Quentin Hafner suggests celebrating your spouse with as much enthusiasm as you celebrate your kids.
I recently went to a friend’s baby’s first birthday party … it was quite a celebration. And rightfully so—celebrating our babies and their milestones is part of the joy of being a parent. There were lots of gifts, kisses, family, friends, toys, great food, and drinks—all in honor of the little one turning one!
There was something about this birthday party that really caught my attention, and I’ve been thinking about it for the past few weeks. I started imagining, “What if we celebrated our spouse with the same enthusiasm with which we celebrate our kids?” How would our marriages be different?
For the time that I’ve been with my wife—dating and married—I’ve never celebrated her birthday, our anniversary, or any milestone about her or us with a fraction of the celebratory vigor that this little one-year-old was privileged to have on his first birthday. Maybe that makes me a fairly awful husband, but I think this is what many of us do—unfortunately. For the past several years, celebrating my wife’s birthday or our anniversary usually involved some small gift, a card, and going out to dinner. I won’t be winning any prizes for creativity or husband of the year! And while there’s nothing wrong with low-key celebrating, why doesn’t the celebration of her life or our life together demand the same enthusiasm as we’ll offer our son on his birthday? We’re talking about renting a pony for him this year. A pony.
As this thought has been percolating in my mind, I’ve started to notice and pay attention to the difference between my interactions with my wife and my interactions with our son—the differences in how I celebrate each of them. Yesterday, I came home from work and rushed through the door to eagerly greet my son whom I’ve desperately missed all day. I grabbed him, picked him up high in the air with a smile that stretched from East to West. I was overjoyed to see him. And to my wife, I offered a “Hi Sweetie,” with love and affection, but clearly lacking the enthusiasm I showed for our son!
In this vein, my wife and I have been working on being more conscious about celebrating each other and our marriage daily with as much enthusiasm as we celebrate our little guy. Celebrating our kids is certainly a gracious heavenly gift—and so much fun—but how can we love and celebrate our spouses and our marriages with the same amount of energy, effort, and joy? Here are some simple, practical suggestions to change your marriage dynamic:
- Greet—Greet our spouses when we see each other with giant smiles. Let them know we are thrilled to see them too! Even if this doesn’t feel natural and spontaneous, it’s important that we act first and have faith feelings will follow.
- Embrace—Hug, kiss, & embrace our spouse with the same enthusiasm we show for our little ones. Touch each other! I love to hold and kiss and snuggle with my little boy. My wife deserves and needs the same adoration.
- Cherish—Our spouse deserves the same celebration we give our little ones. Honor our spouse on their own milestones with a similar intensity as we give our babies. Try to remember how good we feel when someone really goes out of their way to make us feel special. Our spouse deserves that feeling, too.
Celebrating our spouses with the same amount of enthusiasm as we do our kids can ensure the longevity of our marital quality, and hedge against the natural stressor that kids bring to marriages.
Why not give it a try? You’ve got nothing to lose!
Originally published on QuentinHafner.com.