Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Marriage: Romance

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth---for your love is more beautiful than wine. Song of Songs 1:2

He still comes home every night. He still shares his day with me and asks me about mine. We rarely fight; we still kiss goodnight…but the spark is gone.

I know I need to cut down on my practice and be home more. I know I am distracted by patient problems even when I am at home. I know that I am not as fun to be with as I was when we married. But, if I change all that, will it do any good?
I don’t know that he is really still in love with me, like before.

In the typical couple, romance and intimacy to a woman mean dinner out with good conversation, and to a man they mean skipping the conversation and getting on to making love. When you think about love in marriage, romance and intimacy are the only parts of our lives that are exclusive to the marital relationship according to God’s design. Yet they are the hardest to talk about on our weekend enrichment seminars. The Bible has some great romance and intimacy scenes throughout, starting in the Garden of Eden. The Song of Solomon has beautiful references to courtship and making love.

How do we get our intimacy back to where it was on our wedding day? Learn how to spell

Revise your schedule. Get out your palm pilot and schedule time with your spouse. If it is not on your schedule, it will not happen!

Oneness in our relationship. In Steve Arterburn’s book Every Woman’s Desire he challenges men to understand what their wife’s “essence” is; what are her gifts, thoughts and needs? Men, ask your wives what oneness means to her and then do it. It will make the next point really exciting!

Making love. If your sex life is in a rut, or making love is non-existent, then it is time to talk about it. Often, diminished sexual fulfillment in marriage is a symptom of other problems in the relationship. Or, there may have been some past abuse issue that has built a wall. Sometimes we are just carried away with our hectic lifestyle and making love gets left out in the cold. It’s okay to schedule sex into your calendar if other priorities have crowded it out and you are too exhausted to be spontaneous.

Activities. Make dates, plan things you both enjoying doing together, or take up an interest that your partner enjoys. You can spend time exercising together or reading a book together. Refuse to let arguments spoil this time.

Needs. What are your spouse’s top two or three emotional needs? In Give and Take, Willard Harley Jr. says that the top five needs of women are affection, conversation, honesty, openness, financial support and family commitment. The top five needs of men are sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, attractive spouse, domestic support and admiration.

Conversation and Caring. Harley also describes how “love busters” destroy romantic love. These are selfish demands, disrespectful judgments, angry outbursts, dishonesty, annoying habits and independent behavior. A beautiful romantic night can get sideswiped to separate bedrooms with any of these actions. In caring, learn your spouse’s love language by reading Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. There are five basic ways we each speak and understand emotional love. When someone we care about loves us in our love language, our emotional tank is filled and intimacy occurs. The love languages are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Know your spouse’s one or two love languages and then show her or him love in these ways!

Express & Experience forgiveness. If there is no acknowledgment of sin and failure, and asking and receiving forgiveness, a marriage is guaranteed to fail. Paul reminds us in Eph. 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Col. 3:13-14 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Learn to ask for forgiveness and learn to forgive.

You won’t be able to work on all of these areas at once, but pick one that you both want to work on, read one of the recommended books and schedule some time to go over it. It will be the best gift you can give your marriage and your spouse!

Dear God,
So many of my colleagues have sacrificed their marriages for their careers or for their pleasure. Let that not be me. Let us enjoy again the romance that brought us together, knowing that You were in the making of that romance. Let us be one in joy and in love so that we can fulfill the purpose of Your making us one. Amen

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