So if Scott is in the doldrums, Patti’s spontaneity becomes a blessing in his life. And if he just needs things to slow down and get quiet, that’s when her stability ministers to him.

By keeping in the forefront of our minds what our partner needs, we are esteeming them above ourselves. We are showing grace. And we are more likely to give them more of what they need – and less of what they don’t need – at precisely the right time. This Valentine's Day, consider giving the gift of what your spouse needs most. It will let him or her know that you are listening, you are trying and you are determined to achieve a closer connection.  

What is the slogan (or slogans) you two need to adopt to help remind you to offer to your spouse what he or she needs? (Ours are “talk more, touch more” and “listen more, understand more” but yours might be vastly different.) Be creative and have some fun coming up with these. Turn your slogan into a gift by writing it on the card you'll enclose in her bouquet of flowers, printing it on the box of dark chocolates you'll give him, or writing it in a card that tells your spouse your heart is set on meeting his or her needs this year.

Hugh and Cindi McMenamin are the co-authors of When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection. They have served actively in ministry together for more than 20 years -- he as a senior pastor and Bible teacher, and she as a pastor's wife, national speaker, and author of several books including When Women Walk Alone, When A Woman Inspires Her Husband and Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs. For more on their ministry and for free articles of encouragement to strengthen your soul or your marriage, see www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Publication date: February 6, 2013