My husband is my prize. I am his prize. But, like so many couples, we at times could do a better job at treating each other as if we are each other’s prize. I’m guessing you can relate.
What is a prize?
Below, I’ll share a few tips for how we can prize our spouse or significant other, but first, let’s quickly recall what a prize is.
A prize is something you win in a competition, and in a way, you could say we “win” our spouses. Certainly, we put a lot of time into pursuing and courting them early on, thus ruling out lots of other possible partners to win the heart of our person.
Another definition of the word prize is something we take great care of, something we cherish and protect because it has precious meaning and unique value to us. Maybe it’s something we’ve invested much time and emotion in or have been given and entrusted to protect.
In each of these definitions, it’s clear that to prize something means we prioritize it. See that?! We prize what we prioritize, and we prioritize what we prize. I love even that the first and last letters of prioritize spell prize!
Why do we stop prizing our spouse?
Instead of treating our spouse as a prize, many of us get caught up in the busyness of life and begin to take our spouse for granted. We know we love each other; we just don’t have time and energy like we once did for pursuing them and treating them as if we prize and prioritize them. Gifts may be fewer or less thoughtful. Similarly, conversation, quality time, and intimacy may be less frequent and less meaningful as well.
Along with the busyness of life, we also stop prizing our spouse because they’re “old news,” right? Yes, we love them, but we’ve maybe lost that loving feeling (I love that song!), or at least in comparison to those days of wondering where they were, what they were doing, if they were thinking of us, etc. I suppose this is part of being human—it’s hard to sustain a high level of passion indefinitely.
Finally, our spouse doesn’t always act like a prize, do they?! Nor do you and I! We all have our shortcomings, and those shortcomings somehow are magnified even more at times when one or both of us are stressed out. Even worse, though, is when our shortcomings include a short temper, hurtful speech, disrespectful attitude, laziness, selfishness, and untrustworthy behavior.
I could go on, but you know why and how it is you and your spouse have failed to prize each other. Think about it. But, don’t dwell or bog down, if you can help it. My bigger goal here is to get you moving in the right direction…back to prizing your spouse.
3 tips for prizing your spouse
You’ve had some good ideas in the past and hopefully still do as to how you can best prize your spouse. Here are a few tips I am practicing and recommend that you try as well:
- Recognize how short life is and how it is you may be missing out on quality time with the person with whom you’ve shared so much life. Commit in your heart and mind that you will make the most of your time together.
- Talk with your spouse and decide together how you and they can intentionally and actively prioritize each other once again. This should include regular communication, consideration of each other’s needs, and consistent effort to support each other in every way possible. Definitely read up on and apply the 5 Love Languages, which is a relationship game changer all in itself.
- Have fun! I believe some of the happiest couples are those that are having fun. Purposefully plan and enjoy fun together with your person, and see how this draws you together in fresh and exciting ways. And, yes, you and your spouse may have different opinions about what is and is not fun. Find common ground; practice give and take; and, figure it out!
What about the but’s
Some of you may say, “but we’re already doing great!” Congratulations! Simply keep up the good work and consider sharing this blog post with someone who you know could use the boost.
Far more of you will say, “but we’re too far gone,” or “I have tried, but he or she won’t do their part.” I’m genuinely sad with you about these realities. And, you’re right, there are no easy answers. If you’ve not already tried counseling, consider telling your spouse that you love them, want to try once again to prize each other, and want the two of you to meet with a couples counselor to work on the relationship. Whether they agree to go or not, do your best to stay as hopeful as you can. Perhaps go to counseling alone. And, certainly do the little things you can do to be positive and encouraging toward your person.
Most all of us fall short at times in terms of prizing and prioritizing our spouse and marriage. Catching ourselves sliding is a first important step. The tips I’ve shared above are helpful, too. Additionally though, we need solid resources such as…
- the free videos Les and Leslie Parrott provide,
- John and Julie Gottman’s Marriage Minute,
- Gary Chapman’s many great resources,
- and (shameless plug), my blog posts and other resources, including the Home Life Inspection Quiz, found on my website.
You’ve got or can find many other great resources. Now, just be sure to actually use all the great resources available to you to continually improve at prizing and prioritizing your spouse and marriage.
Good luck with your relationship building efforts!
Your fellow relationship DIY’er and DIY coach,
PS2: I’d love to have you join my Hope to Build On blog. That way, any time I post a blog, you’ll receive it in your inbox.