Posts tagged Romance

Marriage Monday: Bald, Fat, and Happy

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There is an old Arab proverb that essentially says marriage begins with a prince kissing an angel and ends with a bald headed man sitting across the table from a fat lady. One might interpret this proverb in one of two ways. For some, the man will be happier sitting across from a fat lady than kissing an angel. For others, it means that marriage begins with youth, glitz, and razzmatazz and ends with familiarity, blandness, and a longing for better years gone by.

So what is a defining feature of a marriage that enables contentment and lifelong romance? It is when a couple turns toward one another daily throughout the course of their lives. So often, Romance is painted in passionate colors by the likes of Cary Grant or Brad Pitt. Relational enchantment is often portrayed in a lavish manner that leaves your average couple feeling as if their relationship is romantically impoverished.

So what does it mean for a couple to turn toward one another? John Gottman describes it this way. “Romance is fueled by a far more humdrum approach to staying connected. It is kept alive each time you let your spouse know he or she is valued during the grind of everyday life…In a marriage people periodically make ‘bids’ for their partner’s attention, affection, humor, or support. People either turn toward one another after these bids or they turn away.”

Turning toward one another can look differently, but it involves the couple constantly orienting themselves toward one another. It might be grocery shopping together instead of simply letting your spouse do it alone. Perhaps it is a text in the middle of a hectic day. It is taking a few minutes to connect in the morning before rushing out the door. Sometimes it is paying attention to what gets your spouse excited, even though it might not interest you. These are the humdrum ways that romance is fueled on a daily basis.  It is turning toward your spouse when they make a bid for connection.

Turning toward your spouse also involves reconnecting when you would prefer not to emotionally. It is digging deep to connect, even when you don’t feel like doing so. Sometimes this is due to fatigue, busyness, or being focused on your task at the moment. Turning toward your spouse is a deliberate act at times, while sometimes it requires little thought.

During difficult times turning toward your spouse does not seem intuitive, but it is a requirement for a relationship to flourish. Listen to how Ravi Zacharias describes this idea of turning toward one’s partner when he talks about his wife, Margie. “Anytime there has been a disagreement or anytime there has been a point of tension of some sort, and the feelings want you to proudly turn away and not make it right because somehow you want to appear strong. I have watched her reach out, every time, and take my hand and put it all back in perspective. It is the love that is going to carry us through. Obedience precedes the emotion.” This is a perfect example of what it means to turn toward one another. During every day life, each partner seeks to reorient the relationship into a posture of facing one another. Sometimes it involves turning toward one another within humdrum daily interactions, and at other times it means forcing oneself to turn toward the other when the emotions say to do otherwise.

It is this idea of turning toward each other that makes an aging bald man and his aging fat wife happy. It is turning toward one another that keeps romance within a relationship. It is turning toward your spouse that keeps familiarity from turning into blandness.

Rejoice with the wife of your youth… And always be enraptured with her love.
-Proverbs 5:18-19

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

How do you “turn toward” your spouse? How do you stay connected?

Best of 2011 – Number 3

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Today, we have reached number three in the countdown of the most popular posts in 2011. This post was first posted in October and began the Facebook Friday series. It is entitled “Addicted to Love.” Sorry for the picture, but sometimes you have to be shocked into hearing something.

Well, it is our very first “Facebook Friday.” This picture was inspired by all the tweens (and the not so tweens) who find it necessary to confess their undying love to the world for the person they met three days ago.

“Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.” That seems to be the mantra our society chants. I mean, after all, “All you need is love” (bum bum bumpadum). Is the love that we are addicted to really love? We use the word for everything from, “I love to eat bearclaws from the donuts palace” (these are the nectar of the gods) to “I love my friends, to “I want to hop in the sack with you” (and I am not talking about a two person sack race). Love has become one word with a multiplicity of meanings.

The ancient Greeks (with all their brilliant philosophizing philosophers) were smart enough to know one word for love would not do, so they broke it down into four separate kinds of love: affection, friendship, romance, and unconditional love. Each of these types of love have their place to be used individually, but for a love relationship (I want to date you, marry you, spend my life with you love) all four must be present.

Think of love like a chair. Obviously chairs have four legs (I see where he is going with this). If one leg is missing you have a wobbly chair. If two legs are missing the chair does not stand. What we see in society are people trying to have relationships that won’t support themselves. They are trying to sit in a chair with one or maybe two legs. That just won’t work.

Mainly, we focus on the romantic form of love or more specifically the “I want to sleep with you” form of love. Then we wonder why the chair is broken and we get hurt. Can I be the voice of reason? We are trying to sit in a chair with one leg. That never works.

For lasting dating (remember, you marry who you date) or marital relationships, all four types of love must be present. All four legs must be there or it will be dysfunctional. Romance and affection are nice, but it eventually hits a cold season. If the unconditional love or commitment isn’t there you will find yourself jumping from one relationship to another whenever it gets difficult. If the relationship is all friendship, it gets dull without the romance or passion. If all that is there is the commitment, you will find that you have a nice (probably expensive) roommate.

Are you married? Work on cultivating all four types of love. Are you dating? Well stop trying to sit in chairs with one or two legs. I promise, it won’t work. Get four on the floor. That is how relationships are meant to be.

Might as well face it…we’re addicted to love. Let’s make sure it’s the right kind of love.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.

Three Years

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This week (July 19th) my wife and I celebrated our third year of marriage. It has gone by in a blink. We have a covered a lot of ground in three years, and it has been the togetherness that has made the journey so much fun to traverse. I have enjoyed the memories and traditions we have created for our family. I like that we have our unique way of doing things that is special to us. I am so glad to have chosen Devon and thankful that she chose me.

If there is one thing I have learned from marriage, it is that I am far too selfish. My tendency is to think of me first, and sometimes me only. Selfishness is the cyanide in any relational endeavor, but especially in marriage. We must pursue one another with a fervor, sacrificing our own desires to serve the other. I find that when I make pursuing my wife priority, she is drawn to do the same. A reciprocal dance ensues where we are both getting our needs met by serving the other.

I am so thankful to have a woman in my life who will always come to my rescue. I honestly feel like she is my biggest cheerleader and defender. When I am down she lifts my spirits. When I am discouraged she speaks life. When the time comes to fight, she is there with her back against mine, ready to take on the enemy.  When I am ready to give up, she pushes me onward with a speech that would make William Wallace proud.

Love is seasonal. It ebbs and flows. There are harsh winters and blazing hot summers. Early in our relationship romance seemed to roll off our very tongues. Flirtation was a natural part of our interaction. All was bright and beautiful. As times unfolds love changes. Mystery decreases and familiar friendship deepens. I have learned that as marriage changes, ebbs, flows, and grows, there is one thing that does not change. This would be the amount of work that goes into having a healthy marriage. If one stops putting forth effort, just like anything else, things start to deteriorate. One must remember to continue the wooing process. I am thankful for the subtle ways that Devon woos me. Sometimes its slight wooing through doing mundane things that she has no idea how much I appreciate. Sometimes she woos me through deliberate planning that paints a large smile across my face for days.

There are so many things that vie for one’s attention and seek to distract. If we are not careful, there are plenty of outside forces that will covertly enter the marital relationship and drive a wedge between the partners. It is our job to protect and guard the blessing we have been given, which is our spouse. Marriage is sacred. We must protect and defend it from unwanted intrusions that seek its demise. I am thankful that Devon’s desire is to hold sacred and protect what we have at any cost.

The past three years have blown my expectations. The Lord has lavished us with blessings, mainly with one another, a beautiful son, a quirky dog, wonderful family, faithful friends and above all, His grace. I cannot wait to see what adventure awaits us. The first three years have been truly magical.

“How does Elyon love? He chooses. He pursues. He rescues. He woos. He protects. He lavishes.” – Ted Dekker

Devon, thanks for being a reflection of what God does. We have, indeed, been blessed with a great romance.

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

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