Chafing my spouse

Dave and Anne walking

I hate chafing. I can’t say I deal with that often.  But you know as well as I do, it’s frustrating.  And if you are in a position where it occurs and you can’t deal with it right then and there…it’s complete misery.

Chafing refers to the irritation of skin caused by repetitive friction (thanks Wiki).  One ministry  I follow on twitter posted something a few weeks ago that has been percolating in my head.  @mrgwrks tweeted this:

Those 89 characters stirred a thought: what do I do that chafes my spouse.  What are the words/phrases that she hates?  What type of mannerisms set her off?  Are there habits I do that causes undo tension and anger?

I’m not talking about a slight irritation.  Remember the definition. It is irritation caused by repetitive friction.  “Chafing” comes when we repetitively and, sometimes, purposefully, cause friction to our spouses.  I have noticed with couples, sometimes it’s done out of playful endeavors.  “My wife says she hate to be tickled.  But she likes it when I tickle her when she’s in a bad mood. She laughs every time.” Nope.  She still doesn’t like it. She laughs because she’s ticklish.  You’re not getting it. You’re the only one getting enjoyment and she’s the one getting chaffed.

Other times it for vengeful purposes.  We’ll use “irritant” behavior to get back with our spouses.  It’s our way of settling the score.  We justify it because it feels so good to get the last word.

Either way, it becomes a selfish act.  It’s our pride that refuses to change and/or notice the things that “chafe” our spouses.  I’ve got an easy remedy for ya.  It comes from an old video of one of my favorite comedians of all time: Bob Newhart.

The remedy to “spousal irritation” is simple: Just stop it!!!

Stop making excuses for the behavior.  Stop saying it’s the way you’ve always been. Stop saying “this is the way my parents acted.” Just stop.  You are not your parents.  Your wife wasn’t raised like you.  There are enough irritants out in the world.  You shouldn’t be the source of it.

Here’s some help with some chaffing:

1. Admit the irritant. You know the phrase, mannerism, tone, etc that sets your spouse off.  You probably don’t have to ask what it is. Just call it what it is.

2. Apologize. Seek forgiveness.  Ephesians 4:32. Sincere apologies become the plow into the soil of your marriage.  It preps you for growth.  Without it, hearts remain hardened and calloused.

3. Pursue change.  Galatians 5:7. Get rid of what’s preventing you from a healthy relationship with your spouse. Irritated areas usually need a change of atmosphere.  We’ll call this the “baby powder” of the process.  Find out what is affecting/influencing you.  According to ehow.com’s “how to soothe chafing skin”, their first step is to rid yourself of clothing.  The idea is to remove anything that is keeping moisture on your body.  You need that type of mindset when you are taking personal inventory over your life. You have to look at yourself completely.  Nothing hidden.

4. Wash thoroughly. Ephesians 5:26 talks about the “washing of the Word.” Get the Word of God into your life to challenge past and present thinking and behavior.  Let it awaken your thoughts and shape every action.

5. Stay dry. In other words, take preventive measure to not allow space for the “irritant to come back.  Proverbs 4:23.  Guard yourself. Let your spouse guard you. Foster that type of humility, and you can prevent chaffing in your marriage.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

“Stop being thankful for your spouse…”

Have you ever walked by a conversation and heard something you didn’t like.  It made you so furious that you reacting to it only to find out you only heard half the conversation.

This is where my title comes from.  Just passing by it, already eyebrows are raise and thoughts are flowing as to why doesn’t Dave want people to be thankful for their spouse.

Let’s complete the sentence.

“Stop being thankful for your spouse ONLY on special days.”

In other words, stop letting Thanksgiving, Valentines Day, Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. be the ONLY days your spouse hears your words of thankfulness.  Stop treating them with special charity only when the occasion demands it.

Sad to say, some couples have learned to appreciate these moments more than most. Why?  Because he/she has been starving for that type of attention for weeks to months.  And when the holiday comes, there is the sweet relief of cards, candy, gifts, and words of affirmation.  It must be exhilarating to be in the moment. To have the rush of words and tones that edify your inward being.  Each word satisfying inner longings like a cold drink to a man crawling across a desert. But outside of the holidays, that same spouse is  suffering from an inward deprivement of affirmation.

If affirmation is last in your love languages, let me translate it for you.  Say physical touch is your strongest love language. Imagine the only time your spouse will touch you is 3-4 times a year.

Selah.

That is how our spouse feels…especially when affirmation is their strongest love language.  They feel untouched, unwanted, unappreciated, and unnoticed through 97% of the year.  They are left feeling empty.  Even deeper, we are opening up the door for someone else to fill the need (please see “Are you looking for volunteers to date your spouse?” for more).

Today, I give you a simple remedy. It’s a remedy to start tomorrow when Thanksgiving is over and the holiday doesn’t force your words and/or actions.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you…” Philippians 1:3

3 Words to look at in the original language:
thank – to be grateful, feel thankful, give thanks
all – each, every, all things
remembrance – remembrance, memory, mention

This verse points toward being grateful in every moment, mention, and memory. I’ll give ya a TRUTH: Healthy marriages  foster an atmosphere of gratitude throughout the year.  They don’t reserve gratefulness for just a holiday. I can’t say that I excel in this.  I’ll admit I drop the ball and miss moments.  But in our marriages, need to flood our spouses with words and actions that convey the message that no one will appreciate them more than us.  I find myself laughing as an old song floods my mind.  The song “Ain’t gonna let no rock out praise me” was sung in youth group back in the day, as we determined no rock was going to out-praise me (Luke 19:40). Imagine the transformation in our spouses if we approached them with the same resolve.

Ain’t gonna let anyone appreciate my spouse more than me…and I chose to do it in every:

Moment – Defined as: the present time or any other particular time. Don’t wait for another day to come.  There’s no better time like the now.  Give them “thanksgiving moments” everyday.
Mention – Defined as: a direct or incidental reference. At anything that references your spouse, shoot them a text, email them, call them, etc. and let them know you were thinking of them. You may be at work or on a run, if a “mention” (something that stirs a reference) comes your way, chose to step out and contact them.  In fact, take the moment to pray for your spouse.  Thank the Lord for them and speak blessing over their life.
Memory – Defined as: a mental impression retained; a recollection.  Some memories are more painful than others.  We have a choice. We can become victims of our past or we can choose to be thankful for the Lord bringing us through.  Remember great marriage moments and take it to another level by purposing to create new, joyful, and healthy marriage memories.

Thanksgiving is a choice. Thanksgiving is a journey.  Choose to be thankful every day.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

The lingerie of life.

Lingerie is meant for one thing: attraction…

…and the attraction it was designed for is meant to lead to intimacy.

Anne will say, it doesn’t take much to attract me to her.  It could be the “typical man” type of mindset, but I began to ask myself the other side of that: what repels me?  What turns me off? What spoils the beauty of an individual?

What I feel the Lord dropped in my heart was so simple.

Your words.

I looked at Anne this morning said, “I’ve got it.  Words are ‘the lingerie of life.'” She looked a bit confused and slightly concerned over my mental state. I went on to explain, when our words are poured out to our spouses, it can make us to most appealing, attractive individual.  It becomes a “turn on” to our spouse.  I’m not saying there’s immediate sexual desire that stirs. But there is an emotional intimacy that connects to our spouse’s heart that draws them to you.

Since the blog, “Seducing your spouse with the five senses,” I have pondered breaking each of the senses down periodically over the next year.  (I’ve also ponder writing a book with the same name.) I have been thinking about attacking the issue of our words.  While mulling this blog over, it was just a few days ago when a friend, that is passionate about marriage, sent out the tweet:

“Make love with your words outside the bedroom. That really helps during love-making in the bedroom.”

It was confirmation of what I wanted to deal with today.  We need to have marriages that will foster love and intimacy with their words. They need to see their communication (verbal and nonverbal) are more intertwined with the bedroom than they thought.

Have you ever met someone who became the most unattractive and unappealing person by their words.  I recall my single life  when I would see a young lady that, outwardly, was attractive to me only to be turned off by what came out of her mouth.   To put the shoe on the other foot, I wonder how many times I repelled a young lady away by some of the words/phrases I used.  Our words are more powerful than what we give them credit for.

It becomes a confusing state.  In our minds, the other person is  surface attractive…BUT something about their words (tones, mannerisms, phrases, character issues) is transforming them before our eyes into something that repels us away.   It is truly unfolding what the scripture says in Matthew 12:34, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Our words bring to fruition what lie beneath our surface.

I heard, years ago, that sex begins in the kitchen (actually, it’s a best-selling book). I’m not talking about locations for you and your spouse to make love.  I’m talking about how intimacy begins from the moment you wake up.  Why the kitchen? That’s where people are, on the most part, fully awake having breakfast. I’ll admit,  Anne and I don’t talk much in the morning till we are fully awake.  It’s like a scene from “The Walking Dead” where two zombies are wandering till showers and caffeine kick in.  But when we do begin to talk…that’s where our intimacy begins.   Again, couples, especially men, have to get out of their minds that intimacy is when the lights turn off and you are under the covers.

There is so much dysfunction in marriages when it comes to attraction. On one hand, you’ve got on spouse who can be turned on at a moment’s notice regardless of the day or time.  On the other hand, the other is in no mood because the “abundance of the heart” of their spouse has been on display all day and has made that him the most unappealing individual.  Once we close the door, we assume it’s time for intimacy. Most don’t realize, if that’s when you’re ready to foster intimacy, you are a number of hours too late.

I believe that you and I can foster and atmosphere of intimacy and attractiveness in our marriage by having naked conversations. Before you freak out and I now become your husband’s favorite pastor by encouraging nudity, I’ll explain what I mean. Genesis 2:25 says Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.” There, consistently, was nothing hidden in their marriage. Everything about them was open to see. Put your defenses down and have  consistent, open, and honest communication.  By raising up conversational walls/barriers between you and your spouse, you will cover the openness/nakedness that your marriage was meant to have. I’ll give you a TRUTH: Without talking, your marriage will not survive.  The more you openly communicate, the closer you will be. Here’s some helpful tips:

1.    Timing is everything.   When you reconnect with your spouse at the end of a workday, don’t launch into your frustrating day immediately.  Intimacy is just like good comedy…it’s all about timing.  Let the moments create conversational opportunities and flow.

2. Do some spouse reconnoissance?. Reconnaissance is a mission to obtain information by visual observation or other detection methods. Find out what humor’s your spouse and look for ways to insert humor into your conversations.   What do they like to talk about?  What do they see as fun?  Don’t have your conversations be “all business” (kids, finances, mother-in-law, etc). When Anne knows there’s a significant game on tv, she’ll ask about it even though she doesn’t  care about sports. She cares because I care.  It means the world to me.

2. Provide emotional support, validation, and compliments. If you don’t feel that you spouse likes and respects you, there will not be a strong connection. You have to lift each other up and let each other know the depth of your caring.  He/she needs to know you care.  How do emotional affairs start?  When someone at home ceases to care and opens up the job to someone else to care.  Don’t be that husband/wife who does that!!!  No one will should out-compliment me when it comes to Anne.  No one should beat me as her biggest supporter.

3. Don’t be afraid to get “dirty”…but be careful. Being great roommates just won’t cut it. There has to be the desire to be together as a couple. Sensuality is a great part of a healthy marriage.  I use the word “dirty” but there’s nothing wrong/dirty about it. The desire you have for sensuality is God-given.  He designed you that way. But remember: there’s a time and place.  At the dinner table in front of the kids? Unless you want them to go into counseling…please save it for a more appropriate time.  You may think the spark has gone, but there are too many ways conversationally to rekindle it. Send messages (please be careful) to your spouse.  It’ll make them come home earlier than expected.  Make your spouse feel like the most attractive person alive.  Let him/her know you still desire them.  All you have to do is try.

4. Be humble…always. Express Compassion, repentance, acceptance, and forgiveness. Humility will show you the way through difficult seasons. Humility is sexy.  As your marriage grows, there will be losses, challenges, and some things that you just can’t fix in your own power. Dealing with the storms together is a big part of what relationships are all about. We all mess up. Learning to understand and let go of mistakes that you or your spouse make will turn your life around and foster more time for joy.

5. Pray together.  It doesn’t have to be a prayer that recaps the entire Pentateuch.  Keep it simple. Create moments when there is conversational intimacy that involves you, your spouse, and the Lord. He established the institution of marriage.  It’s only right to keep him in our conversational intimacy.   Spiritual intimacy becomes the fuel for deeper emotional and physical intimacy.  It reconnects you to the One you were designed to be in fellowship with and opens up depths to the rest of our oneness with our spouse.

Keep growing your intimacy.  Keep up the pursuit of your spouse.  Don’t forget the lingerie (referring to this article).

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Are you looking for volunteers to date your spouse?

I’m discovering something.  My blogs that have the most “activity” all have one thing in common: they deal with marriage.

That may for one of two reasons (perhaps both of them). First, I blog about it frequently because I’m passionate about marriage ministry.  When Christ comes into the marriage, everything about the home changes.  He established marriage.  He blesses it.  Why wouldn’t we invite him to be a part of it (John 2:2). Second, it’s being read because it’s hitting a need.  In a world where martial security seems to be extinct, people are hungry to find what makes the wedding day stick through the better and the worse, the richer or the poorer, and the sickness and the health. I’m gonna keep blogging and, perhaps, give you some tools to help create a marriage that sticks.

I’m a collector of quotes…especially on marriage.  There’s one I came across on July 30th of this year.  A pastor had tweeted a quote from Mark Driscoll.

“Men, if you don’t date your wife someone else may eventually volunteer for the job.” – Mark Driscoll

Dating is a big part of the courting process.  We put our best foot forward. We plan out where to go.  Our date waits with excitement and anticipation over what the date may hold. Why does it stop after “I do?”  Over the years , why have I heard in counseling the same quote, “where is the one I married?” “Where is the one that “won’ my heart?

This is a concept I have been teaching in premarital/marital counseling for years. Maybe I can reword it and take it a step further:

“Refusal to meet the needs of your spouse empowers others to volunteer for the job.”

I won’t give a free pass to anyone to have an excuse to engage in an affair. But, as a spouse, I won’t give my wife an excuse to go looking for someone else to fill a need.   Even a step further, if I am not meeting a need, I am, by my negligence, opening up an opportunity for someone to fill it.

Selah. (translated: think on this)

This is what challenged me to ramble on a few thoughts about NOT meeting the needs of our spouses.

Unattended needs (different from unattended wants) speak of: 

1 – Living selfishly.  Ephesians 5. Anne is to walk in respect of her husband. I am to love her as Christ loved the church. Marriage isn’t a 50/50 proposition. It means if I give enough to match what she gives…we’ll be okay.  Marriage is 100/100 proposition. I completely give all as she completely give all.

2 – Not actively listening. Proverbs 13:10. I’m either refusing to speak her love language or I refused to be trained to listen for it. I’m so preoccupied with my own desires and my way of communicating them that they trump hers.

3 – No assertiveness. Proverbs 10:31 says “A good person’s mouth is a clear fountain of wisdom…”You can’t blame a spouse for not knowing a need if you don’t communicate it clearly and effectively.

4 – Deferring responsibility. Proverbs 8:33. “Listen…be wise…don’t neglect.” By neglecting a spiritual, emotion, physical, and/or mental need, I am affording the opportunity to the next person who comes along.  I acquaint it to when our children were infants.  As infants do, they wake up crying because of diapers and hunger.  I would pretend to sleep so that Anne would have to get up to get the baby. Many times, our negligence, is another way of saying, “someone else get up and do it because I don’t want to” or “I don’t want to make the effort to do it.”

5 – Taking your spouse for granted. Proverbs 5:17. “That’s what young people do…we’re in a different season.” “He/she doesn’t like that anymore.”  “That’s just not real life.”  You’re spouse wants to be pursued.  Whether you realize it or not, but the enemy is pursuing them every day.  I’ll give you “TWIN TRUTHS”:

TRUTH #1: Your spouse isn’t the same person you married.
TRUTH #2: Neither are you.

You age. You transform. Every season of life presents new challenges. These challenges can be our excuses to not be Godly husbands/wives.  OR…these challenges can be what excites us into passionately pursuing our spouse.

IT IS NOT TOO LATE FOR YOUR MARRIAGE. Don’t give me the excuse, “this is just the way I am.” Let you’re spouse see you fighting for time with them.  Let you spouse see how much of a priority they are to you. Put away your own desires and go “all in” into theirs.

Make dating a priority.  Here’s some ideas Anne and I do:

  • Cook favorite meals.
  • Get a baby sitter (insert shameless plug for Cammi’s baby sitting service) and get out of the house.
  • Go to a movie we both would enjoy.
  • Go to a musical/theater (well…I would want that more than Anne)
  • We go for a walk (healthy bodies and healthy conversations)
  • Change things up and go out with another couple to create more conversation. Anne and I like double dates…just not all the time.
  • Surprise your spouse.  If he/she doesn’t like surprises, let  them know what you are planning.

The point is: DO SOMETHING!!!  At this point, they don’t care if you burnt the meal or you played Kenny G and it ruined the mood…they just want to know you cared.

I pray for marital health and strength upon you.  I hope that today challenges you, especially husbands, to stop neglecting your spouse, in essence, look for volunteers to do what you are supposed to do.  It’s your responsibility…and in my opinion it’s a fun responsibility.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Are you staring at rear ends?

He stared at rear ends every day.

The same ones.

Day after day…

…till the moment when his eye got a new focus.

1 Kings 19:19 “Elijah went straight out and found Elisha son of Shaphat in a field where there were twelve pairs of yoked oxen at work plowing; Elisha was in charge of the twelfth pair.”

This was the life of Elisha. Plowing every day.  Staring at the same plow.  Looking at the rear ends of the same oxen. It was the same thing every morning after his stop at Starbucks (probably a well in those days with no caffeine added). Day after day after day….

It almost sounds maddening. For some of you, it sounds safe.

I’ve got one word for that: mundane. You might call it boring.  Some might call it routine.  Don’t get me wrong; routine can be a good thing. It’s nice to know what to expect.  There’s no stress.  There’s little to no planning.  But my view when it comes to our spiritual life, mundane is not just dull, it makes us dull.  Not the “dull” as in a personality that doesn’t mess with ours.  I ‘m talking about losing the “sharpness” and “joy” out of life that puts us in the place, like Elisha, where we return day after day doing the same thing, living the same life, never challenging ourselves, and never growing.  We get to that “safe” spot in our walk with God and we stop the discipleship process.  We stop the passionate pursuit of Christ.  We now grumble about serving others when we used to get excited about the opportunity.

It was a number of months ago I received a great book written by a pastor I really look up to. Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church, had just finished writing the book “Greater” and I began to thumb through a copy.  It was this topic of monotony where Steven began to describe Elisha’s life.

“Regardless of who you are and what you do, succumbing to mediocrity will sabotage your spiritual vitality. You may not notice it at first, or even for years.  But sooner or later, complacent Christian living hits the point of diminishing returns. Your life isn’t tiding you over as effectively as it used to. You’re frustrated  and irritable. You’re feeling tempted in ways you can’t share with your men’s group. And you see only one solution: get back behind the plow. Mindless plowing is not your future.”

It was as if something burst inside of me.  Something  about this sparked a fire in my spirit and I had to share. I took it to our board meeting and shared a few pages.  I challenged our board not to live out monotonous spiritually.  I felt they heard and received it well.  Then I went back to my normal schedule.  Reminds me of hearing “We Now Return You To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming.”

Nothing changed in me. That “spark” from a few paragraphs in a book were not meant for a board.  They were meant for me.  I was coming out of, perhaps, one of my busiest summers ever. I’m passionate about ministry. I love doing ministry.  But I felt as if the Lord was questioning me. It wasn’t my motives our my heart being questioned.  It was that the busyness of life was my routine.  Quite frankly I was irritable. I was annoying.  Time with my family was diminishing. My joy was depleting.  The schedule was safe.  All I had to do was plug-in and go.

But that isn’t what the Lord intended.

I needed something new.  It’s not a new job. It’s not a new wife. It’s not a new location. I needed that joy back…that enthusiasm back.  (in my head I hear Al Capone say “enthusiasms” in The Untouchables)

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great is ever accomplished in life without enthusiasm.” You have to have a passion to see something great happen. That’s why you need to nurture your enthusiasm if you want to get out of the “starting at rears” syndrome that Elisha was in.  Speaking from personal experience, especially this summer, it takes more than positive thinking or pep talks from Tony Robbins. It takes Christ in your life.

The word enthusiasm comes from a couple of Greek words. The word “en” which means “in” and the word “theos” which is Greek for “God.” To be enthusiastic means to be “in God.” When you get in God, you have enthusiasm deep in your heart.

For our upcoming series at KFirst, I’ve been diving into Romans 12.  In this portion of Romans, Paul tells us how to be enthusiastic in Romans 12:11-12, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

“Rejoice in hope” – even when things don’t go the way you thought…hang on to your hope in Christ and it will give you joy.

“Patient in tribulation” – Remain patient because you know Christ will use whatever you’re going through for good. (Gen. 50:20)

“Be constant in prayer” – When tough times come, you have a choice: you can either pray continually or you can panic. You can either be on your knees giving it to God, or you can give up.

For Elisha, something new sparked new vision and purpose.  He went back to the oxen and plow and broke apart everything that was leading to the mundane (1 Kings 19:21). Now, I can’t say that I came back to my office and broke everything.  But these past few weeks I have been on a mission.  I am determined to “break apart” patterns of my life that are leading to the mundane.  Nothing is sacred.  Everything is eligible for change.  The way I approach the office.  My devotional schedule. My time with my family.  My dates with my wife. How much I counsel. My sermon prep.  EVERYTHING!!! I’m not scrapping it.  I’m asking the Lord to re-order my life and my priorities.  I’m “breaking up the plow” and asking for new vision for my days, weeks, years, etc.  Don’t get me wrong.  All of those things are a part of me that I love.  I just refuse to do it with a mundane, dull, routine spirit.

What won’t change.  I will continue rejoice in hope…I will continue to be patient with affliction…I will be constantly in prayer.  This is how my “in God,” my “enthusiasm” will come back.  And, quite frankly, it has come back with a vengeance.

Are you sick of the Elisha syndrome? Are ya sick of “staring at rears”?  Let go of the plow and pick up Romans 12.  Let the Lord be your enthusiasm.  Let Him bring back joy into your life.  Don’t be content with being mundane.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Seducing your spouse with five senses

You’re thinking about that word “seduce” aren’t ya.  It’s one of those words you hear a preacher say in church that causes you to look at the person next to ya and ask, “can he use that word in church?”  I think people carry a list in the back of their head or bible of things you shouldn’t say unless in an Old Testament KJV context.

se·duce[si-doos, -dyoos]
– 
to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; corrupt
– to persuade or induce to have sexual intercourse
– to win over; attract; entice

I have EVERY intention on having this blog accomplish all three.

  1. I want to lead people astray from the mindset that marriage is or has to be boring or hopeless. I want to corrupt that “corrupt” mindset.  It’s time to bring joy and anticipation to our marriages. (Song of Solomon 2:10)
  2. I want to encourage sex in marriage.  I encourage sex in my marriage.  More importantly, God created it, blesses it, and encourages it. (Prov. 15:18)
  3. My main point today: I want to set you on a journey of “enticing” your spouse. I want to challenge spouses to strive to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally attractive.  It is NOT wrong or dirty.  (Song of Solomon 2:8-9)

When pondering this blog, I considered writing and dealing with sex.  If you’ve been at KFirst long enough, you know that I’m not afraid to deal with it.  I believe it has been largely ignored.  In fact, if it has been brought up, it’s been dealt with in such an absurd way that couples are not empowered to enjoy it to the degree I feel the Lord has designed it.  BUT…that blog is for another day.

Attraction goes beyond the physical.  It’s far deeper than that.  It’s an understanding that so many couples struggle with.  Their issues of attraction are so surface that any changes in body, season of life, or circumstances will catapult them toward scrapping the marriage and starting over.  I am not here to harp onto anyone who has gone through, is going through, and/or has been hurt by divorce. I’m hoping to foster an atmosphere of intimacy within the life of a couple and, perhaps, start the healing process in others.

A TRUTH that I have shared for years with both youth groups as well as adults is simply: Holiness is sexy. In other words, showing the attributes of Christ in your life makes you irresistible.  My disclaimer on the word “irresistible”: being more Christ-like will increase intimacy but doesn’t guarantee more sex (sorry guys).  But I promise, Godliness won’t lessen it.  Being Christ-like in your marriage becomes a seduction  (a draw, an attraction, a persuasion, an enticement) toward what should be the foundation of a healthy marriage.  It creates perspective and appeal that cannot be found in anything else.  I though a great way to give marriage perspective and develop appeal is through the five senses.  So bear with me while I ramble…

Taste

Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste sweeter than honey to my mouth!” It reminds me of a custom of Jewish teachers covering the writing slate of young students with honey.  Before they could write words of Torah upon them, they were to lick off all of the honey to remind them of this scripture.  Every taste of honey from that point must have reminded them of the sweetness of the Word of the Lord.  The way to your spouses heart is not through their stomach per say, but the flavor you place upon your marriage.  Some of us, with our attitudes, or selfish demands place such a bitter flavor upon our marriage that, instead of enticing our spouse, drives them away.  Or worse, the sweetness of your marriage shows up in words but not in deeds.  It’s like tasting an apple to find out it was rotten inside.  Don’t be all show and no substance. Take moments to speak and/or pray the Word over your marriage.  Read scripture with your spouse.  Cover your lives with the Psalms 119 “honey” and watch the flavor/taste of your marriage sweeten.

Smell

One simple rules when approaching your spouses sense of smell: Bathe.  After a long workout, my wife does not want to be close to me till I shower.  It’s it the dripping sweat…yep.  But more than that, is the smell.  I don’t smell like a workout unless I have been working out.  You don’t carry an aroma of Christ unless you have been in His presence.  To our spouse, we should carry the aroma of our savior into our homes.  That aroma should be caught in all of our marital circumstances…yes even our conflicts.  What “scent” do you carry with you? Does it repulse you spouse?  Does it attract/draw/seduce you spouse? Proverbs 30:12 “There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth.” Is the atmosphere of your home improve because you are home? Do you leave a sweet atmosphere when you leave the room?  They’re tough questions but need to be asked.

Touch

This seems like an easy one for me.  This is my love language.  But this was by biggest struggle early in our marriage.  I only thought about “touch” on one level. The more I counsel couples I realize that this is the most abused sense.  One spouse will touch for one reason: sex.  They haven’t learned the art of non-sexual touch.  Now they have condition their marriage that touching only occurs in sexual circumstances.

It’s a shame.

We need more touching in our marriages.  Touching that goes beyond foreplay but conveys a meaning connection point that reaches to the very soul of our spouse.  What touches the heart, mind, and emotions of your spouse? Is it art? Is it food? Is it music? Is it your body? Is it flowers? Is it time with you?

Song of Solomon 1:1-2, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love [is] better than wine.” The first ‘Kiss’ in these scriptures speak of  “nashaq” , which means to put together, gently touch. It comes from the idea of ‘putting things in order.’ The second ‘Kisses’ in the scriptures (from this context) speaks of a continual work of the heart being ‘put together in order, through gentle touches.’

What ever the “touch point” is, master the art of touching your spouse.  Find out their love language and become of student of that language.  Learn that “touch” goes beyond holding a hand but reaching into the deepest part of their heart and lets them know you are still pursuing them passionately.

Vision

Men are visual.  So are women…but in very different ways than their male counterparts.  Proverbs 27:19 says, “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.” The heart is reflected, visually, in your life.  September 30th we preaching “from the abundance of the heart a man speaks.” The heart is not hidden.  It is reflected in our lives. You don’t have a choice in the matter.  If you have filthiness inside, like water reflects the face, you’ll give a visual representation of what is lingering on the inside.  Do you hold onto issues your spouse assumed you forgave (because you said you forgave them)? Do you bottle up bitterness? Do you hold in issues because you don’t want to burden your spouse?  Conflict, if handled correctly, doesn’t drive a spouse away.  Releasing your heart won’t deter  them.  You’ll seduce/attract/win them over.

Hearing

This is the easiest sense to use to tap into. Two things I’ll say to this:

1. Learn and use these four line in a meaningful way:
I love you.
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
I forgive you.

2. Talk. Talk about your day, talk about your thoughts, talk about your worries, talk about what you are learning, anything! Just start talking. When you have run out of things to talk about then just start telling your spouse all the reasons that you are glad you are married and why you would choose him/her all over again! Proverbs 16:24 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

These are some suggestions to read over and ponder, but I think you will find that they can be quite effective. I’m hoping, first, that I’ve helped corrupt a “corrupt” mindset that was hopeless.  Second, if touching the senses of your spouse leads to the bedroom (or any room for that matter)…you’re welcome. And lastly, I hope this does set you on a life-long journey of pursuing your spouses senses.

Do you have other way’s of tapping into your spouse’s 5 senses? Guys, what do you think? Women, what would you recommend?

Thanks for letting me ramble…

“Are you talking nautical to me?”

Is anyone else a fan of Sig Hanson?  Any Discovery Channel geeks out there?

If you’ve never partaken in this amazing show, “Deadliest Catch” is a documentary series chronicling the real-life high-sea adventures of the Alaskan crab fishermen. It is professed to be the most deadly profession in the world (and for good reason). Sig Hanson is by far my favorite captain to watch on the show.  He commands the Northwestern as one of the more successful crab fisherman.  I’ll admit, his crew is one of the more entertaining crews to watch.

Watching the show pulls me into their world of fishing the Bering Sea. Anne has heard me more than once proudly proclaim that could do that job.   I see myself working for 36 hours straight pulling crab pots.  The reality, for the first few days, I’d be clutching the railing throwing up from sea sickness. One episode in particular, stands out to me. A  “greenhorn” or the newest crewman on a fishing vessel, has a freak-out moment and is ready to jump ship.  The deep, the waves, the intensity of the moment has caused this man to call it quits. He is so consumed with fear that has forgone rational thought.  The boat is forced to abandon its journey to take this greenhorn back to shore.  His final scene is him shamefully leaving the boat and walking down the dock in his Lions jersey (kinda indicative of most Lions seasons).  We all watch and think we’d handle it much better.  How scary can it be?

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” 2 Peter 1:19

The words “To pay attention” is a very cool Greek word (prosecho). It literally means, “to have direction toward something”. It was a nautical term used to describe steering a ship on course. In the days when all ships were sailing ships, “prosecho was a very important concept. In the open water, there are no street signs.  There are no exits to pull off to get directions.  If you didn’t know how to set a course, you could easily get lost at sea.

Who is writing this? Simon Peter

What was his “trade” before following Christ? Fisherman. (Maybe he’s the Sig Hanson of Biblical times)

Just like KFirst isn’t surprised when I use a football metaphor, we shouldn’t be alarmed that Peter is reaching back to his roots to help us understand what the Lord is speaking.  He is telling us the something about steering our course in life: Pay attention to the wind and the heavens if you want to stay on course.

God has equipped us with a word from heaven and the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to guide us. But we have to pay attention. I’ll give you a TRUTH to ponder: Reaching your destination won’t happen if you let the currents take you wherever they happen to go.

Before the age of nautical technology, sailing far beyond the site of the shore was a not easy.  It was a scary thing. At one time, there were people who believed the world was flat and if you sailed too far you’d fall off the edge of the earth. Unless you had the proper training and/or you had a compass, without the shore to guide you, it was pretty hard to know which way to go. This is the reason why many trips were done at night. The stars were the guides. Lamps and city lights shining from the shore were easier to see.

This writer…this fishermen knew how important it was to have an illuminated marker when he found himself out on dark waters.  Dark waters have so much potential of driving fear and anxiety because three things:

  1. Their depth.  (they’re dark for a reason)
  2. Their reputation.  Beneath the surface lies dangerous creatures as well as the wreckage of former vessels who did not make it.
  3. No shelter.  Out in the deep. You cannot hide. You have to face whatever comes your way

If there is anyone understood what it was like to go through “deep waters” or dark fearful times, Peter is a prime example. Matthew 8:23-17 is the story of the disciples and Jesus sailing.  Most of us have read the story.  We remember the ending.  What we, many times forget: some of the men freaking out are experienced fishermen. Their reaction speaks of the severity of the storm. It shows the urgency of the moment.  They needed Jesus to stand up in the storm speak to the darkness. More than storms on the sea, Peter knew what it was like to go through dark times. Whether it was his denial of Christ or winding up in jail, he was experienced in going through moments where he needed help.  He needed direction. Simon Peter needed something to guide him.

And now this fisherman tells us that our lives in Christ need the same sort of markers that a ship’s captain would need. Peter knew the sea. He knew its dangers and its deceptions. But he was confident in spite of the turmoil of life because he paid close attention to the beacon of the Word. In the darkest part of our lives, a little light can be seen from a great distance. Be watchful for the light and it will direct your course.

When we start to feel surrounded by dark waters, there is a lamp shining in the darkness. It is the Word of God, the same word that Psalm 119 describes as “a lamp unto my feet“. NOTE:  the Word won’t make any difference to us unless we pay close attention to it.

I’ll end with this: Admit the depth of your need, celebrate the lavish power of grace, and get up and follow by faith.

Thanks for letting me ramble…