can change that and maybe you can’t. What you can change is the promise. Resolve to not make promises you are likely to break. Plan what you will say when your spouse or child asks before you leave home so that you don’t get tempted into making a promise you can’t keep.
  3. The following week, choose a Love Builder to focus on. Again, plan the specific way you will implement that Love Builder each day during the week. For example, if your spouse’s Love Need is admiration, you might plan to praise him/her each evening over dinner.
  4. Each week, add another Love Buster or Builder.

Find out more about Love Busters and Love Builders here.

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Originally published at SmartLoving. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.

About the Author: Byron and Francine Pirola

Married for 25 years, with 5 children, Byron & Francine Pirola are the founders and co-authors of the SmartLoving Series – marriage enrichment and marriage preparation courses designed to help build successful and resilient marriages. International speakers and authors of numerous articles on marriage, more than 3000 couples have attended their programs, workshops and conferences in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain Byron & Francine are Executive Directors of the Marriage Resource Centre from which they run SmartLoving programs and produce digital resources. Francine graduated from Fordham University with a Masters in Religion and Religious Education. Byron is a founding partner of the strategic consulting firm, Port Jackson Partners Limited, and a Director of both listed and unlisted companies. He holds a PhD from the Commonwealth Centre for Gene Technology, Adelaide University.

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