Usually, couples who have chosen to use natural family planning (NFP) have done so because they strongly believe it's the best choice for their family. But if you know anything about fertility awareness methods of birth control, then you know that avoiding pregnancy safely and naturally requires abstinence during a woman's fertile time.
This can be a challenging exercise for some couples, and may even cause some tension in the relationship. Sex is such a simple, wonderful way to connect relationally, physically, and romantically - but when it's not available, couples are forced to get creative. This may be one reason why couples who practice periodic abstinence often report high levels of sexual and relational satisfaction!
So if you are stumped, here are ideas for 10 non-sexual ways to show affection to your spouse:
This seems pretty obvious, but we often don't make time for simple, non-sexual touch with our spouse. Human beings crave physical connection beyond sex. Spending time snuggling together can be a simple, cozy way of feeling connected.
2. Send them a text or a social media message
Surprise your spouse in the middle of the day with an unexpected text, "I really miss you","I love you!" or "I'm so glad to be married to you!" You may have sent messages like this all the time while dating, but in the daily reality of marriage it's easy to get out of the habit. Make a point of getting back into the habit, even if you are rusty at first!
3. Write them a note
As great as technology is, and as much as we enjoy the ability to be in constant communication with the world, there is something unmistakably sweet about a good old fashioned love note. Leave one in your spouse's briefcase, tuck one into a book they are reading, put one on the counter for them to find when they get home from work. You may just brighten up their day.
4. Pack them a lunch
Some couples may do this already, but to others it may seem a bit silly. But even the simple care and attention it takes to make your spouse a sandwich and pack some snacks in their lunch box sends a definite message: I care about you!
5. Prep their morning coffee
There's nothing quite like stumbling out of bed half awake and finding the coffee maker all prepped and ready to go. It shows a thoughtfulness and care for the other's creature comforts that is easy to miss out on in our busy lives.
6. Go on a date
This is a big one, especially for couples with kids. So many of us stop dating our spouse once we marry - but marriage is just when we should be pursuing them more! In fact, the times that a couple may be practicing abstinence to avoid pregnancy is actually a perfect mini 'courtship' built in to every cycle. Take advantage of it!
7. Talk about your dreams
Again, this is another one that is easy to do while dating but sometimes forgotten in marriage. Take time to regularly sit down and talk about each other's hopes, dreams and aspirations. You may learn something new about your spouse, while at the same time reminding them how important they are to you.
8. Exercise together
Instead of sending your spouse away for a cold shower when temptation strikes, try burning some energy together. Go hiking, jogging, take an exercise class, do pilates, hit the gym, or just go for a long walk. Not only is this great bonding time together, but it can make the wait for the end of the fertile days seem shorter!
9. Do something creative and/or productive
For a woman, the fertile time of her cycle is one of extra vitality and creativity. Take advantage of this, and include your spouse. Do a craft, work in the garden, build a work bench, play music, paint, cook a meal together, or reorganize a room in your house. You may be surprised at how much fun you have!
10. Pray together
There is a saying that a couple who prays together, stays together. While it may feel awkward at first if you aren't used to it, engaging in your faith together can help the two of you not only grow closer to the Lord, but also closer to each other.
Can you think of any other ways to show affection to your spouse? Please share in the comments!
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