The next word in our acronym, PEPP is Empowerment. In today’s fast paced world, it is easy for a day to go by where couples barely spend more than a few minutes talking to each other. How can we continue to Empower our relationship?
In the early stages of Sophie and Larry’s marriage, doing kind actions for each other came easy. They worked on most of the chores together. They enjoyed quiet and calm conversations over dinner, where they caught up on their day. They might even take in a show or a movie on some evenings. On Monday nights, when Larry wanted to watch football, Sophie would give him this time. Doing the dinner clean up on her own and even make him a healthy snack he could enjoy while watching the game.
A few years later, after 3 children, dinners are no longer a quiet affair. Evenings are packed with homework, extracurricular activities and bedtime routines. By the time the kids are in bed, Sophie is exhausted. The dinner dishes are piled up in the sink and she still has to pack everyone’s lunches for tomorrow. Larry usually has some unfinished work he has brought home. There is no longer sanctioned couple time. Sophie is well aware of this and is saddened by it. As she recalls how things used to be, she is determined to make a change. One night, she places a note in Larry’s lunch bag that reads: I love you Larry and I respect your decision to bring work home, instead of staying late at the office and missing out on family dinner and the children’s activities.
Larry is moved by this little note and responds by calling their neighborhood florist and having flowers delivered to her work. There is no special occasion, just an opportunity to remind Sophie that he loves and appreciates all the work she does for him and the children. From that day on, he resolves to call her during his lunch hour so they can reconnect. During their lunch break conversations they plan a monthly date night. Sophie schedules it in and arranges for childcare. Larry arranges the evening, making reservations or buying tickets to a movie or show, as needed.
Marriage is sacred, and there are many things that can work against those of us who are trying to remain faithful and committed to our vows. We learned in primacy that we have to focus on our unity as a couple.
When we give this talk to engaged couples we ask them to create a short list of everyday things couples can do to Empower their relationship. Here are the top 10 suggestions we usually receive:
- Fifteen minutes before turning in for the night, share the events of your day.
- Send a text, e-mail or call your spouse just to say “I love you” or “I am thinking of you”
- Wake up at the same time, and go to bed together, even if you don’t have to wake up as early as your spouse.
- Always kiss each before leaving or as soon as you return from work or other outings.
- Do something fun or try something new together.
- Plan a dream vacation, even if you never actually make it a reality. Share your hopes and dreams with each other.
- Write love notes to each other. Find creative ways to hide them, in lunch bag or wallet.
- Meet your spouse at work and take them out for lunch.
- Attend Mass together, and if you have children, try to sit next to each other.
- Pray together.
What do you and your spouse do every day to empower your relationship? Share your ideas in the comments.
Next topic in our acronym is Protection.