Sex, lies and desperate love lives Pt 5: Light my fire
God's best plan for sex is for it to be between one man and one woman, within the context of a life long committed marriage in order that we might find maximum fulfilment and enjoyment in our sex lives.
"4 ... God made them male and female. 5 And he said, This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' 6 Since they are no longer two, but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together." Matthew 19:4-6NLT
Marriage is something that is very close to God's heart. God wants to see our marriages not just survive, but thrive, and there are three Godly foundations to help a marriage: The foundations of passion, intimacy and commitment. When you have all three in your marriage, what you have is complete love.
But there are times in a marriage we struggle to achieve all three.
When you have intimacy (friendship) and commitment (you're not giving up), but are low on passion, this is 'companionable love'.
When we have passion and commitment, but lack intimacy, this is fatuous or foolish love, that is lust-based.
When we have passion and intimacy, but lack commitment - divorce is always an option - this is romantic love.
Here are some Godly actions that we can take to strengthen each area.
1 Schedule a regular date night: Set aside time together to connect and rekindle. Proverbs 5:18NIV "May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth ... may you ever be intoxicated with her love."
2 Practice meaningful touch: If we make the effort to touch our spouse in simple, loving and meaningful ways throughout the day, it will raise the passion and affection in marriage. Songs of Solomon 7:9 NLT "May your kisses be as exciting as the best wine, ... flowing gently over lips and teeth."
3 Choose to act with kindness: Always choose kindness over harshness or indifference. Acts of service towards one another can spark passion, but even more than actions, words are important. The words that we choose, can either spark or kill passion in a relationship.
1 Communicate with your spouse meaningfully: Have constant communication, verbal or otherwise (such as shared fun activities) that helps you to connect with each other on a deeper level. Communicating in a meaningful way can be hard, but its about finding that common ground.
2 Accept your spouse unconditionally: When you get married, you have the ability to do one thing to make your marriage better. That is - to change yourself. You can change yourself and make better, but you do not, and never will have the capacity to change your spouse. Accept your spouse for who they are and focus on the positive. Ephesians 4:2 NLT "Be humble and gentle, be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults, because of your love."
3 Forgive your spouse immediately: Your spouse has the power to hurt you more deeply because you love them so much and they know you better than anyone else. That's why we have to be diligent and intentional about forgiving immediately, because if you dwell on a fault, it will kill the intimacy in your marriage. "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven. But dwelling on this separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9
1 Protect your marriage tenaciously: Temptations come into every marriage and we have to protect our marriage tenaciously from both emotional, physical and online affairs. Run away from these attractions! "Honour marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband." Hebrews 13:4 MSG
2 Renew your commitment to one another: It's important to renew and restate your commitment to one another on a regular basis. Remove 'divorce' from your vocabulary; otherwise, you will never have the security or the commitment you need to have the marriage that God wants you to have. Say to your spouse "I want you to know that I love you, and I'm in it for the long run". 1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT says, "Love never gives up. Love never loses faith. It is always hopeful and it endures through every circumstance."
3 Stay faithful in your commitment to God: "Unless the Lord builds a house, the builders' work is useless." Psalm 127:1TLB. Replace the word 'house' with 'marriage'. Unless the Lord builds your marriage, the work of the builders is useless. So, how do you commit yourself to stay faithful in your commitment to God and one another? Do you pray, read scripture or go to church together as a couple? Those are some of the things that will strengthen your commitment for one another, and to God.