Column: Don’t ‘settle’ for second best; court your spouse always

Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.
Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.

by Deacon Tony Zimmerman

When I was dating my wife Barbara, I paid attention to what she liked, what brought a smile to her face and really brought out that sparkle in her eyes that first attracted me to her.

She liked Juicy Fruit chewing gum. So, on the way to pick her up for a date, I was sure to get a pack of Juicy Fruit gum just to share with her. Now, I was not a fan of this flavor of gum. When I took a piece after offering one to her, I usually, discreetly, got rid of it in short order. I carried her flavor of gum; I gave her an album of the music of the Four Seasons because I knew that she liked these things.

Wasn’t it this way for you when you were in your courtship or early marriage? Didn’t you look for little gifts to give to your sweetheart that you thought he or she would most like? Do you do this today as well? And not just for a birthday, anniversary or Christmas.

Ron and Kathy Feher, authors and presenters of the “Living in Love” marriage enrichment, which will be presented across the archdiocese from now until next September, write in their “Top 10 Tips for Living in Love Every Day:” “Too often, we give the gift that we would want rather than what the other most wants and needs to feel ‘in love.’ If we are to be a gift to each other, as Pope John Paul II suggested in his theology of the body, it helps to find out what our spouse would put on their ‘gift registry.’ Is it eye contact? Is it laughter, music or tender verbal statements? Maybe it is just spending time together. Learning what makes the other feel ‘in love’ makes it easy to put a smile on their face.”

Now, if you are like me, maybe you were really good at this when you courted and were first married. But, as you “settled down” in your marriage, maybe this way of showing love every day faded.

Now you might be thinking, “How can I begin to get back in the habit of finding the ways to show my love like when we dated?”

Men, we all know that it’s hard to ask: “What do you most want and need from me to really feel loved?” because our brides would expect that we would already know the answer.

If you want to know the answer to what brings joy to her heart and a sparkle to her eyes without having to ask, then sign up and bring your wife to a “Living in Love” retreat. Sign up online at: www. archkck.org/faith/ livinginlove or call (913) 647- 0345.

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