Growing In-Loveness Through Loving in a Marriage: 3 Tips on Loving Your Spouse
Two people meet for the first time. Sometimes, there's that immediate "zing" and it's love at first sight. Other times, we find the other person attractive, enjoy their personality, and really like being with them. As you explore this relationship further, you start to fall in love. There are so many ways that people meet and fall in love.
The first several months of dating can be amazing and magical! The brain is flooded with the "love" hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is that hormone that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy when you think about the other person. Dating comes easy and you find that you don't have to put much work into the relationship.
As a couple continue to date, the rush of oxytocin diminishes over time, but nature has done its job and the love connection has been made. As people fall in love, a long-term relationship can be the outcome of being in love. Couples in love often see themselves as spending the rest of their lives with that person and choose to get married. And that's where the work of loving becomes a key ingredient to sustaining that loving feeling.
Being in Love & Loving in a Marriage
In couples therapy and marriage counseling, we talk about the feeling of being in love, the act of loving in a marriage, and how loving can help the feeling of being in love grow.
That deep connection of being in love is what establishes a foundation in starting a long-term relationship. But that "feeling" can fade over time. In order to keep that feeling alive, loving a person is key.
There is a difference between the feeling of being in love and the act of loving someone. The feeling is passive by nature and doesn't require action. Being in love naturally leads us to the next step in the relationship and that is loving the person. Love can be a verb, an action word.
As a marriage therapist and couples counselor, we often share ideas on what a spouse can do to love through action. Loving your spouse is a very unique and individualized action.
So, what does "loving" in a marriage look like? It requires intimate knowledge of their passions, values, and goals in life.
Loving Your Spouse Through Supporting Their Passions
Each spouse in a marriage has developed a passion for something over their lifetime. They may have discovered this passion before the marriage or during the marriage.
Sometimes the passion of one spouse aligns with the passion of the other. For example, some couples have a passion for exercise and going to the gym. Others may have passions that align over music, movies, books, etc.
When the passions align, it is easier in some ways to support one another. However, in another way, it can be easy to take it for granted as it's a passion that is shared. To love a spouse with a shared passion, a spouse would need to find areas to go out of their way to show that love.
For example, if a spouse has a particularly hard time getting out of bed in the morning to go to the gym, the other spouse could wake up earlier, make coffee, and bring them coffee in bed.
When a spouse is passionate about something that you do not share can be more challenging in some ways. In other ways, it is easier as you don't share the same passion which provides more obvious ways to support your spouse.
For example, one spouse has a passion for exercise while the other spouse does not share that same passion. To love your spouse, you may go to the gym with them from time to time.
Sharing in the passion of your spouse and looking for ways to go above and beyond is loving your spouse through their passions.
Loving Your Spouse Through Their Values
More often than not in a marriage, a couple's values largely align. And there are times that while the couple's values largely align, there are some that the couple may not share and at times, can come into conflict in the marriage.
One example of a value that may not be shared, but is also not in conflict, is the role religion plays in the marriage. It is not uncommon to have a couple who do not share the same religious affiliation. While the couple may have different religious views, you can still support your spouse in the religious views they hold.
One way to do this is to attend church, synagogue, temple, etc. with them from time to time. Or you can also attend church functions outside of worshipping. Many religions will hold social events. Attending the social events with your spouse can be an easy way of loving your spouse and their values.
One value that can come into conflict in a marriage is the value of hard work. For men, work can become a large part of their identity. Being a hard worker can be a very good thing. It helps provide for the family and provides a good lifestyle.
Being a hard worker also has its downsides. Hard work is syn0nomous with being away from home more often. Where it can come into conflict is when your wife values you being at home with her and the family more often.
Open communication is important. Without blaming or accusation, talk with your husband about how his being away is affecting you and the family. For the husband, talk about the different roles, responsibilities, and obligations you have at work. Your wife may not fully understand the nitty-gritty details if they aren't shared.
Then, love each other. For the husband, find ways where you can be more available for your wife and family. For the wife, as your husband is finding ways to be more available, find ways to be more supportive of the hardworking man you have in your life.
In situations where values conflict, it will take two to communicate and work together to be able to love your spouse through their values.
Loving Your Spouse Through Their Goals
Like values, couples in a marriage may share similar if not the same goals. Where goals are shared, it can be easy to support one another.
And with any goal, motivation is not consistent over time. Motivation to achieve a goal can wax and wane.
One way to love your spouse through supporting their goals is to buoy them up when their motivation may be waning. Look for these times where they may need extra support.
You may know the unique needs of your spouse during these times. Sometimes, you may not, and this is where communication is helpful. Ask your spouse how you best support them in their goals when they may be struggling in motivation to achieve them.
While you likely share many of the same goals, sometimes you may have different goals. Loving your spouse in a marriage through supporting their goals means that you find ways to help them achieve their goals.
This could come in the form of learning more about their goal, the reason for this goal, what drives them to achieve the goal, and what they hope the end result will be once it's achieved.
Once you know this information, you can find the unique ways to support your spouse in your marriage in helping them to achieve the goals they set.
Keeping the Flame Alive in Your Marriage: Growing the "In-Loveness"
Falling in love is that first step in connecting at a deep emotional level for a couple. When a couple continues in that relationship it can often result in a long-term commitment. Most show this long-term commitment to the other person through getting married.
One thing is almost certain: the feeling that you felt in the beginning of being in love can dissipate over time. To keep that flame alive, loving your spouse through action is key.
As you continue to love your spouse through action, that feeling of in-loveness can persist. In fact, that feeling can not only persist over time, but can continue to blossom and grow into a deeper and richer experience of being in love.
Life is tricky and complex. In fact, life can get downright messy. Sometimes it is due to the actions and choices we make. Other times, it may be due to circumstances outside our control.
Regardless of the reason, marriages can be impacted, and the couple suffer. Not many people's first reaction when they are struggling in their marriage is to seek out a marriage therapist or couples counselor. For some, this feels like they are acknowledging a failure in some sort of way. And it's understandable: no one likes to feel that way.
Yet couples therapy and marriage counseling can have a high success rate. This is especially true when you identify and address the challenges early. The longer time passes the more entrenched the challenges can become.
And while it may be a bit more complex to unravel the entrenched challenges, couples therapists and marriage counselors are trained to do just that. We want to help you strengthen a relationship you have worked so hard to build.
If you are considering couples counseling or marriage therapy, give us a call. Schedule a session with one of our couples therapists or marriage counselors. You are not locked into a set number of sessions and can choose how often and how long you come.
We are here to help!
Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy in Katy, Tx & Houston
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we have couples therapists and marriage counselors who can help. It can be a hard first step to take to reach out and schedule an appointment. And when you do, you will find a kind, caring, non-judgmental therapist ready to help you and your spouse.
To start counseling, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Talk with one of our caring therapists
Take the first step in freeing yourself from the challenges in your way
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we provide a variety of therapy approaches that are supported by research and shown to be effective. Some of the teen therapy and young adult counseling we offer are:
Board Certified Neurofeedback Therapy
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Group Therapy for Teens
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling
To succeed in any relationship takes work. This is a common understanding that many of us have.
However, sometimes life will throw challenges at us that create situations that put strain on our marriage or relationship. It may be due to:
Choices and actions that have been made by one partner.
Financial downturn in the economy creating financial strain.
Feeling like you're growing apart.
Feeling like you don't have as much in common as you used to.
Whatever the reason may be, marriage counseling and couples therapy can help. Couples therapy and marriage counseling has also been found to work in less time than individual therapy can.
If you've worked hard for this relationship and find that there are now barriers in the way of maintaining a healthy relationship, contact us at Katy Teen & Family Counseling.
About the Author
Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker - Supervisor (LCSW-S), Board Certified in Neurofeedback, EMDR trained, and a Certified Brain Health Professional through the Amen Clinics. He has provided therapy to teens, young adults, and families since 2003 and is the Owner & Lead Clinician at Katy Teen & Family Counseling.
He specializes in leading teams of high performing therapists who also specialize in teen therapy, counseling young adults, and family counseling.
Jason is also a leader in the field of teen, young adult, and family counseling providing coaching and technical assistance to teen Residential Treatment Centers across the country.
Jason is also a regular contributor to various magazines and publications lending his expertise to various mental health related topics. You can check these articles out on our "Featured Articles" service page on our website.
He has also been a guest on Fox 26 Houston and on a podcast, "Grow a Group Practice" with Alison Pidgeon.
If you are ready to start teen counseling or young adult therapy call, text, or email us today!
Phone Number: 281-519-6364