Simple Steps to An Affair-Free Marriage, Part 2

Step 4: Keep the Fire Burning

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned – Song of Solomon 8:6-7

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love – Proverbs 5:18-19

Time and distance are constant enemies of marriage. The natural flow of relationships is never towards but away from each other. It takes work to make a relationship work!

Remember when you and your spouse were dating/courting. You worked to prove your love to each other. You wrote notes, bought flowers, made gifts, took time, talked, served and preferred each other. What about now? Do you approach the same “duties” with the same fervor or are you just going through the motions? Are you just being romantic so that “momma stays happy because if she ain’t happy, then nobody’s happy?”

People who are labeled as “romantic” work at being just that. It doesn’t come natural but being selfish and thinking about “my wants and my needs” does come easy. So you’ve got to plan. You must prepare.

It’s just like having a campfire or a fireplace. You have to sometimes stoke the fire or blow into it to see the flames rise. Sometimes you have to add more wood or even squirt an accelerant. Then, whoosh! The fire is raging and burning much hotter than it did before.

Your marriage deserves the same, if not more, attention. Throw some fuel into it. Have regular date nights but don’t be boring and predictable. Plan to be intimate. Yeah, I said it, plan it! There is definitely room for spontaneity but if you have kids, you know that there’s not much room for surprises. Ladies, give your husband some money and send him to the store to buy you something to wear. Text your husband a “message” and let him know what’s waiting for him.

You don’t have to be ashamed. Remember, these are all honorable in marriage according to God. I love what Proverbs 5 says, “be thou ravished ALWAYS with her love.” Enough said.

Step 5: Remember Your Family & Friends

As a husband, father, assistant pastor, couples’ teacher and school principal, I have people (both young and old) that observe my life. Now, I’m not taking these steps for them, per sé, but they are affected by what I do.

Not only is your spouse affected by your affair (physical or emotional) but so are your kids, your friends, and your church. Everyone feels a level of pain because of the selfish and sinful act. Having an affair is not a victimless crime!

I remember talking to a young person a few years ago who foolishly exclaimed, “I think marriage is a joke.” After asking him why he thought that, I soon discovered that his dad had been unfaithful multiple times to his mom. In his eyes, what’s the point of getting married and being committed? After explaining to him what the Bible says about marriage and the blessing that it is, he apologized and had a different perspective on marriage.

A dad’s foolish affair affected his son’s attitude and perspective that day. You can do the same, too.

(the article will be concluded next week)

Romantically Challenged Support Group, Part 4

Today, we’ll conclude this article with two more tips for the “romantically challenged.” As I said before, these are areas I have struggled in and seek to be better with the upcoming days. There is no perfect marriage and the quicker you recognize that, the sooner you’ll humbly improve your marriage. So here’s the final two.

Realize That Romance is Not an Exact Science

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Romantically Challenged Support Group, Part 2

Let’s continue to look at how we can be a more romantic spouse.

Make a Big Deal of Special Days. This means saying, “Happy Birthday,” or “Happy Anniversary” on the days they actually occurred. The other day, someone I know talked to their spouse three times on the phone before realizing that it was their birthday. Ouch! I understand that you may not celebrate it that day but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something or at the very least, say something. Let me say, too, that forgetfulness is not an excuse. With electronic calendars, reminder apps, smartphones, and computers, there’s plenty of ways to keep track of these special days.

Anticipate Your Spouse’s Needs. Gentlemen, especially, don’t wait until your wife has to drop hints (which we often miss) to do something for her. It’s amazing how many arguments can be eliminated by simply meeting our spouse’s needs. I love how David’s mighty men risked their lives just to get him water from a well in Bethlehem. Pay attention during conversations and learn to anticipate what your spouse may need or want.

The other day I got a big kiss from my wife that surprised me. I simply filled out her supplement container. I had a few extra minutes and decided to do something she typically does for both of us. Guess what, if I keep getting surprised that way, I’m looking for more needs to meet!

Learn How Your Spouse Wants To Be Loved. This may sound strange but not everyone enjoys being loved the same way. I suppose the best way to describe this is by citing Dr. Gary Chapman’s Book, The Five Love Languages. For years I rebelled against this book because I thought it was hogwash that you could box in the way you express your love. After being married a few years, I decided to read it again. And boy, was I wrong! The premise of the book it this: there are love languages each person usually speak and it is how they desire to receive love. The love languages are physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, and quality time. Each person likes for love to be expressed to them specifically in one or a combination of these languages. Which brings me back to the point of learning how your spouse wants to be loved. One of the best ways to know is to observe how he/she expresses love. If he loves to demonstrate affection through physical contact, more than likely he wants it reciprocated in the same manner. If she loves to give gifts, then she probably enjoys receiving them, too. The exception to these rules is if they have discovered your love language and is seeking to express their love to you. Talk about it and learn how you want love expressed in your marriage.

 

Eye Contact and Full Attention. When your spouse is speaking to you (especially when it’s a serious conversation), turn off the TV, put down the phone or tablet, and give him/her your undivided attention. One of the surest ways to manifest this is through eye contact. Look into your spouse’s eyes. Think about it, what’s more romantic? A husband gazing into his wife’s eye and saying, “I love you.” Or a husband watching TV or playing Temple Run and saying to his wife, “I love you.” We live in such a multimedia, multi-sensory world that we don’t take the time to just slow down and focus. Don’t be so A.D.D when your spouse is speaking to you. Frankly, many couples have drifted apart due to a lack of focus and full attention. On date nights or late night conversations, stare into their eyes and give full attention.

Romantically Challenged Support Group, Part 3

I hope the last few weeks have been a help to you. I know that it has helped me to list and practice these principles in my marriage. Let’s continue.

Know When To Shut Up

This may sound harsh but not everything that goes through your mind needs to come out of your mouth! The Bible instructs us in the book of James to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.” My Dad used to tell me, “God gave you two ears and one mouth. Therefore you should listen twice as much as you talk.” Thanks, Dad! That simple advice, which is rooted in a biblical precept, has saved my marriage much heartache. Of course you know, I am still human and therefore not perfect. Sometimes this tongue of mine gets me in to a heap of trouble! Guard your tongue. Pray what the Psalmist prayed, “Lord, set a watch before my mouth.”

Nothing kills the romance in your marriage quite like an argument or disagreement. Bob Lepine says it this way, “Using the words, ‘I told you so’ doesn’t create a romantic buzz. Avoid those four words at all cost.” Ogden Nash said it this way, “To keep your marriage brimming with love in the loving cup. When you’re wrong admit it, and when you’re right, shut up.”

Laugh Together

Don’t take yourself or life too seriously. Even God had a sense of humor. Read the Bible. Look at what He created. I imagine that I must make God laugh with the different things I do in life. I’m His creation, His child, and He delights in me! So if He laughs, so should we.

When’s the last time you and your spouse just busted out laughing? To the point when you can’t even catch your breath, your stomach muscles got a good workout, and your jaw is so sore from being opened so wide? Personally I believe that laughter is a prerequisite to romance. No one wants to be around a grump! Honestly, one of the first things that attracted me to my wife is her infectious laugh. It makes me just want to be with her.

Intimacy Begins in the Kitchen

Get your mind out of the gutter and listen closely, husbands. Generally, wives are appreciative of the help you give around the house. Especially, unsolicited help. When you lighten her load by being a servant, she has more time for “other things.” And the grateful girl wants to say “thank you.” I’m not trying to be crude, just realistic. We wonder why they’re so tired when we get to bed. Why don’t you help and maybe she’ll reward you for your efforts. Therefore, intimacy begins in the kitchen. (we’ll conclude this article next week)

A Baby Changes Everything

A Baby Changes Everything-titleToday (three days from Christmas), we will conclude our lesson series, “Little Things That Make a Big Difference.” We have studied in the last few months how seemingly insignificant attitudes and actions can undermine our homes. Much like the pebble in the corner of our shoe, these things have caused small irritations to become explosive moments in marriage, bringing great damage and sometimes, eventual destruction. Oh how little things make a big difference!

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A Simple Act That Made a Big Difference

Over a year ago, my family and I stumbled upon a community event. Every year our town hosts a Veterans’ Day ceremony and I remember telling my wife, “This would be a good event to expose our students to.” At that point, I made a reminder on my phone to research out the dates for the following year (2013) and to make sure that I place that date on our school calendar.  Continue reading

Good Habits to Develop – Part 4, Have a Servant’s Heart

The Great Rescue - Landscape

We live in a “dog-eat-dog” society. Everyone is looking for “us four and no more.” It’s about me, myself, and I. Put society’s philosophy together with our sinful nature and the it’s a surefire recipe for a selfish lifestyle. And people seem to be okay with it! Continue reading