Danielle Bean has been giving marriage advice at Faith and Family Live. I wish we had had that kind of advice when we first were married. It might have saved us from experiencing some of the rocky times we had during our pre-Catholic days. Reading through some of the posts I'm finding ideas for continuing to improve our marriage now. It's worth a look.
I posted a couple tips at Faith and Family Live, but I thought here I might take a slightly different direction. My advice for currently married folks, newbies or veterans, is to choose something to do for your spouse and go that extra mile with it for 40 days.
While I was pregnant with Baby Wingnut, I decided I would get up every morning and make coffee and breakfast for Wingnut during Lent. I had chosen this as a Lenten sacrifice for two reasons. First, Wingnut often would joke with me in the mornings and ask if I was going to get up and make him breakfast. It was a joke, because he knew I wouldn't do it. I really, really like my sleep. Secondly, I had already given up everything else due to being pregnant (read I gave up eating well and exercising :-o). As a Lenten sacrifice, I decided to do this one small thing for my husband that I knew he truly wanted.
At first it was very difficult getting my pregnant body out of bed, but over the 40 days I came to look forward to that quiet time we spent together in the morning over our cups of coffee. I enjoyed it so much that when Lent was over I continued to get up with Wingnut. Once Baby Wingnut arrived I had to go back to the old routine (we are nuts and practice attachment parenting and share a family bed with our youngest children), but one of these days I'll be able to show Wingnut again how much I love and appreciate him by joining him at the breakfast table each day.
The best advice Wingnut gives to pre-Cana couples we mentor is, "Real love is not a feeling. It is an act of will." He is so right. Those pitter-pat, fuzzy, love feelings are not always there and we cannot depend upon them. We are all fallen and the root of our sinful nature is selfishness, the "I will not serve!" Married love is not exempt from selfishness. It takes extraordinary grace and an act of will to say, "Yes, I will serve!"