I heard Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, tell about the way he learned to make the principle of servanthood practical in his marriage. As he struggled through a difficult time, he discovered that he lacked an attitude of servanthood. As he puts it, “I had made demands of my wife. I had expected her to make me happy.” His marriage began to change when he asked his wife these questions:
How can I help you?
How can I make your life easier?
How can I be a better husband to you?
Their marriage changed when he let her teach him how he could serve her. It did not happen overnight, because the pain had been there too long, but change did occur.
Today, consider asking your spouse one of these questions. Then, do it with a loving heart.
Let’s talk: How has a servant’s heart made a difference in your marriage? Please leave a comment below.
Do not underestimate the power of prayer in your marriage. It is by prayer that we enlist the influence of God in our lives. We ask him to do what we cannot do. When a couple prays, it has several effects.
It helps you with your perspective on problems, and clears your vision so you can see what God wants in the foggy, murky moments of your lives. Your heart is quieted. You cannot worry and pray at the same time. The Bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Through sincere prayer, you can gain God’s perspective on an issue, which often helps you discover the solution to your dilemma.
Prayer helps you reorder your priorities. It activates your faith in God, puts him and his plan first in your lives, and forces you to leave the situation with him. Through prayer, you can also find that what you highly value may be a deterrent to God’s blessings in your home.
Prayer gives you a sense of purpose. Through contact with God, you discover how he wants to use your marriage for his glory.
Your prayers reduce your daily cares and keep you in a place where God can use you most effectively.
Let’s talk: How has prayer helped you and your spouse build a stronger marriage relationship? Please leave a comment below.
Do you find it hard to get excited about telling your spouse about your day? Listen to what John Maxwell did that changed his conversations with his wife at the end of the day:
Years ago, when something exciting happened during the day, I’d share it with colleagues and friends. By the time I got home, I had little enthusiasm for sharing it with Margaret. I purposely began keeping things to myself until I could share them with her first. That way she never got the leftovers.
You might be eating leftovers, but you can make the conversation fresh and encouraging.
Let’s talk: What do you do to keep your communication interesting? Please leave a comment below.
Confronted with the opportunity to purchase a truck, I sat down to see if we could afford it. I wanted it, and I wanted it badly. Cindy did not agree. She is our bookkeeper and has her finger on the pulse of our family finances. Our current vehicles were fine, but I wanted a truck.
“Why do you want a truck,” she asked.
“So I can haul stuff,” I declared.
After reviewing our income and current obligations numerous times, it was wretchedly apparent that I would be risking our financial strength to buy the truck.
Jesus warns us, “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if there is enough money to pay the bills?” (Luke 14:28, NLT).
Had I not taken the time to review our current situation, my wanting a truck would have brought undue stress upon our marriage.
The Bible reminds us, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity” (Proverbs 21:5). The opposite of good planning is impulse buying, which is when we buy too quickly. The natural-born shoppers among us should resist it. I heard of a woman who kept her credit cards in a solid block of ice in her freezer. In order to buy something for which she had no cash, she had to thaw out the cards. By the time that happened, she no longer wanted or needed what she was about to buy. It may seem like a ridiculous plan, but it’s worth doing it if it will rescue your family’s financial security.
Good planning also includes an agreement on the amount of money that can be spent without first checking with each other. The specific amount will depend on the budget category and your particular circumstances.
Budgeting can be difficult, but I want to encourage you to devise a plan for success. It’s a great feeling telling your money where you want it to go, rather than wondering where it went..
Let’s talk: How has your marriage been strengthened or challenged by dealing with money issues? Please leave a comment below.
It frees you for a restored relationship with your spouse, because you choose not to hold it against her or to get even with him. Depending on the magnitude of the offense, you may not be able to eradicate it from your memory, but you can choose not to dwell on it. Focusing on grace and forgiveness keeps bitterness, revenge, and anger from destroying your marriage. It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
As we give to one another the acceptance and forgiveness that God has given to us, he brings that same redemption into our marriages. In bearing with one another and covering each other’s sin with grace, God touches our lives together with healing.
Let’s talk: Why do you think so many people struggle to forgive their spouses? How has your marriage been strengthened by “forgiving love?” Please leave a comment below.
A great lover in a great marriage is a disciplined lover. Discipline may seem to be an odd character trait for a lover, and the opposite of playful, spontaneous, or creative. However, a lack of opportunity and priority sabotages the spontaneity of many married couples. Here are several ways in which you can be disciplined in your love life:
Make sexual intimacy a priority. – This starts with a positive attitude about sex, and the determination to prevent the “stuff of life” from crowding in on this vital area of married life. Give your best time and energy to this important part of your marriage.
Plan for sexual activity with your spouse. – You may even have to put in on your calendars! You can then allow for spontaneity in the atmosphere, place, timing, and technique.
Take care of your body and mind. – Good physical, mental, and emotional health empower your lovemaking.
Say “yes” more frequently. – Saying “no” can become a habit that prolongs sexual dissatisfaction. So, even when you are tired or you just don’t feel like it, go ahead and take the plunge. Many have reported they were glad they did.
Structure your life in such a way that you can be rested, rather than tired. – Take a nap in the afternoon or go to bed earlier at night. Maybe you need to reclaim some time on your calendar because you are over-committed.
Plan uninterrupted times together where you are free from the stress and distractions of family and work. – Couples who have children at home will greatly benefit from such times. Arrange for grandparents or friends to take care of your children, while you have a special overnight at a nearby hotel (or at your empty house).
Be creative in your love life. – Initiate lovemaking at unexpected times and in unexpected places. Try new positions and techniques. You might even try being the “initiator” if your spouse usually gets things started.
Read a book together about how to have a healthy sexual relationship.
Take more time to enjoy the lovemaking. – It doesn’t have to be a race against the clock. For many people, that means going to bed earlier.
Ask God to bless your love life. – He is very interested in helping you create a life of passion, joy, and satisfaction. Because of your inherent differences, you need God’s grace to create a fulfilling intimate relationship.
Let’s talk: What would you add to this list? Please leave a comment below.
Work, children, school, church, sports, and countless other worthy activities compete for our time and attention. Exhaustion and fatigue are the major contributors to a low-sex marriage. Our fast track schedules leave little time and energy to give, share, or receive.
If your marriage is important to you, it’s important to make time for physical intimacy. The investment of time and energy in your love life will yield high dividends. You will feel closer, more relaxed, more connected, and more married. It’s a way to express your love for each other. The things that you do to irritate each other will seem less annoying. It makes your spouse happy, which makes you happy. It makes you special to each other because it is something you do only with each other.
A mutually satisfying love life is a significant tool in building your great marriage. So, fuel the fires of your marital intimacy. Say no to some good things and yes to a great love life with your spouse.
Let’s talk: What activities or actions help you to connect emotionally and physically with your spouse? Please leave a comment below.