Cozy Little Fires Everywhere: Small Ways to Warm Up Your Marriage
By Ted Lowe
It’s easy to focus on what is not working in our marriage, especially when we are trying to work on our marriage. I get it. The logic is sound: focus on your problems so you can fix them.
But here’s the problem with focusing solely on what is not working: most of us aren’t qualified to work on marital issues. In fact, I know several married couples where both spouses are counselors. When they face issues, they often bring in another counselor for help. That should cause the rest of us pause. I’m not suggesting our tension points aren’t important and we shouldn’t try to work on them. They are and we should. I’m just stating that most of us don’t know how. So now what? Hope.
In my podcast interview with Mike Foster he said, “We may not be qualified to work on our problems, but we are qualified to work on our connection.” Here’s the great news, little things matter big in marriage.
For example, a friend recently shared that she loves to come home from work and see a little smoke coming from the chimney. She knows her husband has built a fire for her to snuggle next to. She said, “Those cozy little fires are my favorite thing.” While for some building a fire would be a big deal, for our friend’s husband it is not. In fact, she said, “He has been a pyromaniac since he was a boy. He loves building fires and I love it when it does.”
For her, cozy little fire means a lot to her. What little fires do you build for your spouse? What is that little thing you do that makes them feel big love?
I asked my wife, Nancie, what is a cozy little fire for you? She said, you picking up the kids from their friends’ house is huge for me. Picking up the kids? Really? Yep. Side note: I learned a long time ago that while her love language is probably always going to be acts of service, those acts evolve and change. So I have to ask often. Nancie asked me what was my version of a little fire; that was easy. I said, “When you laugh at my “attempts” to be funny.
So what little fires do you, can you, build for your spouse?
I’ve surveyed hundreds of couples and it seems that most spouses fall into one of a few categories:
- You know exactly what that cozy little fire is and you plan to do it forever.
- You think you know what that cozy little fire is but you aren’t sure.
- You’re not sure your spouse sees or appreciates your little fires.
- You’re afraid your spouse would say you don’t build little fires.
Regardless of what category you fall into, be encouraged. You just need to know for certain what your spouse—not you—defines as a cozy little fire. This is key. If they don’t have an answer for you, don’t panic. Tell them you want to start to build a cozy little fire that makes them feel loved. Don’t feel bad if it takes a while. You will get there. If you need a few ideas to get you and/or your spouse thinking and talking, here are quite a few from a survey I recently took. We should all be encouraged by how doable little fires can be.
Little Fires from real-life married people
- Usually, it’s just a look that says, “I get you.”
- Hugs me.
- Holds my hand during the night.
- He asks me just about every day how he can make my day better.
- He brings me a fresh glass of ice water for the bedside table every night.
- The action of showing how supportive she is. It’s one thing to say, “I support you.” It’s another thing to show it.
- When it’s normally my job to get up in the am—make the coffee and take the dogs out—he sets his alarm to get it done before me then brings me coffee in bed
- He packs my lunch and usually fixes our breakfast.
- Ordering a large Dr. Pepper for me instead of medium.
- Resisting the urge to smother me with a pillow when I snore.
- Wakes me up with snuggles
- He makes my coffee for every morning and he makes the bed. These are things he knows I would neglect in the morning during the hustle and bustle of getting ready for work but he knows how much these things make my morning better.
- When I’m driving and she touches my arm or she rubs the hair on the back of my head.
- When he builds us a fire on a cold winter’s day.
- When she says positive things to me.
- Cooks dinner for me every day that he is home before me. He’s the best.
- Lets the dog out if I’m not awake.
- Tells me he loves me every night.
- He always made sure my car was filled with gas!
- Has hung in with me for 400,000 hours…sometimes a second at a time
- Has a dance party with my 6-year-old.
- He cooks!
- Tells me every night how much he loves me. Tells my son that as well.
- Communicates with me better than anyone and knows me better than anyone. That is more than one!
- Before he says what he would prefer to do (like a Saturday when we’re both home), he always asks, “is there anything you want to do today?” Always. Before he ever mentions something he would like to do.
- He has learned to love watching college football games with me in our 30 years together.
- Actually accompanies me to Target.
- Gives me the Doritos with the most cool-ranch flavor.
- Looks in my eyes.
What are the cozy little fires in your marriage?
Ted Lowe is a speaker, author, and the director of Married People, an organization with the mission of making marriage real, fun, and simple. Prior to launching Married People in 2010, Ted served as the Director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta. Ted is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, in Pasadena, California. He lives in Cumming, Georgia, with his five favorite people: his wife, Nancie, and their four children. Ted is author Your Best Us and Married People: How Your Church Can Build Marriages that Last.
Coming soon: an all-new online course for Shaunti’s top research and teachings. Sign up for her email list to stay in the know!