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Marriage is a VERB

Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb.  It isn't something you get.  It's something you do.  It's the way you love your partner every day."
While marriage is clearly a noun by every dictionary definition, we couldn't agree more with this quote from Barbara De Angelis, PhD, lecturer and author.  Marriage is being intentional with our love by making multiple daily decisions to love.

Often when we think of these acts of love, things like taking out the trash, filling the car with gas, a shoulder or foot rub come to mind.  These are good and contribute to an effective marriage. But intentional love goes beyond good deeds.  It involves a daily giving of yourself to your spouse and making choices that say, "I love you" rather than "I love me."  It is being kind, patient and generous in everyday actions, in a way that says I would marry you all over again.


Photo credit: Deniz Altindas
Practicing patience is being intentional with my love.  Tom is such a storyteller.  People love that about him.  And he loves it when I listen to him or at the very least am gentle and considerate and don't abruptly cut him off.

We work together, but we have very different styles.  While I am patient with clients, my MO is efficiency.  When I walk out the door when Tom is seeing his last patient, I can falsely assume he'll be right behind.  My gift of patience can be getting a jumpstart on dinner when I would much rather enjoy relaxing and preparing it together.  After all, we both put in a hard day.  Focusing on getting dinner ready keeps me patient and intentional with my love and allows me to greet Tom with affection when he walks in the door much later.

Like patience, generosity is love in action.  When we are generous, we experience happiness in giving.  Generosity is an attitude that says your priority is my priority.  Mary Frances thrives on getting things done.  There are things she depends on me to accomplish so she can complete a project.  For example, she can't transplant overgrown tomato seedlings until I get the garden tilled.  Another example is gently ending a phone conversation to be on time for an engagement.  Cleaning up after a sick child or waking to let the dog out are gifts of generosity when Mary Frances realizes I do this so she doesn't have to.  Generosity is a spirit of service that delivers the gift of love.

When we freely choose attitudes of generosity, patience and kindness we "live our marriage intentionally'.  This is powerful.  It erases any fallacy of marriage as a 'ball and chain' and provides Tom and myself with an internal freedom to be our best in other areas of our life. Loving and receiving love brings joy beyond measure and opportunities for growth as individuals and as a couple.  How can you be more intentional in living your marriage with your spouse today?  Check out this list of 20 Ways to Become a More Patient Spouse this Week from Nurturing Marriage.org.

Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez

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