The term “spoil” conveys a meaning of ruining something. Spoiling dinner, for example, means you no longer can enjoy eating your meal. Spoiling a child means to ruin his good nature due to excessive attention and overindulgence. When I first got married, several wives told me that I was spoiling my new husband with my doting. Over the years I see that they might have had a point. When once he used to be a self-sufficient bachelor who ironed his own shirts and kept a tidy apartment, he no longer even bothers to pick up his dirty socks he tosses next to (note: not “inside of”) the laundry basket.
He’s spoiled, true, but he is far from ruined. I believe that you can spoil your spouse without ruining him or your marriage, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
“We shamefully spoil each other,” a poster wrote in recent Yahoo comment stream about marriage. I loved that phrase, “shamefully spoil each other!” A friend of mine told me that her church clergy counsels young and old couples to “live to make each other happy” and “to serve each other.” It’s no coincidence that those who report using this spoiling method enjoy happy marriages.
Look what love does!
Spoiling each other implies that you place high priority upon your mate’s needs and desires. Spoiling your mate should bring you joy, too, because your mate’s happiness is inextricably connected to your own. When there is a conflict in what you want versus what your spouse wants, it’s easy to relinquish your own desires because you still derive joy to make him/her happy. There is no self-sacrifice involved.
Continually allowing your mate to have his way is a way to “spoil” him, and a funny thing happens when you do this on a regular basis. All the good feelings he enjoys while being spoiled bubbles over and spills out into his own actions and attitudes towards the woman who spoils him. Be sure that woman is you. He will suddenly feel the urge to return the affectionate spoiling and soon, the two of you will be trying to outdo each other with lavish acts of love. Maybe it’s a matter of like attracts like but all that pleasurable attention seeks more of its own.
When the spoiling goes one way
Of course, there are some personality types that aren’t into the shows of affection at all. They might even feel sheepish or awkward to be doted upon. Others might rather enjoy it all and soak it up without reciprocating. In that case, remember that your actions aren’t really acts of love if you expect anything in return. A loving act is joyous for its own sake. And when offered purely, it cannot help but set seeds in even the stoniest heart.
Banking the good feelings
Relationship experts often use the analogy of a bank account when it comes to being able to weather bad times. The theory explains that whenever we create positive feelings in a relationship, it is like making a bank deposit. Clashes, conflicts, arguments and demands are like making withdrawals. For a good relationship, people need to have more deposits than withdrawals. When you are overdrawn, the relationship is in trouble.
With every act of spoiling your mate, you make a deposit. Work on building up a nice bottom line so when you do need to make one of those unpleasant but inevitable withdrawals, you will have built up a nice nest egg of good feelings and stay in the black.
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