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Keeping the fire in marriage

Published:Friday | July 22, 2016 | 11:08 PMCecelia Campbell-Livingston

The vows go unbroken, and you still know I do,

Love, keep and honour, always true to you,

Though I have been tempted,

Oh I have never strayed,

I'd die before I'd damage,

This union we have made

- The Vows Go Unbroken by Kenny Rogers

ave you ever looked at two persons who have been married 'forever' yet they still have a sense of excitement with each other? They so openly show their affection and love that you have to wonder if they are newlyweds instead.

Keeping your romance fresh after many years, with children, bills and loads of other distractions can be a huge challenge. It is even harder when the couples in question are caught up in church ministry. With so many committees and church activities, it can be overwhelming sticking to those tasks, plus taking care of the family and fitting in quality time with your spouse.

If great care is not taken, couples could find themselves in danger of existing like brothers and sisters, just going through the motions of getting responsibilities taken care of with no room for romance.

Family and Religion reached out to Ethon Johnson of Ethon Johnson's Ministries International. She is also founder of Mission of Mercy.

She said communication and togetherness are critical when couples lead busy lives.

"Togetherness must be there at all times or as much as is possible. Even if both lives are busy, today it's so easy to communicate. You have got to do these little things to keep active, to keep the growth and the warmth," she said.

maintain 'date night'

Johnson pointed out that, with so many different means of keeping in touch, communication should be easier. She said a couples 'date night' should also be maintained.

"There are many different ways of enjoying your spouse's company. The date night can be as exciting as the first date. When the beam in her eye seems only to shine in his direction, there is no reason for him to be looking elsewhere. Exchanging glances, touches and smiles will ensure that there is no one in the room quite as elegant or beautiful as her," she said.

Johnson also pointed out that a wife should show her husband in no uncertain terms that she thinks he is the most suave or debonaire man in any room, even after 30 years.

Throughout the marriage, Johnson stressed, affection should always be shown and not just when one partner feels a need to be satisfied.

"The seductive touching and petting must be expressed daily to stimulate and show the affection that every woman needs. It is not easily received, when it is time for romance, if there was none for days or for weeks. A man must understand that if he is loving to his wife daily, he will have absolutely no problem when he feels that he needs to be satisfied," said Johnson.

don't withhold 'favours'

She also addressed the practice of some women who withhold 'favours' from their partners as they claim they are their own women and can do whatever they want with their bodies.

This, for Johnson, is not helpful for persons with a desire to keep the spice in their marriage and live harmoniously for many years.

"A wife must not use her body as a tactical weapon against her husband. I've heard and seen women say, 'If I feel like giving it to him, I do; and if I don't, it doesn't matter because it is my body'. That is considered rebellion before the Almighty God. I've also heard women say, 'If he buys me what I want, then I'll be nice and give him some'. That is harlotry. A woman's body belongs to her husband and her husband's body belongs to her," Johnson said.

There are days when it is impossible for women to perform their wifely duties, Another way of keeping the affection in the marriage, according to Johnson, is for husbands on those days to be particularly loving and attentive.

"A woman who feels loved and appreciated will not have those 'headaches', that men hear about. Her body will always be receptive to him and he will have the ultimate pleasure if he understands how to please his wife."

Johnson also warned women who are prudes in marriage. She said when sexual fire consumes a man, he needs satisfaction and "petting him wherever it is pleasurable is no dishonour".

"Marriage is between a man and a woman, and whatever happens in the bedroom, car, church, bushes, beach, between them is undefiled before God. It does not matter where the desire comes, what matters is who is involved in the relationship. Fornication is not having sex with your spouse; it is having others involved in your relationship with you and your spouse. There is no holy threesome, or 'side chick'. What God recognises is the marriage of two people committed to one another," said Johnson.