"How long have you been married?"
A young professor interrupted my talk at the University of Tennessee with that question, voiced in a sarcastic tone. I had just been telling the 300 faculty members and administrators how excited I was to be married and how I looked forward to a lifetime of happiness with my wife.
“Six months,” I replied.
He shot back, “Just wait and see how you talk after you’ve been married for five years!”
Suddenly a man in the back stood up and walked to the front. He was about 75 years old. (I learned later he was Roger Rusk, a highly respected professor at the university.)
He looked me square in the eye, then turned toward the vocal professor, leaned over, and said, “Mister, it gets better after fifty-five years!”
What Roger said is true. My relationship with Dottie is stronger, deeper, and more intimate now than I ever dreamed it could be, but this did not happen without continual cultivation. Here are a few suggestions on how to rekindle a marriage:
1. Be Grateful
The three words “I love you” say a lot. But the more your spouse understands what that truly means by seeing the evidence of it in your daily behavior, the greater intimacy you will experience.
Make it a practice to thank your spouse for who he or she is—for his or her qualities and character, and for becoming the loving person he or she now is. Express a heart of gratitude to the one you love, and do it often.
2. Enjoy Humor
“A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Humor is good for your health and good for your relationship.
At times I can feel the tension begin to rise. Dottie and I are about to have one of those conversations. Then it happens. One of us says something off the wall and ridiculous and the other one laughs. The tension is broken, and we often even forget what we were getting tense about. Humor defuses it all, and we realize just how much we enjoy each other.
Embrace humor as a constant companion in your relationship.
Often we treat some issues far more seriously than they deserve.
3. Be Spontaneous
Life can get routine, and your relationship can become common, comfortable, even a bit boring if you don’t inject spontaneity into it. Your love relationship is an adventure—treat it like one.
Try new things. Awaken that excited lover deep within you. It’s still in there—sometimes it just needs to be jarred loose. Try dancing in the rain. Roll around together in the grass. Go parking (I mean actually make out in your car). There is no scriptural mandate to enjoy sexual relationships only in a bedroom. Be discreet in your sex life, but be creative.
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Marriage is a journey, an adventure to lovingly connect with another person for a lifetime. You were created to love and be loved. Choose to love the one God has given you, and make this conscious decision every day.
Adapted from 10 Ways to Say “I Love You” by Josh McDowell
Delight in the unexpected “I love you” and learn some “happy habits” for your marriage in this blog post by dynamic author-duo Roger and Kathi Lipp.