Category Archives: marriage

Day 29: Emotional


My Favorite Tennis Shoes

adjective – arousing or characterized by intense feeling

13 years ago, I received a gift that I’ve never forgotten.  It wasn’t wrapped with brightly colored paper or topped with a delicately tied bow. It wasn’t expensive or the top item on my gift wish list. In fact, this gift didn’t cost a dime and meant more than any “thing” that could ever be purchased and given to me. That gift was an emotional word picture that my husband painted with words and read to me in the middle of Young Marrieds Sunday School class. Although the paper is tucked somewhere deep in a scrapbook box, I still remember the words and the feel the impact it had on my heart.

My sports-obsessed, easy-going, fun-loving, rarely serious husband painted a picture that compared me to a rare and exquisite flower. One that everyone wishes they could have but he alone was allowed to keep its beauty all for himself. The word picture went on with a little more description (I’ll spare you the sappiness) but in that instant, I realized just how much he valued me.  I was shocked at his ability to reach into my heart with his words (something very few men can do) and tell me exactly what I had longed to hear. It was my first word gift from him.

Those written words were prompted by a homework assignment that each couple had to complete during a study of one of Gary Smalley’s relationship books. (See, I can’t remember the name of the study but I do remember the Word Gift given to me during the study.) Smalley is the creator of the Emotional Word Picture concept that when used correctly strengthens relationships by increasing understanding.

Because Mr. Smalley’s ideas are copyrighted, I will not be printing the steps in creating an Emotional Word Picture for my readers here on the blog. However, I did find a website that reprinted his ideas (legally) and you can check out the step-by-step process of creating one as well as reading about its benefits by clicking here.

Remember I said that each of us in that Sunday School class were challenged to write an Emotional Word Picture for our spouse?  I remember the one Keith wrote for me, but I also remember the one I wrote for Keith. And since it’s been 13 years since he’s heard it, it bears repeating again since the description still fits.

Keith, you are like a favorite pair of tennis shoes. You know the kind that you see in the store and you just have to have.  You try them on and love them even more. But the best part is when you take them home and begin to wear them everyday, they become more and more comfortable and you can’t stand to spend day not wearing those shoes. They are always comfortable, and everyone you meet always compliments you on what a great pair of tennis shoes they are.  So it is with you. You always make me feel comfortable as well as anyone else you meet. I can’t stand to spend a day without you, and no matter how many years we are together, you will always be my favorite pair of shoes!

If you created an emotional word picture for someone special in your life, what could you compare them to?

Day 23: Mundane

adjective – lacking interest or excitement; dull

Much of life can be mundane.  All of us women out there who dreamed of getting married and living a romantic movie every day of life got hit with a slice of reality not long after the honeymoon. Oh, it’s not that we don’t love our chosen one, but it’s just not like all those fairy-tales that  we read as a child, or the romantic love stories we watched over and over again as a teen.

But it is in the mundane, the un-exciting times of life that true love shows its face. It’s the every day balance of work, family, marriage, soccer practice, band performances, and laundry that love gets to prove it’s for real.  And it’s those times when we need to be sure to tell our spouse that he/she is valued, loved, and cherished. Once we let the dullness of life seep into our relationships, the downhill slide into “marital strife” begins.

So with today’s Word Gift we will challenge the mundane part of life to a duel of thanksgiving.  (I’m here to tell you that thanksgiving and gratefulness win every time.) How will we express our thankfulness for our spouse? By creating a love note frame of thanks. (You might have seen this ingenious idea on Pinterest.)

It’s simple.  Purchase an 4×6 picture frame.  Place a piece of scrapbooking paper as the photo and write (or print out) the words “Today, I love you because…” Put the frame back together and now by simply writing with a dry erase marker, we can let someone know why we love them in this moment. Maybe it’s because they did dishes after dinner, or washed the car, or spent uninterrupted time with us, or read the kids a story before bedtime, or cut the grass, or made us laugh. Whatever the reason, let them know.  Some days it may be harder to find a reason, but pushing ourselves to consistently appreciate our spouse will do wonders for our marriage.

But wait, there’s more! Our children benefit from this as well because when we honor our spouse in this way, it’s announced to the whole family.  They learn both in love and gratefulness. Eventually, everyone will want to get in on the act. One morning we might walk by the frame to see that someone in the house is thankful for us. Even though the thought may be erased from the frame, it will never be erased from the heart of the receiver.