3.   Write it Out --  Remember what it was like to receive a love letter? There's nothing quite like it. Yes, firing off a text from your phone is easier, but a hand-written letter is much more personal. There's something about seeing your spouse's own handwriting and being able to keep that slip of paper. Write out what is on your heart. If you haven't said it in awhile, it should be said about now, don't you think?

4.   Plan it Out -- Sometimes the best gift we can give our spouse is our time. Are you  a couple that is often over-scheduled? Take some intentional time off just to be with each other. Or better yet, plan a date and take your spouse as a surprise. It could be as simple as lunch out and a walk in the park to reconnect. If you're the busy type, taking time for the one you love is a splurge that may be much appreciated.  

5.    Whip it up -- It's been said that the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. But cooking for your wife might melt her heart as well. Plan an evening to whip up your spouse's favorite dish or dessert. It's a wonderful way to say: "You were worth the time this took to prepare."

6.    Give it Up -- How long has it been since your husband or wife had a day off to themselves? Try giving up something you need to do to offer your spouse some much needed time to relax or work on a project they've really wanted to complete. Take the kids for an evening or take back the "to do" list on a Saturday and say "this one's yours…do whatever you want to do and enjoy it as a gift from me."

7.    Pour it On --  There's nothing like extending grace when your spouse deserved a lecture instead. I'll never forget the day I opened up another notice by mail of a red-light traffic violation. The others had just been cleared from my record. My face went white and my husband, upon realizing what it was, shook his head in resignation and handed over a rebate check he had just endorsed which would now be applied to my latest ticket!  I stood there stunned at his composure, and humbled. I knew that my reaction toward him (if he had been the one receiving the fine) wouldn't have been nearly as gracious as his toward me.  I learned that day what it really means to receive undeserved kindness.  

To splurge on each other is to show God's incredible love toward your spouse as He has shown it to you. You can lavish each other with love, patience, kindness, gentleness, trust, forgiveness, and understanding. To cultivate a closer connection between the two of you, splurge on each other - and love each other - as God loves you.  

February 3, 2011

Hugh and Cindi McMenamin have served actively in ministry together for more than 20 years - he as a senior pastor and she as a pastor's wife, national speaker and author of several books, including When Women Walk Alone and Women on the Edge. They recently co-authored When Couples Walk Together, from which this article is based. Hugh and Cindi live in Southern California and have a grown daughter, Dana. For more on their ministry or for free resources to help your marriage,  see www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.