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Are You Dishing Out The "Leftovers" of Love To Your Spouse?

Aug 17, 2007
Are you involved in so many activities each day that they use up a lot of your mental and physical stores? When as you finally sit down to relax with your sweetheart, are you pretty much spent and only have love leftovers to give?

It's going to take more than Julia Childs' amazing recipes or Paul Newman's fancy dressings so solve your leftover problem. So read on and discover the 5 secret weapons to get rid of the "love leftover" crisis in your home!

Secret Weapon #1 - Realize there will be times when Love Leftovers are Acceptable

Now admit it, we've all done it at one point or another in our marriage relationship. You remember, it was after that long week of working overtime at work on a special project and getting home at night with just enough energy to plop in front of the TV to watch the evening news with your wife. Yes, you were dishing out love leftovers.

Or was it during the first three months of having a new baby and barely keeping your eyes open through all the night feeds, wet diapers and colic. You were doing good to get your cloths on straight, let alone actually think about doing anything for your husband. Yes, you were dishing out love leftovers.

There are some times in our life that spouses need to be flexible and realize that they can't be the focal point and are going to get love leftover. So it's important to be supportive and understanding during these times.

The operative word here is "some times". However, if we develop a habit of always putting the needs of our work, our children, our other extra curricular activities before the needs of our spouse, then we're headed for disaster.

How long can you tolerate dinner leftovers? Once or twice a week is tolerable, but making a regular diet of leftovers isn't too appealing. The same holds true to "love leftovers." A strong relationship can easily tolerate love leftovers during difficult times. However, the relationship will flounder if it becomes the status quo.

Secret Weapon #2 - Limit Extracurricular Activities

If our spouse is the most important person in our life, why would we consider only giving them leftovers? Sometimes we get involved in extra curricular activities and it's easy to let them receive more of our time than our family.

I speak from experience, I was the PTA President at our elementary school, the leader of our young women's program at Church...and I had 5 children ages 3 to 10 years old. It's amazing that my husband still talked to me after that!

If hardheaded Beth can change her ways, so can you. It doesn't mean you become the neighborhood recluse; just remember moderation in all things.

If you don't want to be dishing out leftovers all the time, then you need to seriously evaluate all of the extracurricular activities that you and your family engage in each week.

To actually put this into application will require a candid and understanding discussion of what things your family really needs, how you two can better divide the effort, and the ability to say no to some activities.

When you honestly think about it, do your children really need to be involved in year round sports activities, scouts, gymnastics, card and video game leagues etc. to become contributing citizens?

Do you or your spouse always have to be the team coach, team mom, den leader, on the homeowners association and PTA board?

All of those activities are important, but the reality is, you would do your family a service to limit extracurricular activities to one or two at the most. Then use that time to strengthen your marriage and family relationships.

If you really want to be a rebel, try going a season without involvement in any sporting leagues...you may discover that increased family time will do more to build your child's self esteem than racing to 3 practices and 2 games a week.

Secret Weapon #3 - Remember Life Is A Marathon

It's important to remember that life is a marathon and not a 50-yard dash. We need to pace ourselves and be sure to save some of our reserves NOW for the person we will spend the rest of our life with. Not just give them all the leftovers.

Remember that there are seasons of your life when you will need to decrease or increase your involvement in volunteer activities. You are serving in your home when you have little children. Once your kids are older, it's easier to serve in your community.

In fact, one of our best volunteer ESL teachers in our PTA is a retired lady whose children are grown and gone. She now has the time to devote to preparing English lessons for a class of 6 adult students. Bless her heart for not wearing out her volunteer spirit at age 30!

Secret Weapon Number #4 - Nurture Yourself Each Day

This may seem easier said than done, but it's just a matter of creating a habit. Surprisingly, the best way to have more than leftovers for your spouse is to set aside AT LEAST 30 minutes at the beginning or end of your day for yourself.

Whether your are a morning person or a night person, this time will help you focus and draw strength for all the is required of you each day.

This 'me time' should include reading and pondering things of an inspirational nature. Whether it's a study of scriptures, or the writings of motivational authors, spend time strengthening your inner self.

After you have charged yourself, take a moment to review the requirements of the coming day and mentally note something special you will do for your spouse.

As you work to keep your spouse the focus of your life, other things will naturally fall into place. You will want to spend more time with them and discover that the weekly date nights that you hear others rave about really are something worth doing.

Secret Weapon #5 - The 15 Minute Tune-Up

Spend AT LEAST 15 minutes a day in uninterrupted, meaningful conversation with your spouse. That means no kids, no TV, no telephone, no excuses. (By the way, between answering machines and caller ID, there is no reason to stop this type of conversation with your spouse to take a phone call.)

There needs to be time for you to discuss the successes and failures of the day. When you keep in touch with each other's lives, you keep your relationship strong. These conversations help keep a balance in your life, and offer encouragement and support for the daily challenges.

When you are in the twilight of your life, you will be thankful that you invested heavily in your sweetheart and you'll reflect upon the joy it brought to both your spouse and your entire family.
About the Author
Beth Young is the Senior Editor of the leading marriage advice web site,
MarriageAdvise.com. To download your free ebook titled, "101 Marriage Secrets"
visit http://www.MarrigeAdvice.com.
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