When my husband and I were first married, everyone wanted to give us advice. The advice was well received as my greatest desire was to be a good wife and a blessing to my husband. I was looking for all of the help I could get.

On a date night before the wedding, we spent time in Barnes and Noble’s relationship section, reading through the table of contents of as many books as we were able. It was an educational night full of great, weird, and sometimes backward advice. We laughed a lot that day but didn’t think much of the information we found.

However, the piece of advice that has really stuck with me through the years came from a couple in their first year of marriage. This advice had been given to them before their wedding, and they found it helpful. They told us to put our focus on blessing each other. I think they even said, “Compete to see who can bless the other more.”

This advice is still helpful

After 17 years of marriage, I still find this advice helpful. It’s evident in my life that when I put my attention on intentionally doing things for my husband instead of focusing on him meeting my needs, I am so much happier… and he tends to reciprocate. Okay… I’ll be honest, he’s actually way better at this than I am, and he blesses me ALL THE TIME!

Pastor’s Wife Confession

Here’s another pastor’s wife confession… My husband ALWAYS outblesses me! After all these years, I haven’t figured out how to win this game. This girl really needs to step it up in this area. I suck at finding the right gifts for him or planning the perfect day… and he is already better than me at most things (by the way… he would disagree with this statement because he is also humble and seems to think I’m pretty great. How did I get this lucky)!

In all fairness to me… I am much needier and more emotion full. It is not difficult to bless me, and it is evident to all if you have succeeded. My emotions are worn on my sleeve and my face can’t mask the excitement.

He doesn’t express many needs or show much emotion. I sometimes feel like I am married to a robot… a content, thoughtful, and ridiculously good looking robot!

But today I did it! I Figured out how to bless my spouse!

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I have had a breakthrough today. While walking around the store, I noticed something that I thought would fill him with joy and know that he is loved. On an end cap and saw these…

A box of Rubbermaid easy find lids. This will surely bless my husband.
The key is the “easy find lids”

This may not seem like much, but I heard my husband have a tinge of frustration in his voice the other day. Any kind of frustration is rare, as he is the most stable person you will ever meet. His words were… “Why do we have a billion containers and a billion lids, and none of them go together?” Bingo. This is the most frustrated I have seen him in a LONG TIME. But this is VERY GOOD NEWS for me because this is actually a problem I can fix.

Our drawers filled with miss matched tupperwear. This is how I will bless my husband.

Knowing how happy it would make him, I purchased the box of Rubbermaid containers and lids. As I was unloading groceries, Loren noticed the box, and I actually saw his eyes light up, there was excitement in his voice. “What is this?” he asked like a kid who just came downstairs on Christmas morning.

You guys, this never happens. I saw actual excitement over these food storage containers! This kind of excitement hasn’t been expressed since I got him a Costco pack of bar soap for Christmas. (Apparently, body wash wasn’t his jam. He never complained, but one day mentioned that he enjoys bar soap!) I got him with the bar soap!

Out-blessing Each Other

“Compete to see who can bless the other more”

-a wise person at our wedding

When it comes to blessing me, my husband is a pro. He will pick up my car from my work, wash it for me, fill it with gas without ever saying a word, surprise me with a big soda if I have a hard day, and text me sweet and silly things. I created a “Someone tell my husband to buy me this” Pinterest board, and he somehow discovered it. Little gifts that I forgot I wanted pop up on random holidays. He goes out of his way to bless me, and I never know what I can do to bless him.

Different things make us feel loved

A mistake I made early on in our marriage was only blessing him in the way that I want to be blessed, which at that point was spending every waking moment with him. I learned quickly that different things make different people feel loved, and this wasn’t his thing.

5 Love Languages

Then I stumbled upon the book The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. This book really opened my eyes to the fact that I wasn’t showing my husband love in the way that he receives it. The premise of the book is that different people demonstrate love and receive love in different ways. I highly recommend it.

Dr. Chapman called these ways of showing love “The 5 Love Languages”. They are Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Words of Affirmation. If you are not sure what your love language is, you can take a quiz here to find out. Loren retook it recently, and as you can imagine, my husband is pretty balanced in the ways he gives and receives love.

For the rest of this post, I will give examples of how we have blessed each other over the years and how I plan to use each love language to show him that he is loved… and ultimately, win the game! I want to finally outbless my husband.

How to Bless Your Spouse With Acts of Service

A completely organized food storage container drawer. This is how I bless my husband.
Grand Finale…I organized the Tupperware drawer!

Acts of service involve going out of your way to do something to serve your spouse. My husband does this for me daily. Here are some ideas and real-life examples of things my husband does for me and one or two that I did for him.

  1. Do the dishes after dinner without your spouse having to ask. (not having to ask is key)
  2. Do a chore that you know your spouse doesn’t like. For me, this is laundry. (wash, dry, fold, put away… If you only do part of this one, it might backfire.)
  3. Bring them a cup of coffee
  4. Wash and vacuum their car
  5. Cook a favorite meal
  6. Organize the Tupperware drawer. (This one might be case specific)
  7. Put up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving because your spouse really needs a little Christmas… right this very minute… even though you may think it is ridiculous.
  8. Bring a large fountain drink to their workplace
  9. Pull the hair out of the drains, so it doesn’t stop up. (gross… that is pure love right there)
  10. Turn the lights off in the basement before bed

How to Bless Your Spouse With Physical Touch

my husband swinging me around at the beach. This shows how to bless your spouse with physical touch.

People feel loved through physical touch in many different ways. I’m not just talking about the kind of physical touch where you lock the door, so you don’t accidentally traumatize the children. If your spouse’s primary love language is physical touch, here are some practical ideas.

  1. Put your arm around your spouse
  2. Hold hands
  3. Give a massage
  4. Play with their hair
  5. Sit close enough that your legs are touching
  6. Kiss your spouse hello and goodbye
  7. Cuddle up on the couch while watching TV
  8. Slow dance
  9. Do couples yoga
  10. Hug them from behind while they are doing the dishes

***Pro tip- If your primary love language is physical touch and your spouse is a tired mom, doing laundry or cleaning the kitchen may score you some points. My husband is never more attractive to me than when he is doing the chores that I don’t like doing! Just saying…

How to Bless Your Spouse With Gift Giving

this is an image of a gift. It shows how to bless your spouse by giving gifts.

The thought behind the gift is more important than the gift. One year, early in our marriage, my husband asked his mom to get us a “combined gift” of a Kitchenaid mixer. He knew how much I wanted one, and we didn’t have the means to purchase it. My sweet husband gave up a gift from his mom for me to have my mixer. Although it was a very generous gift from his mom, it was also from him. That is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have received.

I also have a Pinterest board called “someone tell my husband to buy me this.” It meant so much to me that my husband actually found it. He never said a word about it, but he started buying things that I had pinned. I felt so loved that he did that for me! It was more about the emotion behind the gift than the actual gift. Here are some other ideas.

  1. Pick up their favorite candy while you are at the store
  2. Bring home something from a trip you were on without your spouse
  3. Bring them flowers just because
  4. Visit their favorite magic shop and purchase a fun new trick so they can amaze their friends
  5. Make a silly personalized calendar for them
  6. Hire someone to deep clean the house (this was the best gift ever!)
  7. Make them a memory book
  8. Sign them up for a class they have always wanted to take
  9. Buy them bar soap or food storage containers with lids (again… these are case-specific)
  10. Put 40 candles into a donut on their birthday to wake them up ***don’t burn down the house.

How to Bless Your Spouse With Quality Time

A picture of my husband and I in front of a waterfall on a romantic hike.
Spend time alone together without phones

Quality time is both my husband’s and my primary love language. This has actually changed over the years. It has always been my highest, but it wasn’t for him. I made Loren retake the quiz, and this was the new result. It makes sense since we have not had much time together in the past few years due to our jobs. We have had to be more intentional. Here are some things that we do.

  1. Plan a date night (If you have kids, arrange for the babysitter. That always stressed me out so much!) *need date night ideas? Try this fun book of scratch-off date nights, The Adventure Challenge Couples Edition. Use the code MESSYJOYFUL and get 10% off. You scratch off a challenge, and then you must complete it. There are SO MANY ideas for quality time and lots of laughs in this book.
  2. Go out to dinner and don’t answer your phone.
  3. Go for a drive and talk… Show genuine interest in what your spouse is excited about
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Cook a meal together.
  6. Watch a show together… and only together!
  7. Come up with a plan to secretly bless your neighbors.
  8. Make a sock puppet show for your college professor and perform it in his office door window.
  9. Play a board game together
  10. Be silly together: we have done that in videos in both this post and this post.
Image of The Adventure Challenge Couples Edition Book and camera for blessing your spouse with quality time.
The Adventure Challenge Couples Edition

How to Bless Your Spouse With Words of Affirmation

Our love journal that we pass back and forth with love letters. This is a great way to bless your spouse.
A love journal is a great way to bless your spouse

If you or your spouse have the primary love language of words of affirmation, they feel loved and appreciated by the words that are spoken to them. Words are significant. My husband and I have a journal that we have passed back and forth for years to write letters to each other. It is one of my most prized possessions. Whenever one of us writes in it, we leave it on the pillow of the other. Not only is it filled with numerous words of affirmation, but it has a bit of our history as well. I will treasure this little journal forever.

Love Journal

The exact book we used is no longer available, but I have found some on Amazon that would work well if you are trying to figure out how to bless a spouse who receives love as words of affirmation.

Here are some ideas for blessing your spouse through words of affirmation.

  1. Start a couple’s journal for your spouse
  2. Write sweet notes on post-its and stick them around the house
  3. Put notes in your partner’s luggage for them to find when they go out of town
  4. Send them a postcard from work telling them how much you appreciate them
  5. Say I love you
  6. I’m so grateful for you because …
  7. I am proud to be married to you
  8. Thank you for working so hard for our family
  9. You make me laugh easier than anybody else
  10. It melts my heart when you…

Understanding how my husband and I give and receive love has helped grow our relationship. Hopefully, you now have some new ways to “outbless” your spouse. I’m going to keep trying! Let me know in the comments what you yo have done to be a blessing to your spouse. I’m always looking for ideas.

***After writing this post, I had a week off and decided to spend the week blessing my husband. Read about what I learned in this post… The Benefits of Blessing Your Spouse.

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89 Comments

  1. I love this article so much! It’s always good to be reminded to be more mindful of how you’re loving your spouse. Life gets so busy sometimes and losing focus isn’t hard. Thanks for this wonderful article!!

    • Thanks, Jessica. I am trying to go above and beyond for my husband this week, and I’m having so much fun. It is amazing how much joy it brings me to make another person happy.

  2. Sankhamala Reply

    Great post ! You have given so many valuable tips to make the relationship stronger. Never thought in this way.

  3. While I am not yet married, thank you for this post giving insights about marrige and simple things that will make my future husband happy.

  4. I absolutely love this post! It’s so good to be reminded of ways to make your spouse happy. My husband blesses me all the time but like you I find it hard to find things to bless him with just as much. I try all the time and this post has given me some great ideas! Thanks for a lovely post!

  5. Great advice! And I love that idea of competing to see who can bless each other the most.

  6. Love this post so much!!! I totally agree with the need for quality time without your phones. I love how you mentioned the love languages book and learning to bless your spouse in ways that THEY feel most loved, not in how you would feel loved. And major bonus points when the hubs does chores without being asked. So helpful!!! Great post Carrie!

      • My husband is in another country, we have been married for five yrs now and have two sons. Reading this brought tears in my eyes as I miss him now more and am thinking of ways how to bless him as he is far away and I hardly get enough time to talk to him as the boys won’t allow us to talk much

        • That is so very difficult. My husband and I spent our dating relationship long distance. We made each other silly calendars, sent actual mail to each other, and spoke late at night. We also sent lots of text messages. The time difference was only 3 hours, and we didn’t have children yet, so it worked out much more easily. I can imagine how hard this must be for you, and I hope you can find ways to connect long distance.

  7. I love this article. It is so sweet and offers so many great ideas on blessing your spouse. I laughed about the containers because we have the same issue!

    • Thank you, Sarah. It’s amazing how great it is to be able to find the lids for the containers right when you need them. lol

    • It definitely works in all relationships. I think it’s just easier to forget when you’ve been together for a long time. πŸ™‚

  8. Oh Carrie,
    How do I love you – quirky, silly, wise, wonderful Carrie? Let me count the ways. You are such a delight.
    Thanksgiving to Him for creating you.

  9. I can’t honestly say I found myself tearing up while reading this. My relationship sounds so similar to yours! It made me think of my husband and how he is good at everything he does, including blessing me. I love your perspective and tips on the 5 love languages!

    • I love that! I feel so blessed and will keep trying to bless the crud out of that man. I woke up to him bringing me coffee and a clean kitchen! I can’t win this game! lol

  10. Such helpful ideas! I agree that doing laundry or the dishes will score major points. Definitely a pro tip πŸ™‚

  11. Gabriela Herrera Reply

    Don’t burn down the house with the 40 candles. LOL. I love this post so much. Sometimes spouses annoy us but at the end of the day we have to learn how to appreciate the positive qualities in each other. Thanks for this reminder, this post is pure gold.

    • Thank you, Gabriela! It makes a world of difference when I focus on blessing him. I enjoy him so much more… it’s weird. lol

  12. My partner and I have the same exact love language scores and breakdown so in this case, we are very blessed. I think it’s the little thoughtful gestures that really matter. Very applicable to all couples πŸ™‚

    Nathalia | NathaliaFit – Fitness & Wellness Blog

  13. I have been married fo a decade and even though we haven’t put words or a title to it as you’ve done here, i think my husband and I have been doing this a little bit. I am definitely going to step it up. Thank you for this post, it has blessed me.

  14. You guys look super cute in this picture. This is such a beautiful message to the world. It is sad that there are too many hateful messages spreading across social media. I adore it when someone is trying to spread love, kindness and empathy. Thank you for doing that πŸ™‚

  15. This is great advice…to look toward making sure the other person’s needs are met first. I pinned to my Pinterest so I can always locate your “5 love languages” suggestions!

  16. Oh my, there is so much good stuff here. I am definitely pinning this as a reference. Thank you for laying things out so neatly. This will be helpful to so many!

  17. I think couples should ask themselves if they’re willing to do these things to keep their relationship exciting and loving, before they get married! So many take their partner for granted… It’s so important to keep having small intentions to win them over instead, like it was still the beginning of the relationship. It was pleasant to read your post and it makes me happy to read stories about successful marriages πŸ™‚

  18. These are such great ideas. It is so important to prioritize your relationship, but I think it is easier said than done when you have small children.

    • Yes! It is definitely easier said than done with small children. I completely neglected our relationship. I wish I had done things differently… we fell asleep watching Netflix. That was our date nights. lol

  19. Thank you for the good advice and reminders! As new parents I find that it’s easy to forget the importance of your relationship

    • It’s very easy to forget… kids are so much work! lol, It’s worth it to invest the time in blessing my husband. πŸ™‚

  20. I love the love languages. It’s so interesting to see them not only in my husband but in my children. And meeting them all at their primary language is a game changer. I want to throw a book out there that revitalized my marriage: The Empowered Wife. Best marital book I’ve ever read, for the wives πŸ™‚

  21. WOW, love this article. This really hit home for me when “blessing my spouse.” Things to think about when the relationship get rocky. Thank you.

  22. Pingback: The Benefits of Blessing Your Spouse | Messy Joyful Journey

  23. These ideas are just so lovely! Thanks for sharing! I like the idea to try to ‘outbless’ each other. It’s such a loving way to approach marriage!

  24. Great article! The idea of blessing our spouse is one of building them up and reenforcing/showing our love for them. Have you ever read the Book Love And Respect? A lot of what you discuss ties into that book about showing our souses love(for our wives) and respext(for husbands)

    • Yes! We went to a marriage retreat on love and respect, and it opened my eyes to a ton of things. I just sat there and kept asking my husband… is that true? I had no idea. Lol. In the early years, I showed him love, love, love. I didn’t even consider the respect part. I absolutely respected him and appreciated all that he did for our family; I never expressed it. It was a great book.

  25. Love this article! Thank you for this! The idea of our blessing is so cute and perfect for couples

  26. Rachel Rivera Reply

    This was a really sweet read! I’ve read that advice somewhere but needed the reminder. Thanks!

  27. So many great suggestions. This is a really nice way to be kind to your spouse or partner. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Such wonderful information! Indeed knowing your spouse’s love language will create a stronger marriage. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Pingback: How to Prioritize Your Marriage With Young Kids | Messy Joyful Journey

  30. Beautifully written! Blessings are always an emotional response of the Receiver, do they feel blessed after. You have connected emotionally with your husband to know how he would “feel”! Thank you for sharing your inspiring insight!

  31. Sandi Barrett Reply

    I have been married for 35 years and some of the best conversations and sharing time come when we are walking the dog – which is pretty often now that hubby has retired. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  32. Jill DeMasi Reply

    I Love this post! It is so true that the little things are so much more important to sustain a loving and enduring relationship. I am sure you bless your husband in so many little ways all the time! Great post! I think the love languages are a must to understand!

  33. Such great advice. I had to laugh over getting excited over Tupperware! That would SO BE ME!! I agree that little gifts are sometimes the ones that have the biggest impact!

  34. I am fortunate that my partner in life and are pretty equal in showing our appreciation to one another. It’s definitely taking the time to appreciate and support one another’s efforts that make such a difference. Thank you for inspiring me to focus on this a bit more!

  35. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing the photo of your unmatched containers and lids: I have the same drawer at my house! And yes, it drives my husband crazy. I’m going to fix this issue before New Year’s. My husband brings me a cup of coffee every morning right as I’m getting out of the shower, and I can definitely affirm that it makes me feel loved.

  36. My husband is better at this game too! Too often I get caught up in making sure everything is done; bills, cleaning, pet care, etc that I don’t stop to bless him. I am getting better at it though!

    • Sometimes the “making sure everything is done” is a blessing. πŸ™‚ I know it is for me when my husband takes care of that stuff.

  37. lisa manderino Reply

    I love the love languages, everyone fits into a category! Little things can be a blessing.

  38. Great post with beautiful ideas for blessing your spouse. We read the 5 Love Languages several years back and discovered that we both have such different love languages from one another, and that we were actually inadvertently sabotaging one another’s love languages over the past 20+ years. It was really eye opening.

    • It can be extremely eye-opening. We read it early in our marriage, and it was so helpful to get us off to a good start. Thank you for sharing.

  39. Cindy Moore Reply

    Competing to see who can bless each other more is amazing advice! Every newly married couple would benefit from practicing this in their marriages.

  40. This is such a lovely post. You’ve included so many great suggestions. I certainly feel your husbands pain of looking for a lid to fit the tubberwear. I think we have all been there at some point.

  41. Pingback: What to Buy Your Sweetheart This Valentine's Day | Messy Joyful Journey

  42. I love how you’ve taken the love languages and given some great, specific examples! I’ve also found (35 years married today!) that love languages can change and morph. Just when you think you’ve figured that guy out…. πŸ˜‰

    • That’s so true, Jen. When we were first married, he tested very low with quality time. Now that our lives are crazy… that has become his highest.

  43. This is such an amazing post! I love how you broke down your ideas of blessing your spouse by the love languages. Thank you so much for all the great ideas!

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