Ahhh…February, the month of love. I am fully aware that there are Valentine’s Day haters out there, but I, for one, think it’s nice to have a reminder to pay a little more attention to our sweetheart and spice things up in the romance department. And any holiday that involves chocolate, well, I’m for it. But then, I am a girl. I like chick flicks, and books about romance, especially if they live happily ever after. My nearly 33 years of marriage to my honey is the greatest joy of my life. If you’ve read my previous blogs, you can probably figure out that flowers and chocolate may not be in his mind, much less celebrating Valentine’s Day (unless he reads this blog). But we are both constantly aware that if we don’t maintain our relationship with regular time together at home, on special dates, or getting away on a trip, we can get in a lazy rut. That’s when we plan something, hop on the motorcycle and head out on the highway, or sit in the tub and drink wine, while discussing what we would do if we won the lottery. (No, we don’t play the lottery- it’s more about the tub and the wine). I can hear a collective “ewe” from all three of my kids.
As a Marriage and Relationship Coach and Educator, I constantly hear couples use words like “boring,” “in a rut,” “stale,” and “distant” to describe their relationships. This is really sad to me because it doesn’t have to be that way. It is true that life is busy, especially in these hard economic times. Stress levels are high, and we all have a lot on our minds, just trying to keep our heads above water, but a good, solid marriage filled with romance and fun is a great remedy for stress! I wonder how your husband’s mind would be calmed if you said something like this to him:
“Kiss me again and again, for your love is sweeter than wine. How fragrant your cologne, and how pleasing your name! No wonder all the young women love you! Take me with you. Come, let’s run! Bring me into your bedroom, O my king.”
I didn’t make that up (unfortunately). It came from Song of Solomon 1:1-4 (NLT). I think that would get my hubby’s attention- especially the bedroom part. But, men, pay attention to some things the king spoke back to his love:
“How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful! Your eyes are soft like doves…compared to other women, my beloved is a lily among thorns” (1:15, 2:3).
What security that would bring to your wife’s heart- You think she is beautiful, and all those other women are thorns! I think we can learn a lot from the Songs of Solomon about ways to romance our spouses and how very important it is. I recommend on this Valentine’s Day, taking a little time and reading it to each other. If you never have, you may be in for a big surprise. It was written in code, because in Oriental times, it was so provocative and sensual that they didn’t want children understanding certain things before it was time. Try to figure out what was really being said, and then let me know what you come up with. If you are reading this in the newsletter, click here to comment on my blog: http://phyl-lippy.blogspot.com/
Another great resource for recapturing the romance in your marriage is Gary and Barbara Rosberg’s 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love. Secret number five in their book is “Celebrating Love” and they share five ways to practice it in your marriage.
1. Put Each Other at the Top of the List
The Rosbergs suggest that, “quality time is a myth.” Couples need lots of time together away from kids and other responsibilities. Find enjoyable activities to do TOGETHER.
Here are some ways:
- “Put family second, right after your relationship with God
- Be cautious when making commitments outside your family
- Cultivate enriching relationships- don’t always hang out with people who sap your strength. While that is a ministry opportunity, make time to be around people who energize and encourage you.
- Make communication a priority in your relationships
- Let your body language demonstrate that your spouse is your priority”
2. Confess to Each Other
“Unresolved offenses block all kinds of intimacy- emotional, physical and spiritual.” Gary Rosberg encourages husbands to “take the lead to address the pain, close the loop, and restore intimacy.”
3. Get to Know Each Other Again
“How? Demonstrate your love by showing that you are deeply interested. Here are some ways:
- Study your spouse
- Really listen to each other
- Work alongside each other
- Try some of your old favorites again
- Get away together
- Be captivated by the love of your life”
4. Rethink Your Thinking
The Rosbergs share 2 coaching tips to get you started:
- “Be willing to fall in love with your spouse again- being in love begins in your mind with the choice to surrender to feelings of love. Only when you have made this basic choice can you train yourself to look for the good in your spouse and be glad for it.”
- “Control your thoughts. When a negative thought about your spouse comes along, arrest it, lock it behind bars, and throw away the key!”
5. Rekindle Romance and Physical Intimacy
“Shared emotional arousal between a husband and wife is a catalyst in the development of a passionate physical love. What a husband must realize is how his seemingly nonsexual activities help to satisfy his wife’s hunger for physical intimacy. At the heart of these nonsexual actions is the emotional bond of being friends…Husbands, don’t underestimate the power of the small signs of affection that communicate to your wife all day long that she is loved.”
“Few women understand the depth of anguish a husband feels when his need for sexual intimacy is not fully met…A husband whose wife ignores his drive for sexual intimacy feels rejected as a person and as a man. He often shuts down or pulls away…however, such actions can be averted if a wife is attuned to the depth of her husband’s need for physical intimacy.”
Read about Celebrating Love and the other 5 secrets in 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love
The Rosbergs have changed their Date With A Purpose link and given it a new look. Check it out:
Click HERE to view February’s Marriage Link - "Trust"
And check out Charla Muller’s 365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy
When Charla Muller’s husband turned 40, she wanted to give him something really special, something no one else could, and something he would never forget. She decided to give him the gift of intimacy. The Mullers had a pretty good marriage and two beautiful children. Everything was going smoothly except for one thing- their sex life was anything but exciting. They never made time for intimacy with each other anymore. This reality prompted Muller’s offer to give her husband the gift of sex every day for 365 days, in “a considerate and sincere attempt to bond via daily intimacy and connection” (p. 12). He, of course, graciously accepted her offer. Thus began their journey of learning what it takes to have a truly intimate marriage. I loved this book! It is a true love story.
Dr. Kevin Leman’s book, Sheet Music, is a great book about marital sex.
If you want info quick, browse Jim and Carrie Gordon’s website, The Intimate Couple, for all kinds of ideas about romance and sex for married couples. It’s spicy! Just sayin’
Finally, if you are bored and love academic reading, I wrote a paper about intimacy during graduate school and would love to share it with you. If you are interested, request it by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you find any mistakes, don't worry- I already got my A. Enjoy.
I hope you are enjoying all the resources that I share with you. I think it is important to have a fully stocked toolbox in order to build a strong marriage and maintain it so that you will have a happy and fulfilling life and so that you will be ambassadors for Christ and be able to mentor other couples.
This Valentine’s Day I would love to receive flowers and there had better be chocolate, but I would love any one of the following ideas even more. These are more ideas from the Rosberg’s book, 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love:
IDEAS FOR CELEBRATING YOUR WIFE
- Be accessible to her- always! Tell her where you will be and how long you will be gone.
- Let your coworkers know you can always be interrupted when she calls.
- Repeat your wedding vows often. Tell her that if you had it to do all over again, you would choose her again- and again, and again.
- Continually promise and reassure her that your love for her and faithfulness to her is “till death do us part.”
- Invite her to tell you how she desires to be loved, then seek to love her that way.
- Give her a head-to-toe massage.
- Compliment her, especially for the little things.
- Send her flowers or chocolates or whatever little gifts she likes.
- Attend a marriage conference together. Take the initiative to locate one, make all the arrangements, including a babysitter if that is necessary.
- Lavish her with nonsexual touch.
- Call her during the day just to say hello.
- Put your arm around her or hold her hand in public.
- Say, “I love you” before she does. Begin and end each day with encouraging words.
- Write notes to her regularly telling her how proud you are of her.
- Hold her hands, and pray for her.
- Send her cards or love letters.
- Bring her breakfast in bed.
- Say, “I’m sorry” when you are wrong, and forgive her when she is wrong.
- Kiss for at least 10 seconds when you part in the morning and when you reunite at the end of the day.
IDEAS FOR CELEBRATING YOUR HUSBAND
- Send him off and welcome him home with a smile and a 10 second kiss.
- Let him know you’re glad he’s home, just because you love him, not because the sink is clogged or you need to get away from the kids.
- If you arrive home after your husband does, find him before you do anything else and tell him how glad you are to be home.
- Let him know you care. Buy a mushy card, and send it to his office, hide it in his briefcase, or slip it into the book he’s reading.
- Write down a list of reasons why you love him, then share the list with him over a romantic dinner.
- Leave him a surprise note with an encouraging Bible verse.
- Buy attractive nightwear for yourself- and hide his!
- Give him massages.
- Pray for him before he leaves for work.
- Join him in his favorite activity even if you aren’t crazy about it. Try doing with him some of the things he enjoys doing with his buddies.
- Say, “I’m sorry” when you are wrong and forgive him when he is wrong.
- Initiate sexual intimacy.
- Listen to his opinions on spiritual issues. Ask him what type of activities would fuel his spiritual growth. Don’t impose your ideas on him.
- Eat breakfast with him, and enter his world at the start of the day.
- Accept your body, and enjoy experimenting with him sexually.
I hope all these great tips for rekindling the romance in your marriage are helpful. You have no excuse for having a ho-hum marriage. I have given you plenty of tools to use. Start by reading Song of Solomon. Marriage was the Creator God's idea, after all.
One last thing, just for fun. If you want to see what can happen if you don't heed my advice, watch this video:http://www.bluefishtv.com/Store/Downloadable_Video_Illustrations/3001/The_Marriage_Translators/f=s2a&scid=1005&cc=1017&csc=&ldr=&s=
Thanks for reading. Your comments are welcomed.
And have Happy Valentine's Day!