14 Days of Love Letters

Introducing our love experiment for the month as well as our 14 days of love letters challenge.

Alright, it’s time to introduce our Marriage Laboratory Experiment of the Month (MLEM if you like- you can remember it because it sounds like phlem).

This year all our experiments are based on Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages book and February will be all about . .. . . .


Here’s the experiment explained scientific method style:


  • We feel disconnected from our spouses when we forget to make an effort to connect.
  • Studies have shown our positive to negative interactions should be at a ratio of 5:1 for a healthy relationship, and we need a way to ensure we keep the ratio on the positive side.
  • Our spouses feel unloved when we forget to show we appreciate them.

Experiment Method:  Send our partner a nice text or email or note every day.

Materials needed:

  • a phone or computer or pen and paper.
  • grateful heart


  • Our spouses love tanks will be fuller as they feel more noticed, loved and appreciated
  • We will notice more of the positive things our partner’s do instead of focusing on the negative

If you want to join along in our experiment, grab our FREE PDF of these prompts with space for you to fill out the answers at the bottom of this post.

Or I would love it if you joined in the experiment and let us know how its going on our Facebook page!

Also, as part of the words of affirmation challenge, I will be posting everyday for the first 14 days of February (until Valentine’s day) answering one of these love letter prompts:

  1. When did you first know they were the one for you?  How?
  2. What is a skill they’ve developed this year they should be proud of?
  3. What makes your partner different from anyone else in the world?
  4. When was a time they made you blush?  (in a good way)
  5. Tell how they make you feel good about yourself (be specific).
  6. What is something your partner does that you think is sexy?
  7. When is a time you were very proud to be married to your partner?
  8. What have they helped you accept about yourself?  How?
  9. What are a few little things they do that just make you smile?
  10. Describe a date you’ve been on together when you had a lot of fun.
  11. If you could go back in time to a down-on-their-luck young version of your partner, what would you tell them about how awesome they turn out?
  12. What is a quirk your partner has that you find endearing?
  13. What is your favorite memory with your partner this past year?
  14. What one thing could you do today to make your partner happier?

These would make for great prompts for your daily text/email/note, OR the compilation of these love letters would make for a GREAT Valentine’s gift!

We did the same thing last February with different prompts and great success.  Filling out love letter prompts everyday filled me with all sorts of butterflies and mush.


14 Days of Love Letters {Marriage Laboratory}

If you want the free printable PDF of these prompts- it looks like this with one prompt per page:

Romantic Love Notes free printable

Grab it here:

Unlock the 14 Love Letters PDF

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36 Mother Teresa Quotes to Apply to Your Marriage

For someone who never married, Mother Teresa gives some amazingly profound marriage advice.

By Celeste

I’m currently reading through the biography of Mother Teresa.  I’ve been really surprised at how much it is affecting me.  I’m just so inspired to be better every time I pick it up.  She was so amazing.

While learning about her life and all the incredible service she gave to those who needed it most, it’s easy to think, “Gosh she did so much for so many, my attempts seem so meager in comparison.  I could never accomplish all that world service.”  But she speaks to this point often when she says things like, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” and “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”  It seems she really thought that you can do your part to save the world by pouring love into your marriage and family.  I agree.

Let’s take a page from one who did a great deal to help the world- let’s focus on just doing what we can and doing it with great love.

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?”

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

“God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.”

“These are the few ways we can practice humility:
To speak as little as possible of one’s self.
To mind one’s own business.
Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.
To avoid curiosity.
To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
To pass over the mistakes of others.
To accept insults and injuries.
To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.
To be kind and gentle even under provocation.
Never to stand on one’s dignity.
To choose always the hardest.”

“A life not lived for others is not a life.”

“Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.”

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”

“Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”

“People are unrealistic, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.”

“Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.”

“Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”

“I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.”

“Intense love does not measure it just gives. ”

“There are many people who can do big things, but there are very few people who will do the small things.”

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”

“A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. She gives most who gives with joy.”

“Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own home. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor . . . Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

“We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.”

“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”

“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.”

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. ”

“There’s nothing more calming in difficult moments that knowing there’s some one fighting with you.”

“If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”

“Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.”

“Keep the corners of your mouth turned up. Speak in a low, persuasive tone. Listen; be teachable. Laugh at good stories and learn to tell them…For as long as you are green, you can grow.”

“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”

“Christ came to be Father’s compassion to the world. Be kind in your actions. Do not think that you are the only one who can do efficient work, work worth showing. This makes you harsh in your judgment of others who may not have the same talents. Do your best and trust that others do their best. And be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. ”

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

How to Expand Your Capacity for Compassion in Your Marriage

Successful marriages are established and maintained by . . . COMPASSION.

By Amber Anderson

This post is part of a 10-part series celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, specifically the sentence, “”Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

Amber has been my good friend and neighbor for the past four years and wow, I’m blown away by her post.  I feel like all the good marriage advice given on this blog somehow is summarized in Amber’s post.  Awesome stuff like how to really listen to your spouse, appreciate their feelings, see things from their point of view, pray for them, pray for compassion.  Guys, if we follow this advice, we will be SET!     – Celeste

PS  Today is actually and officially the 20th anniversary of the Family Proclamation!  Happy birthday Proclamation!  Celebrate by posting a picture of your family on social media with the hashtag #ILovetheFamilyProclamation

PSS  Another awesome giveaway of your choice of any three prints from Wild Berry Road at the end of the post!


Compassion in our families, specifically within our marriage, is not something that just happens. How does compassion strengthen my marriage? Does it strengthen my marriage? Well, I have to say, what I know about compassion in a marriage—and don’t dismiss this as cliché or mushy—I’ve learned from my husband.

When I asked my husband what he thinks of compassion and if it’s important to our marriage, his response was, “Yes.” But nothing more. He doesn’t think about being compassionate. He just is. He always shows me compassion, and it really helps me feel more at ease. I don’t feel like I’m trying to prove myself, or live up to some ridiculous standard, or pretend like everything is always gumdrops and sparkles. A few examples:

  • I have hard pregnancies that leave me practically useless for about 5 months. My husband picks up the slack, takes care of the house, the children, and me, without complaining. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him groan when he has to hold the bowl for me as I throw up, or clean up any messes. He’s never complained about having to cook me crazy sounding meals, or go get me one thing from the store because it’s what I need. I could go on and on with this list, but you get the idea. It’s not pretty. But he always shows more concern for me than for himself.
  • Dinner not cooked: “Fine, let’s just eat pancakes!”
  • House not clean: “It’s okay, you played with the kids today.”
  • Discouragement with my imperfect self: “I love you.”
  • Lose my cool: “Just keep trying. How can I help?”



His compassion strengthens me, which in turn strengthens my trust, love, and compassion for him. So, you see, it strengthens our marriage (key question answered: yes!)

Just because it does strengthen our marriage, doesn’t mean it’s a strength for me. I struggle with showing compassion for my husband. I have to pray for it, sometimes even within the moment. So, I’m no expert. I’m just trying to grow and better myself, in turn bettering and strengthening my marriage.

Some ways I try to show compassion for my husband:

  • When he’s worried about something or upset about something from work, I try to listen and appreciate his feelings.
  • When he’s tired, I try to help him relax, or in the least, let him feel at liberty to relax (and in his own way).
  • When we disagree, I really try to understand his perspective and opinion.
  • He doesn’t wear his feelings on his sleeve, so often my compassion is simply understanding his obligations and doing what I can to ease his stress level before it gets too high. Because if he’s talking about it, then it’s already too high! (Your spouse might be a bit more vocal.)

We are two different people. We feel compassion differently, and I think we both need compassion shown in different ways.

4 Ways to Show More Compassion in Your Marriage 

Here’s what I’ve gleaned from my husband’s wonderful example. How to be compassionate, even if the other person isn’t reciprocating, or you aren’t sure what they’re feeling, or what they need.

1)     Love them.

Love who they are, now. Don’t be upset that they’re not what you want them to be, or what you think they could be or should be. Just love them. Frozen says it best, “Throw a little love their way, and you’ll bring out their best!” Say it, show it with little notes, speak their love language.

2)     Listen to them.

Some people don’t wear the emotions on their sleeves. That can make it hard to know what they’re feeling and what they need. So listen. A small comment about a stressful day might be the only insight you have to giving them some leeway. Or the mentioning of a big project or responsibility might actually be a declaration of an overwhelmed spouse. Compassion is having empathy, pity, and concern. Can you feel that way if you don’t know what someone is experiencing? You can’t have compassion for someone if you don’t see the world through their eyes. It helps a lot if you allow them to paint a picture for you, rather than trying to imagine it all on your own. Along those same lines, don’t negate their concerns. It might not be something you’d be worried about, but if your spouse is worried about it, then you can practice showing that care and concern for them.

3)      Pray for them and for yourself.

Even if you’re not the praying type, consciously work the thought process in your mind. But if you are, work that thought process and plead for heavenly help to bless your spouse and aid you as you attempt to enlarge your compassion for the person you are committed to love. You’ll see miracles in yourself, in your spouse, and in your marriage.

4)     Do something.

The scriptures often use the phrase “moved by compassion” or “moved with compassion” or “moved to compassion.” Once we feel compassion, it’s still just warm fuzzies unless we act on it, unless it causes us to move. It’s one thing to hear your spouse say, “Wow, I have so many dishes to do tonight!” and you respond by showing sympathy, “oh yes, you do!” But that doesn’t mean you’re showing compassion. You need to respond with action. Help with the dishes, or just do them. I’m not saying you have to take over all chores, but be aware of what you can do to not just feel compassion, but to show it.


I’m trying to improve my compassion every day because I know how much it strengthens me when I’m shown compassion. If you better yourself and your capacity for compassion, and see your spouse in a softer light and better light because of those feelings, then your marriage will be better and stronger too.

If you are enjoying this series on my blog, be sure to check out the other awesome blogs participating in this series:CranialHiccups and Being LDS

You can also share your love of family by sharing photos online this month under the hashtag #ILovetheFamilyProclamation.

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The Secret to Getting Your Spouse to Like You

By Celeste

Sometimes Rich and I do this thing where we stay up late at night and then we’re both complete grumps in the morning and take turns tending the kids while the other one sleeps, but somehow we always both feel like we got the short end of the stick.  Our sleep scores don’t add up.  And then sometimes when he comes home from work, even if we both had ok days separately, we’re still cranky pantses to each other.  We’ll either barely interact or just sort of disagree with the other one’s opinions for no reason.

And then we step back eventually and think, “Wait a second.  Why are we being grumps to each other?  Aren’t we on the same team here?  What are we even mad about?”

And usually it’s just because we’re tired or someone else said something that put us in a bad mood or the kids were hard or an experiment failed at work or or or.  Usually, it’s nothing to do with them, but for some reason, we’re able to keep it together for everyone else, but our spouses wind up getting the short end of our temper stick.

Sometimes we just need a quick fix to get ourselves to like each other again.

The secret to getting your spouse to like you is to like them first.

Want a way to get your spouse to like you again when the day-to-day marital grumps set in?

Here it is:   LIKE THEM FIRST.

Convince them that you like them.  Remind them.

Here’s a quote from my bloggy hero Glennon Doyle (Momastery) from this article:

” . . . . I didn’t even notice that she was regal and dignified and warm until she came over and sat with me.
First, she liked me. Then, I liked her.

I really, really think the secret to being loved is to love. And the secret to being interesting is to be interested. And the secret to having a friend is being a friend.”

Isn’t this so true?

This is so true.  When I think of my friends- they come in all shapes and sizes.  A lot of them don’t have anything in common.  I’ll tell you the secret to getting me to like you though:  Like me first.  It’s basically a shoe-in I’ll like you back.  Even people that I’ve gotten a bad first impression of for whatever reason, if I become convinced they like me, forget about it, I’ll be their friend regardless of  imperfections.  

I guess I’m vain like that, but I think most of us are.  

In fact, remember that book “How To Win Friends and Influence People“?  The title sounds like the answer is in some sort of trickery or sleight of hand.  Like, “I’m pretty crappy, but I’ll use this secret tip and poof!  I’ll have friends and influence the world!”  Turns out, there is no magic trick to have friends and influence people- the thesis of the book was basically, make other people feel loved and special and appreciated and you’ll have friends and be influential to them.

Same thing goes with our marriages.

The solution sounds very simplistic:  convince them you like them.

So what keeps us from doing this all the time in our marriages?  A few ideas:

  • Sometimes we disapprove of their actions and we think that being kind would make them think we approved of whatever it is we don’t approve of
  • Sometimes we feel like they don’t like us so why should we like them?
  • Sometimes we feel like we liked them first after the last fight, this time it’s their turn
  • Sometimes we don’t want to feel the vulnerability of liking them first because what if they reject our act of kindness?

Remember- as a wise snowman once said, “Only an act of love will melt a frozen heart”  (ugh, why is that movie so applicable to marriage metaphors?!  Sigh).  But really, love CAN melt a frozen heart- including your own.

Sometimes our own hearts need just as much thawing as theirs.

So, give him that hug, send her those flowers, remind each other of an inside joke, compliment each other.

Thaw, love, convince, remind, repeat.

Choosing to Choose Love Over Fear in Your Marriage

By Celeste

The title of this post makes it sound like I’m maybe going to talk about fear of infidelity or some serious trust issues.  I’m not.  I’m going to talk about little choices we face everyday when we see our spouse’s flaws and we can either choose to fear or we can choose to love.

Guess who has two thumbs and has no flaws…….. nobody.  That was a trick question.  Nobody is flawless.  Unfortunately that includes you.  Equally as unfortunate, that includes your spouse.

When you get to know someone on a marital level, those flaws are bound to peak out and call attention to themselves.  When you see your spouse’s flaws, it’s all too easy to let fear take over.

“Wait a minute,” you say, “How long is this imperfection going to last?  Will you EVER get over this?  Why are you like this?  Were you born like this?  Can you just get over this imperfection of yours, PLEASE?”

It can be really easy to fear not only each other’s flaws, but also the potential trajectory we fear that those flaws will take.

For example, if our spouse shows a tendency to be a little… unconcerned with neatness. We can fear that not only do they leave their socks lying around now, but we’re probably just stuck with a slob forever, who will never do the dishes or even notice that our house smells like feet.  They’ll never change.

Or if our spouse shows a tendency to be a little…. overly concerned with checking their phone.  We can fear that they would rather be alone with their phone than with us.  And we’re sure they’re not doing anything productive.  And probably they’re just addicted to it.  Yes, it’s become an addiction and we will be left to raise our children completely alone because our spouse is now married to their phone.  They’ll never change.

Choosing to Choose Love over Fear in your marriage

Photo by Charles Foster
Photo by Dyaa Eldin
And when you see flaws* and fear rears its ugly head?  Say, “Flaws?  Yeah, I see them.  I’ve got plenty of my own.  I choose now to set those aside, see past them and remember all the reasons to love my spouse and choose to believe in them.”

Sometimes we need to remember why we married them.  Remember how smart, funny, attractive, inspiring we found them.  Remember they still are smart, funny, attractive and inspiring.  Sometimes our lens just needs a little cleaning.

Everyone can change.  You can change.  I can change.  And even if our spouses don’t choose to change as quickly as we would like or in the exact way we would like, remember- that’s ok.  You can love them anyway. Choose to hope. Choose to love.

Remember perfect love casteth out fear.

* I’m not talking about abuse or serious addiction flaws here.  If those are their flaws, seek some professional help.

Or if our spouse shows a tendency to be a little unconcerned with promptness or budgeting, or overly concerned with sports or nights out with friends or whatever.  The examples are endless.

One problem with letting fear creep into our perception of our spouses is that we start to lose HOPE in them.  Hope that they can change.  And when we do that, we start not believing in them. They can feel our loss of hope in them.  They may even start to believe it about themselves.  Then what are you left with?  Hopelessness, distrust, fear.

Don’t ever give up hope in your spouse’s ability to change.  They need you to believe in them.  You need you to believe in them.  Even if they don’t want to change yet (or ever), don’t doubt their ability to do it.

I think sometimes we get confused of our role in our marriages.  What is our role exactly?  Their parent?  Their buddy?  Are we responsible for THEIR self-improvement?

Could be.  Sometimes.  But I think more times, no.  I think feeling like we are responsible to correct our spouse’s flaws will lead to nagging, frustration, hopelessness and fear.  And it will probably lead our spouse to the crazy house (because it will drive them CRAZY) or at least to want to sleep on the couch.

So what is our role?  I think it is to love.  I think it is to have faith in our spouse, to believe in them.  And when it’s hard?  And when we think they’ve done nothing to “deserve” it?  Believe in them anyway.