Usually when I ask Niki to help with a message at church she can be reluctant. For this marriage message she said something that surprised me. She said, “This should be easy.” “Why?” I asked.
Niki said, “We have a good marriage. We are best friends, I can tell you anything and be myself. There is no one else I would rather be with than you.”
Wow, that was awesome to hear, but I must add, our marriage is not perfect, we’ve had our ups and downs but it is something we work hard at. We have what I have heard Ed Young say before, “a good MWE ‘Marital Work Ethic.” We work hard at our marriage. I want to share some of the reasons we have a good marriage and the reasons it is worth it. Here’s the main idea:
I can keep my marriage RED HOT by continuing to do the things that I did when I was dating.
Most couples had a great time dating which is why they get married in the first place. There is love, communication, romance and commitment. Why do they go away? We get busy, we get distracted and we forget the time and effort we used to put in the relationship when it was forming. We have to keep those things going, maybe not to the same extent but they must continue in some form.
We should keep the love alive which will keep the excitement alive. Keep working hard at winning the love of your life like you did when you were dating.
I will also be sharing from a book of the bible that is all about romance, dating, marriage, sex, conflict and communication –the Song of Songs by Solomon. This book shows a couple going through all of those things like we do! The first way to keep your marriage red hot…
1. Keep the Communication Alive
14…Let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant” Song of Songs 2:14
- Communicate Often – with cell phones and email, it is easier. Text, call or email saying “I love you” You can’t say I love you too often.
- When We First Get Home or See Each Other – Take 5-10 minutes to catch up, don’t let kids interrupt.
- Watch out for Distractions – Cell phones, tv, radio, etc – Don’t make your spouse believe that the cell phone or work is more important that they are.
- Communicate Needs – Sex-how often, when, how? Support around the house –who does what, when? How often to talk and when?
- Conflict – talk about what bothers you, work through issues, don’t let them pile up, keep short accounts.
2. Keep the Romance Alive
When I ask Niki “How do you define romance?”
She says, “Time, attention, affection, gifts and mainly to feel special.”
So she wants me to pursue her, take time for her, think about her and give her attention.
And Guys, Niki says romance doesn’t have to cost much. It could be a picnic, a walk, a hand written note or anything done together with attention.
Look at this verse
11 Come, my love, let us go out into the fields and spend the night among the wildflowers. 12 Let us get up early and go out to the vineyards. Let us see whether the vines have budded, whether the blossoms have opened, and whether the pomegranates are in flower. And there I will give you my love. Song of Songs 7:11-12
Notice, “Let us go.” Sometimes we need to get away from it all! One of the things we like to do is to get out of town and go to a bed and breakfast. “And there I will give my love” it’s the romance, the time together that leads to giving love and making love.
When I ask Niki, “Why do you like to go away? Why do you like times like that?”
Niki says, “Because you pay attention to me.” With our hectic schedules it helps to get away on a date or for a weekend.
When I ask Niki, “Do women want the romance to end when the honey moon is over?”
She says, “Do men want to sex to end when the honey moon is over?” It’s the same concept.
Here are some ideas:
- Get away – about once a quarter or at least several times a year. For you anniversary – you should be gone! Celebrating away from work and spending time together. Around Valentines Day, birthdays or other holidays, use those times to get away for special times together as a couple. Again it’s not about money. It doesn’t have to be a Villa in Italy, it could be the Holiday Inn in Houston!
- Take Dates – at least twice a month – get a sitter or alternate with a family with similar aged kids taking turns watching each other’s kids while the other goes out. Take a sandwich to the park together.
Both of these get aways and dates should be: Kid free, Work free, and Cell Phone free. The kids will be fine, work can wait, call someone back later, you need to build your relationship.
These times should be something you both enjoying doing together. It’s basically just some good quality time together. Lastly,
3. Keep the Commitment Alive
3 I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine.” Song of Songs 6:3
Two key ideas:
- Don’t Let Go
To the ladies, Niki says, “Some women let their weight go. You should try to be the same person your husband married.” That’s part of the marital work ethic, stay fit and stay healthy not just for your health but for your marriage.
Other ways couples let the marriage go? By letting the kids replace the spouse as a priority. Don’t let go of the priority of marriage, its’ a lasting bond before God and the world. As the scripture says, we are to “leave parents and be united to our spouse” (Gen 2:24). The bond of marriage is permanent. Remember, Kids leave, spouses stay!
Men can let go emotionally. We turn off our marriage and plug into sports, TV, our job or hobbies. We can also let go of our manners, consideration and let go of communication. Guy’s don’t let go, hang on!
- Hang on!
Do not EVER use the “D: word ever. “Divorce” is word that you throw away and do not use as leverage, a threat or a weapon. Get rid of it from your vocabulary. That will secure trust and build commitment.
Verbalize your commitment often. Things like, “I love you. I’m committed to you. I’m so glad you are my spouse. I love you more today than when we married. I’m never going anywhere. Till death do us part!”
As Niki says, “you may not always be happy but you hang on anyway. Work through the hard times, sad times and keep your commitment. We had tough times in our marriage: our first year, when we had our first child and certain seasons in ministry such as starting the church, when Niki started her business to name a few. We were not always happy with the circumstances or even the person but hung on to our commitment.
The biggest thing we can say about commitment is this. IT TAKES A COMMITMENT TO CHRIST.
When I ask Niki, “How does your commitment to Christ help you in marriage?”
She says, “I’m first committed to Christ, then to you. When I said I do, He was there too. He helps me when my love runs out. When I want to walk away, the Holy Spirit of Christ says, “go make up, go talk, go and forgive. I can’t do it without him.”
I whole heartedly agree. It takes not two people committed, but three with Christ.
I’ll end with a prayer for you and your marriage.
Jesus, I ask that You be at the center of each marriage that is reading this today, that You draw them closer together as You draw them closer to You. May Your strength, love and forgiveness be upon each marriage. In your name. Amen.
source: All Verses are from the New Living Translation of the Bible