By Jennifer Waddle, Crosswalk.com
The word lavish describes a love that is rich and abundant. It isn’t a word we use often—especially in marriage—but it paints a picture of extravagant love.
As you read this, I can only imagine the thoughts that are going through your head. You might be thinking you don’t have the time, energy, or motivation to lavishly love your spouse. You might even be wondering what that type of love looks like.
I get it. Most of us are too busy to put extra work or time into our relationships. But what if lavish love was less about work and more about living in the overflow? God’s overflow of love—in us—is like a fountain that never runs dry. And when we allow His love to flow through us, loving our spouses lavishly not only becomes a possibility, it becomes a way of life.
Here’s how to lavishly love your spouse:
1. Fancy Them Again
Remember the honeymoon phase of marriage when you “fancied” your spouse? This British word for “attraction” isn’t one we typically use to describe our feelings, but it reminds us that we were once enamored with our spouses.
Lavish love is willing to revisit the early days, remember the vows that were made, and rekindle the passion you once shared. If your feelings have changed over the years, pray and ask God to fill you with a renewed sense of love and commitment.
Here are a few practical ways to fancy your spouse again:
- Let them know they still cause your heart to beat a little faster when they enter the room.
- Reminisce about past romantic getaways.
- Assure them you only have eyes for them, and you love being married to them.
Remember why you fell in love in the first place, then lavishly love your spouse by reigniting the spark that brought you together.
2. Invest in Their Emotional Treasury
Emotions are part of our God-given design, yet we tend to stifle them, ignore them, and even deny them. In marriage, both men and women have emotional wells that need filling up. While only Christ can fill the need for salvation, husbands and wives can help fill each other’s emotional needs. Here’s how:
Offer words of affirmation.
Words of affirmation are listed as one of the love languages according to author Gary Chapman. But whether words of affirmation are your personal love language or not, everyone appreciates sincere compliments and positive expressions of love.
Everyone wants to be appreciated. Look for opportunities to thank your spouse and let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. This can be as simple as saying, “I see how hard you work for us and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.”
Many husbands and wives do not feel validated by their spouses. Instead, they feel ignored or even dismissed. Validating your spouse requires you to listen to them and acknowledge what they’re saying. It means that even when you don’t agree, you still affirm their wonderful qualities.
"How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.” Song of Songs 1:15
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Bobex-73
3. Elaborate on Their Value
When you value something, you pay close attention to it. You care for it. You devote time and energy to protecting it. Lavishly loving your spouse includes elaborating on the value they bring to your relationship.
How is your spouse valuable to you? In what ways do they enrich your life? Have you let them know just how valuable they are? These are key questions to ask yourself as you lavishly love your spouse and make them feel appreciated.
Here are a few things you can do to elaborate on their value:
- Point out their strengths.
- Offer your undivided time and attention.
- Esteem them above yourself.
- Give them gifts “just because.”
When your spouse sees how valuable they are, your marriage will reach a new level of respect. And respect is essential to lavish love.
“Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?” Song of Songs 6:10
4. Be Extravagant in Your Affection
There’s a right kind of affection and a wrong kind of affection. The right kind is considerate, tender, and in-tune with your spouse’s needs. The wrong kind is selfish, hasty, and unconcerned. To love your spouse lavishly, ask God to ignite the right kind of affection between you.
One way to be extravagant in your affection is to take the time to get to know what your spouse desires. Ask them what makes them feel loved and cherished. Try to catch on to their physical and verbal cues. Most of all, let God lead your heart to lavish your spouse with the right kind of affection.
Here are additional resources to help you show the right kind of affection:
“Eat, friends, and drink; drink your fill of love.” Song of Songs 5:1
5. Invest in What Matters Most
One of the best ways you can lavishly love your spouse is by investing in what matters most. What matters most to them? Is it time spent talking about life and faith? Is it doing things together and making memories? Whatever matters most in your marriage, invest in that.
Hopefully, you are both walking with the Lord and are on a spiritual journey together. If not, pray about ways you can invest in sharing the Gospel with your spouse and making sure they know what salvation means.
If you’re both Christ-followers, invest in a couple’s Bible study or join a small marriage group. By investing in your Spiritual growth, you’ll be investing in your marriage. Don’t allow work or other activities to get in the way from devoting time and energy to your spouse. Together, make a list of what matters most and build your life around those things.
Remember, lavishly loving your spouse comes from God’s overflow. Whenever you feel like you have nothing left to give, allow God’s love to flow through you. Before long, it will become a way of life for you and your marriage will experience lavish love like never before.
“This is my beloved, this is my friend.” Song of Songs 5:16
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Prostock-Studio
Jennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesn’t Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.