Keeping The Spark Alive in our Marriage
In Psalm 106, we are told that Israel did not understand the love and works of God and they quickly forgot his wonders. The inevitable result of their spiritual & physical amnesia was that their hearts and affections turned from God. As bad as my memory can be, I can’t fathom watching a mighty nation like Egypt brought to its knees and then seeing a swollen body of waters open up before me so I can cross over, and then forgetting it. How does one pick up a piece of carved stone and pray to it when Jehovah God has just revealed his presence in a pillar of fire and cloud.
BUT THEY DID, AND SO CAN I.
I walked down the aisle over nine years ago, and the sight of David waiting for me rocked my heart. As I pledged my love and very life to him, I could never imagine a time I would be repulsed by something he said or did. He was everything I had prayed for, and I was bound and determined to spend my entire life showing him just how much I loved him and how much his presence ment to me. I would have demanded a duel had you suggested there would be a day he would wound or disappoint me to the point that although I loved him, at that moment in time I would not like him.
The reality of life is that our husbands are neither perfect nor intended to “complete” us. They will disappoint us, wound us, and fail in many different ways during our lifetime. How do we keep a spark going when our heart is so wounded we don’t even want to be in their presence? How do we fan flames of romance and love when our man leaves dirty undies on the floor just feet away from the hamper. How about when he forgets a date that is very special to you, or when he repeatedly breaks the world record for the number of times gas is expelled in just one minute?
So how do we keep the hurts and disappointments from turning our hearts from our husbands? Israels was told to do something each and every day in order to guard and protect their hearts from spiritual adultery and I strongly believe this same command is a key to a healthy marriage. We must Remember the “Good” in order to keep our hearts and marriages from being poisoned by the ‘bad.”
Recognize, Record, Recount, Remember!!!!
- Recognize: We have a choice when it come to what we see, dwell, and think upon. As wives we have to actively choose to see and recognize the “good” in our husbands. This means purposefully overlooking our husbands faults. We need to refuses to hit the rewind button when our husbands have hurt us, disappointed us, or messed up. Jesus Christ, the epitome of Love overlooked a multitude of transgressions when he called and redeemed us and we are called to Love our Husband as Christ loved us. Our brains should actively filter our daily thoughts, looking for and actively seeking the commendable, loving and goodness in our husbands.
- Record: There are days I am certain I have Alzheimer’s. I have decided that upon birth each kid claimed one-quarter of my brain and after three kids, I that leaves me with just one-quarter of my brain to function with. We often judge Israel, but we are just like them and we forget important things. God was well aware of this weakness and he told Israel to “write it down!” If it is important, and if it is something I don’t want to lose, I need to write it down. The “good days of marriage,” and the “Goodness of your husband,” needs to be recorded. You will forget the little, yet significant things he has done that meant much to you.
- Recount: There are three people(s) you need to recount the “good” to. First, you need to tell yourself that you love your husband and why. Next, you need to tell/demonstrate to your spouse that you love them. This can be vocalized, written in notes, expressed in special a creative ways, or just lived out quietly in your life. Lastly, not one single word of criticism for your husband, should ever escape your lips in the company of others. Praise, affirmation & thankfulness is the only thing they should hear coming from your lips. As an added bonus, never pass up an opportunity to humbly praise your man in front of others when he is present! Tactfulness and humility is the key, but there is always an opportunity to slip in a story about your man! That rewind button of negative thoughts plays automatically if we don’t actively “Shut it down!”, and one way to combat that tendency is to daily, and repeatedly recount the goodness of the men in our life. A healthy and vibrant marriage is intentional and purposeful. (Our husbands are not God, and should never replace the relationship we are told to cultivate with God, but our relationship with our husband does mirror to a degree the one we are called to have with God. We should never place our husbands on a pedestal above God because that opens up another realm of problems. I am not meaning to advocate worship of our husbands merely purposeful recognition of their good qualities & love)
- Remember: This is the kicker. I don’t believe we can attain a healthy “memory” for our husbands, or God, if we don’t Recognize, Record, & Recount what “they” mean to us and why we love them. As we allow their “goodness” to shine brighter than their failures and mistakes, our love grows. As we record the special moments and times we have with them, our hearts are drawn together. As we share with others, in the presence of our spouse, what we love and appreciate about them, our hearts are bound together.
My challenge to you is to get a notebook and to weekly (if not daily) record why you love your husband. Record something he did that week that ment a lot to you. My husband gets up early and goes to work ever day without even one word of complaint and I love this about him. There are days I can simply look at a photo of a mountain or listen to a song and remember out honeymoon. A flood of memories race over my heart and Oh, the love I feel in my heart towards David at that moment and he did nothing. Write down those fleeting thoughts.
My husband acquires “Brownie point” because of these wistful memories and moments, and as silly as it seems, these times strengthen my love for him and he isn’t even present. Memories ignite and renew my passion and David he gets “points” for something we did years ago….he loves brownie points!!! Your daily or weekly reflections don’t have to be specific actions, but something you really appreciate just then. If there is a week you’re struggling with emotions and passions and can’t find a stashed love note (See Pants on the ground, part 2), grab your book read a page or two on why you love your man. Be sure to leave the notebook out and to let you husband know it is for his eyes only and that he is free at any time to open it and read what you have written about him. One day slip a love note and treat in there for him : ) Make sure weeks don’t pass by without an entry, you might have some explaining to do : )
Do you have any suggestions or insight on how you keep marriage sparks flying. Feel free to leave a comment or a link for others to your blog!
The March Giveaway:
This contest continues today and the drawing will take place on or around March 31st. I would like to introduce some of my favorite authors. John Piper, Gary Thomas, & Beth Moore. All have written books the Lord has used to minister, encourage, and teach me throughout times of testing, rest, trials, peace, sorrow and Joy. You can enter multiple time throughout the month, but you can only win one book. To enter, share this blog series on Press This, Linked In, FB, Titter and Digg. Be sure to come back and mention how you have entered and also what book you would like to have. You only have to mention the book you want one time. Make sure to mention how you have entered each time so I can record each entry. Please leave a link to your blog in your responses if you have written a blog on pain or any other topic you feel is relevant. If you have a story to share, please contact me and we will get you on the schedule to share.
BOOK #1 When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God–and Joy
“It is utterly crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise,strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him.” John Piper
Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It can happen because of sin, satanic assault,distressing circumstances, or hereditary and other physical causes.In When the Darkness Will Not Lift, John Piper aims to give some comfort and guidance to those experiencing spiritual darkness.
Readers will gain insight into the physical side of depression and spiritual darkness, what it means to wait on the Lord in a time of darkness, how unconfessed sin can clog our joy, and how to minister to others who are living without light. Piper uses real-life examples and sensitive narrative to show readers abundant reason to hope that God will pull them out of the pit of despair and into the light once again.
BOOK #2 Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God’s Deliverance
From her first breath of fresh air beyond the pit, it has never been enough for Beth Moore to be free. This best-selling author and Bible teacher who has opened the riches of Scripture to millions longs for you to be free as well-to know the Love and Presence that are better than life and the power of God’s Word that defies all darkness.
Beth’s journey out of the pit has been heart-rending. But from this and the poetic expressions of Psalm 40 has come the reward: a new song for her soul, given by her Saviour and offered to you in Get Out of That Pitfriend to friend. This is Beth’s most stirring message yet of the sheer hope, utter deliverance, and complete and glorious freedom of God:
I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit
He set my feet on a rock. He put a new song in my mouth
It is a story, a song-a salvation-that you can know too.
BOOK #3 Authentic Faith: The Power of a Fire-Tested Life
Fortify your commitment to Christ by examining ten ‘authentic’ disciplines God uses to forge a fire-tested faith. What if the spiritual disciplines that bring us closer to God are not the ones we control? Bestselling author Gary Thomas reveals the rich benefits that derive from embracing the harder truths of Scripture. With penetrating insight from Scripture and the Christian classics, along with colorful and engaging stories, this eye-opening look at what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus will encourage you, bolster your faith, and help you rise above shallow attachments to fix your heart on things of eternal worth.