I’m a bottom line kinda person. A Google search for “romance in marriage” shows more than one hundred million results. There’s no shortage of information on how to rekindle romance. We don’t have to reinvent that wheel. We can learn to use one another’s love languages, develop healthy doses of love and respect, plan date nights, beautify ourselves with weight loss, a new hair cut, or sexy lingerie; we can buy the chocolate and roses and research new sex positions. Any of these methods would help fire up the idling engine of a marriage that is temporarily stalled.
And yet I believe the secret of holding on to those lovin’ feelings in marriage lies somewhere underneath good ideas and outward displays of affection. Intimacy and romance in marriage is a matter of the heart. All of our relational *stuff*, good, bad or otherwise, comes out of our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). A chilly marriage needs not just information but a transformation. If you suspect your marriage is suffering from one or more hearts grown cold, here are some correctives:
• Embrace the Homework of marriage
Don’t let the word “work” discourage you. Many of us seem to expect love to be automatic, to run on autopilot. It’s as if we think we can show up, take our seats as husband and wife and press the ‘Easy’ button. But the easy button only works in Office Supply commercials. Disillusionment, apathy and complacency are enemies of a romantic marriage. Familiarity can indeed breed contempt. Our differences can drain the passion. But seasoned love can be a deeper love when you don’t take one another for granted and deal with the issues that caused the marital drift. Conflict resolution is the foundation of marital intimacy. Diligently addressing the heart issues between the two of you will help to create a strong and passionate union. As I mentioned, there is a lot of information available to help keep marriage hot. But you will actually have to do the homework.
• Remember that LOVE is spelled T.I.M.E.
Since marriage means homework, why not become a student of your spouse? Study your spouse’s personality, not as a critic but as their biggest fan! Your goal should be to earn your PhD in _________( insert your spouse’s name). Recall the time when your love was new and you were each other’s world! You spent every possible moment together or thinking of being together. You talked endlessly about your dreams, fears and the future. Then you got married and real life happened. Careers, kids, mortgages, and hobbies can threaten to consume you. Technology is great but it can also be a passion blocker. There is a time to put away the iPad, Xbox and iPhone. Do some of the things you did with your lover in the beginning. Or create new memories by doing something together that you’ve never done before. Spend some time praying with and for your mate.
• Reconnect with Touch
This simple two part touch principle is a great romance inducer. It goes like this:
Husband: Before you touch her body, touch her heart. Ask your wife specifically how you can do this. Draw her out with earnest, heartfelt inquiry if she doesn’t actually know. Do the research for that dissertation on your wife.
Wife: Touch his body in order to touch his heart. Most of your man’s emotional energy is channeled thru physical intimacy. Your body is his refuge. Wives really need to understand how deep this need is, not only for sex, but for the emotional haven of sex with you.
Somebody has said that the only thing worse than being single and desperately wanting to be married is being married and desperately wanting to be single. A lifeless marriage is special kind of misery. If there are any extreme conditions that make it difficult for you to do your part, seek a pastor or trained counselor for help.
Our marriage vows don’t say anything about what we will get, we only promise what we will give. A romantic marriage is one where each of the two people stands behind their promises with all diligence. They don’t get it right one hundred percent of the time, but for better or for worse, they do their best to honor their mate with conscientious care and attention.