What happens if you send a loving note or text full of words of affirmation to your spouse everyday for a month? Good things friends. Good things.
So we’re done with our February love experiment which to send a nice text, email or note to your spouse everyday. This challenge was based on Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages book, specifically the words of affirmation love language.
Time for a re-cap!
Confession- the first half of the month went WAY better than the second half. For the first half of the month I was doing the 14 Days of Love Letters challenge and filled out one prompt each day for my nice note. This went GREAT! My love tank was full to the brim as I reminisced over fond memories and remembered each day why I love Rich so much.
Also, Rich’s love language IS words of affirmation, so his love tank was overflowing as well!
Two free-flowing love tanks?!?!
That’s a recipe for a hap-hap-happy marriage my friends!
And then the second half of the month came and I learned something. I learned how crappy I am at sending sappy texts everyday. I sort of ran out of steam and my texts became mediocre at best.
I know how you feel Michelle.
I learned I need some direction if I’m going to text everyday. So, if I could do it over again, I would have given myself more structure- like sending a text stating something I appreciated Rich doing for me everyday. Or even just stating one reason I love him everyday.
As it stood, I was trying to find different ways to say “I love you” without just saying I love you. I wish I would have turned to humor a lot more since that is more our style. I realized this while I was writing the post 40 Texts to Send Your Partner Right Now To Make Their Day (yes I see the irony of authoring this post given my confession of being a sub-par sappy text-er).
It occured to me that most of those prompts would feel awkward or forced unless it came with a silly gif or inside joke.
Its just how we roll.
In any case, even though I didn’t feel original the second half of the month, this is not to say the activity was useless.
Far from it.
I think the daily loving texts provided us with two main benefits:
1 It let us know that we’re on the same team even if one of us had a bad day.
Many times when one of us has a bad day and we’re grumpy, we unintentionally take out those grumps on each other. Even if we are trying not to, the non-grumpy one will often misinterpret the grumpy one’s grumps as being mad AT THEM. Then they are put out and it can spiral into a whole thing and the grumps spread all around. So the loving text sent while Rich was at work set a great tone for when he came home.
AND it gave us the freedom to be able to have a bad day and still know that we are on the same team. Too often I think we feel we have to stifle our bad days in order to appease the other one, but if you know that you’re together, you’re on the same team, then you can release your negative emotions without affecting the other one because you are both clear it is not directed at them.
2 Helped balance out our positive to negative interactions.
It really helped out our ratio of 5:1 positive to negative interactions, which marriage expert John Gottman says is the key to a successful relationship. Often when I only send “business” type texts, I interpret them as neutral interactions, but I think they are negative interactions to Rich, so sending those loving texts really helped to keep our interactions clearly on the positive side of things.
Those were two benefits that affected both of us, but I have to say for me one of the best outcomes was my own deep appreciation for Rich. I’ve felt almost unprecedented levels of gratitude for Rich this month. I think answering those prompts really allowed me to realize- Man, I am so grateful for this guy! He’s pretty awesome! It allowed me to keep his best attributes in the spotlight instead of his faults. And in marriage, keeping your spouse’s faults out of the spotlight is the name of the game.
Science backs this gratitude thing up. In fact, in a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania, they tested various positive psychology interventions (positive self talk, healthy habits, etc) for a number of weeks and tested their subjects happiness scores at the end of each week. One week they were assigned to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone in their life and participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in their happiness scores! The impact was greater than that from any other intervention! With the effects lasting as long as a month!
Love letters man- it’s powerful stuff.
Words of affirmation love experiment summary:
Thus concludes our words of affirmation love experiment- join us in April for our quality time love experiment: the 10 minute daily connect.