Welcome back to my blog! Valentine’s day is around the corner, so I decided to do something in the theme of love. Since love is something I LOVE talking about (see what I did there?), I figured I would do a whole month dedicated to Love and Relationships. I am in no way a professional or an expert on this topic, so most of what I will be sharing with you is simply what works for us (being sharif and I). A few months ago I stumbled upon this book called ‘31 Creative Ways To Love & Encourage Him/Her’ written by Alyssa and Jefferson Bethke. This book gives you tips and ways to encourage your significant other and helps you intentionally build and strengthen your relationship over a timespan of 31 days. Each day you get another task. For this blog I decided to team up with my hubby! We are bringing you our favorites out of the book and sharing 9 creative ways to love and encourage each other with you.
This one is a very important one for me as a believer. And I understand it may not be for everyone, but don’t skip passed it yet. This task involved looking up Biblical scripture, writing these down and praying them over your husband. There is so much power in praying over your husband and using scripture to back up your prayer, because there is power in the Word and in your words as well. (So even if you are not a christian, what you say to and about your partner matters. Think about the words you use and how you speak into his life.) Your partner will appreciate the gesture, knowing that you are keeping him in prayer. I really enjoyed doing this, Should I share the verses I used in a second blog? Let me know in the comments.
The Art of Thank You
It’s easy to get caught up in life and it’s very easy to complain about the things our partner does wrong, but how many of us take time to thank our partner for all the little things they do right? For this task I had to thank Sharif for all the little things he does for me, letting him know I do not take these for granted. I thanked him for things like, picking me up from work, getting the groceries, helping me in the house, caring for me etc.
Our friends Rachel and Hubert gave us a chalkboard as a wedding gift and instructed us to put in our bedroom. They told us to use it to write down something nice for each other or to use it when we are too hard headed to apologize to each other. This time around I had to write down 10 things I love about Sharif. The chalkboard came in extremely handy. I put some notes on the chalkboard, cooked for him and left some cheesy notes on his lunchbox as well. I made some coconut curry chicken for him that day and wrote ‘ I am cocoNUTS about you!’ (lol). Have some fun with it!
This one has got to be my favorite task. Sharif has a sweet tooth. He loves candies, cakes, soda’s and pretty much anything that is overly sweet. So for this task I went looking for some of his favourite snacks and put them in this cute box. Along with the snacks I put in a telegram style letter and he had to fill in the gaps in the letter by using the names of the snacks in the box.This is just a fun and creative way to show your partner just how much you love and care for him.
This is one both Sharif and I picked out. Taking in interest in the things that your partner finds important is of the essence. For Sharif it’s computer science and football (or soccer as Americans love to call it) and for me it’s music and fashion. The things we consider to be part of OUR world couldn’t be any different. I am not necessarily a computer geek, but its so important for me to take an interest in that side of him and learn more about it and I also try to cheer along with every football game. I also try to learn more about his favorite players, especially when it’s transfer season. Sharif also takes interest in the beauty blogs I follow and the beauty products I like, as well as asking me about the music classes I teach. This gives me such a good feeling because I know he cares about what I do and like.
Cici always liked dancing, so for our wedding we took some salsa classes and made a salsa choreography for our first dance. After the wedding we went a while without dancing and when I saw this task it was the perfect opportunity for us to pick that up again. I signed us up for salsa classes and we had such a good time together.
For this task I had to cook Cici’s favorite foods. I know she loves it when I make steak and mustard chicken, so I took my time to cook for her. She tends to work at night, and she always comes back home extremely tired and hungry. Nothing feels nicer than your favorite meal after a long day at work.
When it take to serving, I was tasked to help more around the house. Some days Cici would come home to a clean kitchen or a squeaky clean living room and her face would completely light up (she really really likes a clean house). It's a great way to show her you appreciate the work she does around that house and that you are willing to help where you can.
Music is Cici’s thing, she loves “old-school” artists and music that is danceable. Back in the days, people used to make mixtapes for their girlfriend or crushed, so that they would be reminded of their partner when they were not around. I similarly made a playlist for Cici, with all her favorite songs and artists, so that she could be reminded of me when she was on her way to a gig or whenever I was at work (check out our playlist here). This one was definitely my favorite task.
I hope these task become habits and are incorporated in your relationship regularly. They have helped us grow closer and have helped intentionally build our relationship. Little gestures like these are what make our dark days a little brighter and our loads less a little lighter. Up to strong, healthy and more life giving relationships!
Where to buy in the Netherlands:
31 Creative Ways To Love and Encourage Him - Alyssa Bethke
31 Creative Ways To Love and Encourage Her - Jefferson Bethke