Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Keep Your Marriage Sizzling -- Part 2

As marriage partners, Jerry and I have learned that the key to an intimate marriage is to have Christ at the very center. Matthew 18:19-20 says “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

As believers, we have power as couples. It’s no wonder Satan tries so hard to break up marriages and cause discord. 1 Peter 3 tells us our prayers can even be hindered if we don’t treat each other in the right way.

We believe God wants us to have a marriage beyond our wildest dreams, but to do so, we must be willing to invest in it. One way we do this is by having established boundaries and accountability.

For a while, Jerry and I just had spoken boundaries, but then we realized how much better it is to have them in writing. If they are written, they seem more binding. (See last week's blog post for our list.)

Once we wrote them down, we added a home section that included how long we will stay on the internet and things like listening to music at dinner instead of watching tv. The television, internet and cell phone are great tools that benefit us in a lot of ways; however, we are seeking balance in our lives. Too much technology leaves too little time for us to communicate as a couple.

As part of our boundaries involving others, we don’t do outings, long personal conversations or carpooling with others alone. Even though Jerry and I do trust each other, why should we even put ourselves in vulnerable places?

One of our boundaries is “No uncovering of spouse to others.” To us this means we will watch what we say to our friends and family about each other. We will not reveal intimate things that might embarrass nor will we husband or wife bash.

We also addressed flirting only with each other. Life can become too routine and serious, and flirting with each other is one way to lighten it up!

Until next time, just have a little fun together.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to Keep Your Marriage Sizzling

Incorporating intimacy in a busy life is not an easy thing to do with the lifestyles of today.  When we get married we are so “in love” we don’t think things will ever change, but they often do. Marriage has a tendency of becoming routine. The bills have to be paid, houses certainly aren’t self-cleaning, and cars have to be maintained. Add kids to that, and life becomes complex.

It takes extra effort when life starts moving in the fast lane to keep your relationship with your spouse sizzling.

Jerry and I never thought we would have any relationship problems – much less be faced with divorce. We were Christians – even involved in church leadership. However, we found ourselves in the middle of circumstances we certainly didn’t see coming.

Without a lot of details, about 20 years ago we separated. By all outward appearance, there was no hope, but God had other plans.

After a long separation, we decided to begin again. This time, we vowed to be more on guard and alert to keep our marriage strong.

We heard recently someone say you can learn from either mistakes or mentors. We hope our example will keep you from making the mistakes we did.

In coming weeks, I will post on this blog four areas that we learned to change in our lives: Our priorities, boundaries and accountability, the atmosphere in our home, and romance.

We will begin with Boundaries and Accountability because we were asked specifically to post ours so you could think about what you needed in your own home.

Our home boundaries will be different from yours. Each home has a different dynamic. Let ours be a challenge to you to find ones that fit your lifestyle.
Our kids are now grown, so we would love to hear from those of you in that stage of life. Please share with us what your boundaries are involving children.

Home Boundaries:
1. Music during dinner (no tv).
2. Internet – one hour only allowed when we’re home at night. No questionable websites allowed – see #3.
3. Watch what we put before our eyes and ears. (Psalm 101:3 – I will not put anything wicked in front of my eyes) – includes movies, tv, reading materials, internet.
4. No secret passwords on the computer or elsewhere between spouses.
5. Play music in the bedroom instead of the tv. If there’s a special program to watch, both must agree.
6. Get ready for bed at 9:30 on weeknights. (Of course exceptions allowed based on circumstances but must be agreed on by both spouses).

Boundaries Involving Others:
1. No outings with the opposite sex alone.
2. No counseling or talking about personal things (including spiritual) to opposite sex alone.
3. No carpooling with opposite sex alone.
4. No secret phone calls, texts or emails.
5. No social networking private conversations with the opposite sex.
6. No uncovering of spouse to others.
7. No flirting with anyone except spouse.

1. Have another couple in marriage ministry we can talk with.
2. Share with spouse when someone comes on to me or when tempted.
3. Have an accountability partner to talk with regularly.

We could write an entire post on each boundary, so it’s difficult not to expound. Maybe we will go more indepth later; however, we just wanted you to get the picture so you could get some dialogue going with your spouse.

We welcome your comments. You can post anonymously or sign your name. Just click the Comment button below.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Resolving Conflict

Luke 24: 13-17
"Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

What if Jesus walked up to you during a heated discussion with your spouse – would you act differently? Thought provoking, huh?

Our communication is meant to draw us closer to one another so we can truly act as one and accomplish more together than we can apart. Amos 3:3 reminds us that “Two can’t walk together without agreeing on the direction.” (NLT)

In conflict, we are often influenced by the way we grew up, our culture in general and just our own selfishness.

Conflict is something we all deal with. God created everyone unique and with different opinions. Whether we just agree to disagree or work out a solution together, there are right and wrong ways to do so.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rate Your Marriage

Here's a great  little quiz to rate your marriage from the book, Hot Chocolate for Couples by Cindy Sigler Dagnan (Harvest House Publishers).  The book is a good read if you are interested in practical ways to sweeten your love life.

from the book “Hot Chocolate for Couples”
by Cindy Sigler Dagnan
Harvest House Publishers

During the past month have you or your spouse ....
____ kissed passionately without making love?
____ gone on a date alone? (Double dates or church activities don’t count.)
____ held hands?
____ talked at length about anything other than the kids, money, schedules, household needs or conflicts?
____ done something unexpected, special, or romantic for each other?
____ prayed together other than at mealtimes?

During the last six months have you and your spouse...·
____ gone for a long walk together?
____ laughed until your sides hurt?
____ taken inventory and discussed your “state of the marriage union”?
____ written a love note or sent a card to each other?
____ varied your love making in some way—position, technique, location?

In the last year have you and your spouse...
____ gone away for an overnight retreat without the kids?
____ shared a spiritual growth experience?
____ attended a seminar or read a book to improve your marriage?
____ shared hopes, goals, fears, and dreams about your marriage and family for the next year, five years, ten years?
____ verbally renewed your commitment to love and cherish each other and stick it out until you are parted by death?


If you responded...
· YES to 12 or more questions, you still feel emotionally connected and in love—crank it up a notch to feel even closer.

· YES to between 5 and 11 questions, you may have begun settling for an “average” marriage. Implement some good changes.

· YES to fewer than 5 questions, your marriage is in serious drift mode and headed for a stall. Start practicing the things on this list. If you are struggling with very serious issues, consider going to a dedicated Christian counselor for a season.

*Reprinted with permission from Cindy Dagnan