Many couples have reported that life under Covid has squeezed the verve out of their relationships. A great marriage is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and your children.

Here are six keys to infuse our homes with peace and harmony. Use the Hebrew word SHALOM as your guide.

S: Spiritual Shelter

A home in Judaism is called a ‘mikdash me’at’, a miniature sanctuary. The entire world can be falling apart but we know that when we come home we are in a safe place. How do we create a spiritual shelter?

When we create a home infused with spiritual awareness, we fortify our walls with a sense of connection and faith. We know that every moment, each family member, is a gift. It is about the words we use, the way we treat one another. We may go through challenges but we endure together. We draw upon our traditions, embrace each other’s joys and sorrows, and understand that we have the ability to push away the darkness with our light. Home becomes our sacred go-to place.

H: Humility

Relationships require humility to thrive. When we are humble we are able to apologize and forgive. We do not believe that we are too great to do the ‘little things’ like help a spouse clear the table, take out the garbage, and drive carpool so that a partner can sleep in. All moments that show we care.

Too many spouses begin to look down at their partner as careers take off. As years go by we sometimes grow arrogant. We constantly compare and feel that we deserve better. It is easy to see failings in others but never ourselves.

A husband called me asking that I speak about how to create a peaceful environment in the home. He knew that his wife would be attending my lecture on ‘shalom’, and his home was suffering. At the end of the talk, the woman approached me. “Wow! Great lecture! I only wish my husband could’ve heard it.”

A: Appreciation

Gratitude is the oxygen of marriage. Even the simplest task becomes strenuous when we feel unappreciated. Saying thank you is the spiritual building block of every relationship. When we stop expressing appreciation, we grow entitled. Nothing is ever good enough. We start taking each other for granted.

#Did I say thank you to my spouse today? And did I do it in front of my children?

Ask yourself each day: Did I say thank you to my spouse today? And even greater: Did I express my appreciation to my spouse in front of my children?’

L: Love

What is love?

We speak about the 5 languages of love. We know that a relationship requires both emotional and physical expressions of love. Setting aside time together, communicating feelings, respect and loyalty are all crucial truths that make love grow.

But here is the ultimate truth:

Judaism teaches that the word for love, ‘ahavah,’ comes from the root word ‘hav’-meaning to give. Bottom line, love comes when I am invested in my relationship. I give and so I love.

We mistakenly think the opposite. What is he getting me? What does she do for me? The moment we stop focusing on how we can give more, do more, invest more, we start to plant the seeds for selfish love. Lasting genuine love is selfless.

O: Optimism

We never asked for the challenges. We could never have imagined the hard roads, the twists and turns. No one knows what tomorrow brings, but our reaction is in our hands. When we know that we can count on our spouse for a smile even if our hearts are breaking, when we try to keep hope alive for one another, the flame of love will not be extinguished.

Moodiness is a relationships killer. Lose the dark face and the sullen, one-word responses. (I am not speaking about depression). Be encouraging. Give words that are uplifting. Don’t squash your spouse’s dreams.

M: Meaning

Why were we brought together? What are our goals? What kind of house will we build? How will we make a difference? What is the meaning of our relationship?

No matter how many years you are married, live with purpose. Don’t allow the years to pass you by.

Each relationship is unique. There are sacred sparks to be discovered. Listen to your spouse; hear his voice, sooth her pain. Infuse your home with gratitude. Invest in your relationship. Discover the blessing of peace.

Photo Credit: Jason D, Unsplash.com