By Lori Clapper
Therefore, guard your passions! Keep faith with the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:15
After nearly 20 years of marriage, there is one thing I know.
There are so many things I did wrong.
Words that weren’t said, but should have been.
Words that were said, that might have been better kept to myself.
And the list could go on.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. In church, we have been studying the book of Malachi. I have to admit, I’m loving this Malachi dude. He minces no words; He was a prophet that called the children of Israel onto the carpet — big time.
And one thing he was animate about? Marriage.
You see, the Mosaic law made “special provisions” for divorce, which made it relatively easy for the Hebrews end their marriages for any reason. (needless to say, it was running rampant.)
He said Therefore, guard your passions! Keep faith with the wife of your youth. (Of course, Malachi lived in a patriarchal culture, but this goes both ways, ladies.) Don’t just give up because you’re bored and want to trade your wife (or husband) in for a newer model.
Work at it. Guard your passions.
Bottom line: It’s vital that you put habits into practice now that will keep the fire burning in your marriage, learning to love each other more deeply - and honoring your marriage and God in the process.
How can you do that? Here are some simple marriage tips you can try.
Intimacy isn’t just physical, it’s intimate. In fact, praying together can be one of the most intimate times of your day. It’s a time to share your fears and your hopes with each other and approach the throne of God together to lay them at the feet of God. It’s pretty powerful.
Intimacy is, at its core, spiritual. When we strive to have spiritual intimacy - we feel closer in every other aspect of our relationship. We have committed to each other to pray in the morning before work... and before we go to sleep. We pray for each other, for our children, our struggles and for the upcoming day.
It’s well worth the few minutes to gain an eternal perspective in our marriage and in life.
Meet each other’s needs
Admittedly, my husband and I weren’t very good at this for much of our marriage.. Some of it was circumstance, when job situations practically led us to live separate lives to survive. He was going back to school for his teaching degree and working third shift; I worked in radio full time, which required me to work early mornings as well as after hours at events and remotes. We’d meet up once in awhile to make sure the other one was still alive.
It was last Fall when we realized we needed to re-group and re-commit to our marriage. We were getting too comfortable and frankly didn’t really know what each other needed. For so long, we tried to meet each others’ needs the way we would want OUR needs met.
Yeah. It doesn’t work that way.
So, we took the love language test. Now, this isn’t the “be-all, end-all” since we all need a little touch of all of the five love languages. But, it did help us grasp how to love each other more deeply.. It turns out, we were pretty much on opposite spectrums. He was dominantly “quality time,” while I was dominantly “gifts.” No wonder there was miscommunication and frustration.
So, based on those insights, here are some of the things we committed to:
Greg’s commitment to me:
Walks me out to the car in the morning - even through subzero temperatures and blinding snowstorms
Rolls over and holds me when the “first” alarm goes off in the morning
Sends me an encouraging text each morning at 7:50 AM so I’ll have it when I get to work
These are not material gifts - but thoughtful gifts of himself that he gives daily.
My commitment to Greg:
When I come home from work, I have a hard time “stopping,” getting wrapped up in my mounting to-do lists and the chaos of kids, dogs, and housework that should be done. -- all while still trying to take off my “work hat” and change gears. But I’ve committed to looking beyond the craziness and intentionally taking time for him alone. I am doing this by:
Committing to “stop” and and take joy in our time together
Making time for a “Sabbath,” when both of us rest
Taking time for devotions - every day
Even if I’m doing work or paying bills, I don’t hide away, we sit together.
This will certainly look different for you. So, think about what you can do - even small things - that will show your love and respect.
Take time away
When you have kids at home, it is really hard to get away. For one, you may not have the overnight babysitting resources. Not to mention, in a busy family life, it seems like there’s always something else that takes precedence. It’s all too easy to focus on grocery shopping, basketball practice or dance lessons…. and ignore the importance of time spent together. And before you know it, months pass by. I’ve been there.
So, if you haven’t already - make sure that “alone time” is part of your weekly routine.
No matter what, schedule a regular date night. Maybe it’s every week or every other week. Just mark it on the calendar! Or, when you can, steal time together, even if it’s only an hour. Greg and I now both take our youngest daughter to gymnastics practice. Since parents aren’t allowed in the gymnasium, we go to a nearby restaurant and just spend that time alone. It helps!
A weekend can be doable As mentioned, weekend getaways are a bit trickier, especially if you don’t have babysitting available. But you aren’t going away every weekend or even every month. Perhaps take one night away every three months. Go somewhere within a reasonable driving distance. Or just reserve a hotel room locally so you can just catch up on sleep! The important thing is that you are together, no matter what you decide to do.
Your marriage is a gift designed by God - just for you and your husband. It is a reflection of His love and affection for you. Feed it. Cherish it. Thank God for the amazing person He has placed in your care -- even on the worst of days.
Guard your passions.
God is passionate about your marriage, are you?
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Ann Van De Water 2 weeks ago
This is lovely Lori! I would love to share this one on my blog as well! Would you agree to send it over? I will post it~ This is great stuff, especially for newly marrieds...Talks about many of the things I mention in my blog posts! Thanks for sharing!
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Rebecca 2 months ago
This was nice to read and so necessary, too. Thank you for being so open. I like how the "gifts" that Greg gives you are so personal and not monetary. Things that anyone can do! One of the best gifts that you can give your children is a healthy marriage, so you and your husband are doing something very important for yourselves, your children and, most importantly, for God. Please pray for marriages.
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Every woman is an exceptional fabric weaved together by the love she gives away, the intelligence she possesses and presents, the problems she faces, the courage she musters, the skills and strengths within herself and from others that she can access, her unique personality, her creative outlets, and the faith she places in the God who created her.
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