The Marital Kiss of Death

Dave and Anne walking

A marriage thought came off  of a quote I came across.

Oswald Chambers says, “Some of us are like the Dead Sea,always taking in,never giving out,because we’re not rightly related to the Lord Jesus.”

My thought: We have the capability to turn our marriages into the Dead Sea.  How does that happen?

Selfishness.

Bear with me a bit.  With some help from “How Stuff Works,” we’ll benefit from understanding why the Dead Sea is “dead” and “dying.”  I’ve highlighted some things that will guide us away from giving our marriages the “Kiss of Death.”

dead-sea-dead-2

The Dead Sea is different from all other bodies of water on Earth because it’s incredibly salty, with a saline level between 28% and 35%. (By comparison, the world’s saltiest oceans are only 3% to 6%.) The Dead Sea owes its high salt content to several factors. First, it’s completely landlocked, so any fresh or saltwater that flows into it from the Jordan River and other tributaries is trapped — until it evaporates. Evaporation happens quickly because that portion of the world is, to put it mildly, extremely hot. When the water evaporates, the salty minerals are left behind, causing the remaining water to become more and more concentrated with salt.

Any living creature or plant (even seaweed) that dares enter these saline-charged waters dies pretty much instantly. Only simple organisms like microbes can survive the harsh conditions. The Dead Sea is simply too salty for anything else to exist.

Unfortunately for the Dead Sea, it may be on track to disappear by the year 2050. It’s attributed to fact that less water is being brought in via the Jordan River and other tributaries.

James 3:16-17, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

If we look at selfishness in marriage as the salt minerals in the dead sea, we can see that the presence of it will give our marriages the same effect: Death.

Here’s what I take from our little Dead Sea study:

1. Selfishness in marriage in marriage is “incredibly salty. In keeping with our metaphor, salt/selfishness is not refreshing.  Think of it this way: Someone going through dehydration is worse off drinking salt water because of what it does to your vital organs.  Without fresh water, the vitals shut down. You need the “fresh water” of humility and selflessness to bring life into your marriage.  Look at it as humility giving your parched marriage a drink.

2. Marriages built on selfishness are “completely landlocked.” The idea of being landlocked means there’s no room for growth. Selfishness makes sense in the moment. I fight for what I want to get where I want to go.  There’s a problem.  In that statement alone, the word “I” was used three times.  In a marriage, the “two become one.” You can’t afford to be selfish. It will land-lock your marriage and prevent the “oneness” of your marriage from growing any further.

3. Selfishness creates extreme “evaporation.” I’ve heard too many couples say that words, “how did we get here.” Too many years of selfishness have evaporated the life of the marriage and have left it in ruin. Selfishness in your finances, time, and energy will decimate your structure.  Selfishness with your body, emotions, and works will decimate your passion. Bringing your marriage to this point will make them out to be a shell of what they once were.  Ask yourself the question: Is there an area that has become a shell of the past?  Identify it and pour humility and love back into it.

4.  Selfishness in marriage creates in atmosphere that is “simply too ‘salty’ for anything else to exist.” Simply said: this is the feeling of hopelessness. No one wants to try anything new.  No one wants to attempt anything new. Why?  “It’ll go back to the way it was.”  Don’t give up the fight!!!!  Don’t throw in the towel.  Keep fostering love.  Keep fostering selflessness.  If it’s you who is being selfish, you are telling your spouse that any life they bring will cease to exist.

5. Selfish marriages are heading for martial death because  “less water (life) is being brought in.” There are so many marriages that operate separate from Christ.  I think of it like operating my TV separate from the power source.  It looks nice in my home. But without a power source, it’s nothing more than a large paper weight.  You can keep going the way that you are, but without Christ as the source of joy, peace, and strength, you’re asking for marriage with little to no “water being brought in.” Selfish marriages that have freshness are on a difficult path.  I’m not saying that Christ takes care of difficulties in marriage.  I’ve been marriage almost 15 years and still deal with difficulties. But keeping a Christ centered marriage prepares me for the journey as well as supplies me for the path ahead.

Take some moments today.  Ask the Lord to reveal “salty” areas that are stealing life from your marriage.  If you discover areas, it’s time to reconstitute marriage with love, humility, and servanthood.  Don’t let selfishness give your marriage the “kiss of death.”

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Irrelevant Wives

Dave and Anne diagonal

This is a continuation of our post of two weeks ago.  If you missed it, “Ineffective Husbands” debuted with a focus on challenging husbands to be students of their wives. Click onto the link if you missed it.

Today, Anne (my wife for those who don’t know who she is) is joining me blogging today.  We figure, this thing of pursuing your spouse by asking the right questions goes both ways.  Wives need to do this as much as husbands do.

TRUTH: Taking a husband for granted produces an irrelevant wife. In fact, the word “irrelevant” means: not related, not applicable, unimportant, not connected.  Learning to ask the right questions, at the proper time, in the proper manner is an art form.  BUT it an art form that is taken for granted.  As a wife, you assume he can read minds, tones, and “hints.” When assumption sets in, the enemy plays games with your mind and produces a desire not to be close, not to be connected, and to see him/your relationship with him as unimportant.

Irrelevant.

In the Bible,  Job loses his children, his possessions, and his health. Job’s wife turns up after he’s been struck with boils. Seeing her husband calamity, she bursts out, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). We forget something: Job isn’t the only one going through this.  She is as well.  Other than the boils, she has endured the trials. Her response signifies that she and her husband are on two different wave lengths. There is a lack of closeness.  There is a breach in connection. His integrity is unimportant (and apparently his life is as well).

Irrelevant.

Wives, husbands are much simpler than you think.  When he is asked, “how is your day?” The response “fine” has no hidden meaning.  He’s not hiding anything. It was fine. It’s that simple. When you ask things like, “are you hungry?”, “do you want to have sex?”, “do you want to stay home while I go to the  mall?”, he’ll answer with a simple answer. Yes.  There, usually, isn’t a ton of hidden meaning in it.  We say this to prep you for some of their answers. It our hope that husbands will give you more than simple answers but honest answers.

Now that we made men out to be cavemen, here we go. Anne wants to give you  10 questions to ask your husband:

#1 – What’s your idea of a fun evening out on a date with me?
Be prepared for you to NOT hear: “let’s watch The Notebook.” Ladies, as Dave said in his last blog, your idea of a romantic evening may not have anything to do with sex. His may revolve around it.  Let him be creative with a date.  So many times he’ll tailor make it to please you.  Make the date about him even if it’s includes chili  dogs instead of gourmet food.

#2 – Do you feel admired and respected?
Jesus reminds us what was written in Genesis. Mark 10:8, says “and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one” When he isn’t edified and respected by the person he became one with, something is missing. He could be the CEO of a company and hold the respect and admonition of every worker.  But if he doesn’t have yours, he’ll feel incomplete.  Don’t wait for him to “earn” it.  Lavish him with it. Where emotional affairs begin with men is when the role of respect and admonition are being filled by someone else other than you.

#3 – How can I flirt with you? or What’s attractive to you?
Guy’s by nature are hunter and pursuers. I’ll give you a hint about men: they LOVE to be pursued.  They want to be flirted with.  Find out what catches his eye. Is it a slap on the butt? A subtle wink across the room? Is it words of kindness instead of criticism? What catches his eye and conveys to him that he’s at the center of your desire? Just ask. Just like what was written to the men.  What attracts you may not work on him. Also, don’t assume he’s going to say “lingerie attracts me” (or the lack thereof).  You might be surprised at his answers.

#4 – In what ways can I be a better helpmate?
Genesis 2:18. This is a tough question that will take some humility and vulnerability.  From you, it’ll take having big shoulders to take. The answers, if they’re open and honest, might not be easy to hear.  But it’s necessary.  In Genesis, Eve was given as a helpmate.  Not a servant or slave.  But someone to come along side of Adam to serve with him.

#5 – How can I encourage you?
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up…” Guys thrive on encouragement. Think of when they were boys, they would show off their accomplishments. Maybe it was a trophy, an award, a varsity jacket, or some certificate on the wall.  Boys are always wanting people to know what they have accomplished.  Why? It’s the “atta boy” that follows (for those of you with sons, you know what Dave and I are talking about). As adults, it’s not necessarily “atta boy” statements to feed some ego.  It’s authentic encouragement to edify them as a companion, provider, lover, and defender.

#6 – When do you feel the most valued/loved?
This has a flavor of #5 in it.  Where there is a difference is some men feel valued by different actions.  Some men feel valued by words.  Some feel valued by actions.  Some by gifts…now we’re getting back into the love languages.  Your husband may need a minute to think about it.  But, there’s a good chance if you asked him, “when don’t you feel valued,” you may get a quicker answer.

#7 – What makes you laugh?
Be prepared.  The dumbest movie, in your opinion, may get mentioned.  But be careful.  If you demean everything that he enjoys, you will demean him.  It will come off  as if you have a superiority complex and hold maturity he will never have. Find out what brings a smile to his face.

#8 – Do I make you want to come home?
Is your home a safe atmosphere for him to come home to?  I had a friend tell me a few years ago, when he came back from a business trip, his wife said, “It was kinda nice to have you away.” What issue exists that a spouse wants you out of the house for a few days?  What issues exist that make him NOT want to rush home.  This question will make you do some self-evaluation.  Is the atmosphere of the home a place that welcomes him? Is they way he’s received give him reason to start new projects and, thus, work later? Send him emails, texts, etc. that have tones of flirtation, love, and admonition.  Make your home safe and a place of healing

#9 – How can I be your armor bearer?
1 Samuel 14
 speaks of two people going into battle.  It was Jonathan and his armor bearer.  When Jonathan asked if the armor bearer was willing to follow him into battle. The reply is outstanding. “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”  Does your husband feel that, whatever the Lord has spoken to him, you are with him “heart and soul?” This question answers the question: Do you allow your husband to take the lead?  The armor bearer went into a precarious situation.  But he let Jonathan lead.

#10 – How can I pray for you?
Wives are great prayer warriors. You may be praying over him.  BUT does he know that.  Have you told him?  Have you every sent him a text right after you prayed for him? Have you asked him about work situations that need prayer?  Let him be reminded that you are standing in prayer with him every day. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Never stop praying.”

I hope every wife feels challenged to pursue their husband.  Don’t be in irrelevant wife.  Bring back the closeness.  Bring back connection. Make sure he knows he’s important to you.

Thanks babe (Anne) for sharing and working with me on this blog!

Till next week…

Thanks for letting US ramble….

Stay close

Sitting with the fan by the water

In the wake of what has taken place today, I find my self with a heavy heart..unable to do my weekly marriage blog.  The blog I had planned on doing today with Anne will have to wait till next week. It just didn’t seem right today.

How are you reacting to today’s events?

My reactions are so diverse.
– I want to pick my kids up from school and hold them.
– I want to express anger.
– I was feeling nauseous
– I find myself suppressing tears at the thoughts of what parents are dealing with.

My response to everything I was feeling: Ps. 61:1-2

I was “faint”…I went to the “rock that is higher than I.”

In the midst of so many ways to respond, let your response be to “Stay Close” to the “rock that is higher” than you. Stay close to Jesus.

A few things to do tonight:

  1. Stay close to Jesus.  Personally, make a decision to keep close to the only sure foundation in life.
  2. Talk to your children.  Hug on them.  Remind them of “the rock” that is Christ. Take them to the scriptures. Proverbs 3:5-6.
  3. Pray as a family of those hurting families in Connecticut. Look at them like Moses in Exodus 17:12.  He was weary so others came around him and held his arms up.  Be the “Aaron and Hur” in the situation.  Hold the weary families in Connecticut up in your prayers.
  4. Check your heart.  Search for bitterness, malice, and unforgiveness. Take it to the Lord and release it into his hands.
  5. Remind yourself once more: Psalms 61:1-2 “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I…”Stay close to Jesus

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Ineffective husbands

BARRINGER0039

There’s a scripture that immediately comes to mind.  2 Timothy 2:15 is it.  For some reason, the KJV is what rings loudly in my head. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  It’s the scripture that was heavily impressed upon me as a bible college student to make sure I was diligent to study scripture as to be a good steward of the Word of God.

Stick with me for a second…

The two words that jump out:
– Study – earnestness in accomplishing, promoting, or striving after anything, to give all diligence
– Dividing – to handle correctly

The question I ask: Even though the context of this scripture has NOTHING to do with marriage…can we as husbands learn something from this?

In marriage, have we has husbands failed in the stewardship of the woman we have married? Has the failure stemmed from our failure to “study“(earnestness in accomplishing, promoting, or striving after anything, to give all diligence) our wife? Are we “handling them correctly”?

Perhaps the way we have struggled in being stewards of our spouses is we have simply stopped the pursuit. We feel we have the answers already so we stop asking questions.  Do you remember the dating years?  Do you remember the questions you needed answered?
– What movie should I take her to?
– What kind of flowers do I get?
– What do her parents think of me?
– Should I use Brute, Drakkar, or Polo cologne tonight?

The more the relationship grew…the more we moved from asking ourselves the questions to asking her questions.
– Where do you want to eat tonight?
– Can I get that for you?
– What would you like to do next week?
– Can I help with that?
– Would you rather I wear Drakkar or Polo?
– Why do you think I need new cologne?

TRUTH: Ineffective husbands stop asking questions.  They stop the pursuit to win and keep the hearts of their wives.

We’ve stopped asking questions. And by doing that, we’ve become poor students and highly ineffective. I can hear it now.  “I already know my wife.  I know what she likes. I don’t need to ask anything.”

Meanwhile she sighs in the background. She wants the pursuit.  I know it’s far different from when you two first dated BUT it’s that spirit, that pursuit, that won her heart and saw something in you that she wanted to be with.

Here I go, 10 questions to ask your wife:

1 – What is something romantic we can do?
Brace yourself men.  It may not have anything to do with sex. (I may have lost most male readers.) You idea of romance may no longer be her idea.  Here’s a news flash: you idea of romance may have NEVER been her idea of romance.  Anne and I sill laugh at some of my cheesy ideas of romance that wasn’t as effective as I assumed.  She just wanted time with me. (hence her love language)

2 – Is there something fun we can do together?
This is where many men have lumped romance and fun together and can’t tell them apart.  Why?  Two reasons: First, we don’t understand, even though our wives have fun with romance, there is a huge difference between the two. You wife likes romance.  Your wife like to have fun that has nothing to do with romance. Second, we assume it’s all going to lead to the bedroom.  Don’t get me wrong. I won’t stand in the way of that. But if everything we do everything for our benefit as men, our acts of fun and romance will be seen as manipulation.   I’m not saying the two can’t coincide.  I’m saying that if you don’t know the difference, ask your wife.

3 – Do you feel you’re a priority to me?
Most would avoid this question and pretend like it’s not even existing on this blog. But it’s a question that has to be asked.  I’ll never forget the words of a minister praying over our Michigan pastors.  “Forgive us when ministry has been our mistress.”  Has work taken priority?  “But Dave, I have to provide for my wife.” You’re right. Our nature as men are to provide. BUT…if she doesn’t feel like priority, your hard work will be for naught.

4 – What makes you smile?
You’d be surprised at some of the answers you get.  It might be “vacuuming the carpet.” It might be when she catches you flexing in the mirror when you think no one is looking. It could be when you’re helping the kids with their homework. Discover her smile again. Be the source of joy in here life.

5 – What are you stressing about and how can I help? 
I’ve heard it described that a man’s mind is like a hallway with many doors.  The rule is: only one door can be open at a time.  A woman’s mind is like a ball of yarn.  Everything is going on at once and everything intersects everything.  Stop telling her not to be stressed.  Stop telling her she shouldn’t be stressed. Start asking her how you can NOT be one of those stress-ers (I made up a word).  For me, simply taking the kids out of the home does wonders.  Simply putting my dirty clothes into the hamper WHILE not be inside out does more.

7 – How can I pray for you?
When was the last time you prayed together outside of a meal? When was the last time you asked her what she needs prayer over?  Don’t give me the excuse, “well, she’s the spiritual one.” Take the lead. Pray over her. Let her hear you pray.  Pray over her when you’re at work and send her a text about it. Let her be reminded that you care for more than just her physically.

8 – Do I spoil you enough?
You may approach this with fear and trembling.  The reason why I ask the question is we, in our courting/dating process, were so generous with our time, efforts, and money.  It’s far beyond a financial thing. Everything about our dating actions was to “spoil” her.  Have I taken her for granted?  I’ve heard it said too many times, “I don’t have to do that anymore.” Well…enjoy the fruits of that when she returns the favor.

9 – What can I do physically please you? 
“If it was good for me, it was good for her.” We assume when we’re providing the physical attention to our spouse, if we’re pleased with it then our wives are just as pleased.  I’m talking about PDA (public displays of affection i.e. hand holding), random moments of affection, and sexuality. Am I too physical? Am I physical enough?  Do I sweep her off her feet…or does she feel used because it was all about what I desired?

10 – If you could change one thing, what would it be?
This takes guts.  This takes humility…AND SHE WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT. It could be that you’re still wearing the same cologne you’ve been wearing for 20 years. It could be leaving work stuff at work. It may be playing with the kids so that she doesn’t feel like she’s the only one raising them.  She may want you to take more spiritual leadership in your marriage.  Whatever it is, make it priority.  Move it to the top of your list.

I hope husbands feel challenged.  I hope husband will take me up on this. Don’t be ineffective by assuming you know all you need to know.  You and her are constantly changing through the seasons of life. Keep up the pursuit, keep asking questions, and stay effective as a husband.

I’ve enlisted Anne to help me with next week as we speak to ineffective wives.

Till next week…

Thanks for letting me ramble….

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…