What does the word “love” mean to you? When you think of expressing love within your family, what types of things come to mind? Have you told your spouse and children that you love them today? Have you given them your full attention when they are speaking to you, or are you only partially listening while you multi-task?
Although we love our family members, sometimes we don’t take enough time during the day to make it known. How many times have you heard a person say, “Well, they know I love them”? Showing someone you love them is one of the most important things you can do in your life. Love is an action verb, which means that it requires you to make a consistent effort. In Scripture we have learned the importance of sharing love.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. —John 13:34-35
Some of the best methods to show love within your family can also the most simplistic.
Spend the Day Together
Plan a day trip that just includes your family. It could be as close as a few minutes driving time or a few hours drive. The important thing is that you get back to basics and really take the time to talk and share your lives. Try going on a hike together. It provides a new adventure, and you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of nature. Or plan a picnic in a place you’ve wanted to visit. There are unlimited possibilities to explore. Committing to these outings on a regular basis will help maintain your family unity.
Cooking/Eating Family Meals
If your schedules don’t allow for a full day together, plan a weekly family dinner that fits best into everyone’s timeline. Is Sunday evening best for everyone? Then for that one evening every week, make a family pact to let go of the “I should do’s”. They will still be there the next day, so turn off your phones, computers and televisions and cook together. Plan the meal together and then have each person help in the preparation. Turn on some music and dance, laugh and have fun, and truly enjoy each other’s company.
This is a classic way to spend an evening. Dedicate one night a week for family game night. Plan fun snacks, grab your favorite games, and by all means leave the stress of everyday life outside. Don’t hesitate to put your cell phones in another room. Strengthening the family bond is far more important than the latest Facebook or Twitter posts.
Little Reminders/Big Impact
One very fast and easy way to show love is by writing a quick note. Place it in a lunchbox, briefcase, notebook, mirror, or any place that will be an unexpected surprise for your family members. It’s fun to secretly place a message saying things like, “I love you” or “I’m proud of you.” When your family members find your notes, it makes them smile and they can feel your love, even if you aren’t standing right next to them.
Have you ever thought about having your family choose a cause, and then volunteering together? There are numerous charities that are always looking for help. You could choose an activity to raise money, such as a 5k run, or help out at a local food bank or soup kitchen. By helping those in need, you are sharing your family love with each other, and with people who will welcome your generous and loving spirit. The experience will leave a strong impression and remind the entire family to count their blessings.
Remember this one statement: “Time is something that we can never get back.” We are not promised tomorrow. We are not even promised all of today. Do not allow yourself, or the other members of your family, to put off sharing quality time together. Make each moment count.