Want to spice things up in your marriage? Want to introduce a dynamic of love that will revolutionize your intimacy, communication, and happiness? Want to build a relationship that will stand the test of time and the trials of life? Try these 10 ways of surprising your spouse with love. They come from the One who demonstrated the truest expression of love. Each reflects how He loves. As you discover and experience how He loves you in these 10 ways, you will be filled with the desire and strength to give the same love to your spouse.
1. Give when it’s unexpected.
Something inside each of us says to only give love when it is given to us, when it will get us something in return, and when it is safe. The love that God gives is far beyond that kind of love. He loved us when it was unexpected by us: when we were offensive, uninterested, and self-consumed. Part of what wins our heart is when we realize the depth of love we have from Him and that it comes completely unexpected.
You can introduce a new dynamic into your relationship when you look for ways to express love to your spouse at a time when it is completely unexpected. Don’t wait for holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays. Give love when they least expect it. Surprise them. Shock them. Overwhelm them. Unexpected love has the power to win a heart.
But God has shown us how much he loves us – it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! Romans 5:8
2. Give lavishly.
Love gives in abundance. It spares nothing. It rolls in like an overwhelming tide. It lavishes the other with words, gifts, time, and touch. Lavish giving is not based on what the other person has done to deserve or earn favor. It flows from a heart that chooses to love. God showed His love for us by giving the most exclusive, precious, and valuable gift of heaven – His Son. For those who receive Him He lavishes with even greater wonder. The apostle Paul says in the New Testament that no one has seen, heard of, or even imagined the wonders that God has prepared for those who love Him. The truest expression of love shows itself by overwhelming lavishing the one loved.
Look for ways to completely overwhelm the one you love. Go overboard! It doesn’t have to involve spending great amounts of money, but it could! Overwhelm them with no expectation for anything return. Lavish them beyond what they could ever imagine. Be creative! Be crazy with your love! Go where you’ve never gone. Do what you’ve never done. Try something they would never expect.
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him” 1 Corinthians 2:9
In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32
3. Give without respect to what they have done – good or bad.
It’s easy in a marriage to fall into a bad pattern of relating – one that gives love and favor when the other has done good things for us or to withhold love when we have been hurt. While it may feel natural and right, it can be quite destructive. This way of relating becomes protective, self-focused, and demanding. It only gives when it is happy or hopes to get something in return.
Many people assume this is how God relates to them as well. They assume that He blesses them if they are good and curses them if they are bad. That could not be further from the truth. The New Testament says that God gives grace. He unexpectedly and lavishly gives His favor apart from what we have done. We are told that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works. He does not show favor to us based on the amount of good things, church attendance, Bible reading, or financial giving we have done. He introduces a completely different dynamic of relationship and gives because He chooses to – without respect to the amount of good we have done or the bad we have done.
You can infuse your marriage with new life by relating with this new dynamic. Give unexpectedly and lavishly without any consideration to the good things or bad things the other person has done. It won’t be easy and it won’t be natural. It will have to flow from your own experience of being loved like this from God. And it will change everything for you.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:4-9
4. Give when you’ve been hurt.
One of the most unnatural things we can do is show love to someone who has hurt us. This however is the life that Jesus taught. He said to give to those who want to take from us; to those who hit us on one cheek, turn and offer the other to them. The greatness of God’s heart shows the fullness of His love for us while we were enemies of His.
In a marriage relationship it is quite natural to pull away when we are hurt. It seems almost right to seek revenge and withhold love. Hurt seems to ignite the flame of self-protection, isolation, and vengeance. True love’s response to hurt is forgiveness. In forgiveness we set the other person free from owing us. We release them from having to make up for their failure before we love them.
Forgiveness introduces a completely different dimension of love into a relationship. It is not natural and not common in culture, but it is what flows from God to man. It is what revolutionizes a relationship stuck in the depths of hurt and pain. Take the initiative and forgive the next time you are hurt by the one you love. Set them free. You’ll save yourself from greater heartache and experience the joy of doing for someone else what God has done for you.
And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. 1 John 4:9-10
5. Give in the midst of tension and conflict.
After learning to love when hurt, the second most difficult time to love is in the midst of tension and conflict. We naturally want to stand our ground, hold our position, make our defense, and prove our point. It is in this kind of tension and conflict that marriages face the greatest make-or-break moments. It is easy at that time to pull away and refuse to demonstrate love. Yet it is in these times that the greatest expressions of love must be shown.
In the midst of tension and conflict is the time to rush in with reassurance, commitment, acceptance, and determination to love. It is then we give overwhelming patience, comfort, tenderness, and calm. We prove that our love is not based on the other person’s behavior. We prove that our love comes from our heart and from being loved in the same way by God.
Surprise, shock, and overwhelm your loved one the next time there is conflict with a note, a gift, a date, an expression of your love. Prove your love and patiently wait. This is how God loves. This is what will revolutionize your marriage.
We were God’s enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God’s friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life! Romans 5:8
Watch for Part 2!
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