Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Make More Room

The last couple of weeks have been very busy for me and I’ve been on the road / in the air more than my normal travel schedule. I’m writing this on my way back from one of such travels.

I was just thinking about my wife and the bliss we have enjoyed over the years. We are not a perfect couple. We’ve had our share of challenges - but they’ve been very few and very far apart. There are “rooms” in and around 'our house' that we’ve paid attention to that I’d like to share briefly on the things that have helped. May I?

The Upper room: Spiritual Connection

In my opinion, this is the room mostly neglected by couples. The busy schedules of life take a toll and they don’t have time to connect with God on a regular basis, first as individuals and then as a couple.  I know of no faster way to drift apart than this! Read this slowly and carefully - Your personal intimacy with God will overflow into your shared intimacy with your partner. Your commitment to developing a personal relationship with God is the greatest investment in your marriage. The love of God cannot be overflowing in your heart and not flow to your spouse. When the love of God is shed abroad in your heart, it overflows to others.

Not only do I encourage a personal connection with God, but I also recommend you both do so on a regular basis. At least once a week (ideally more), pray together with your spouse. Study the word of God together. Listen to a message together. Share new learnings from the Bible and from books you are reading. Share a prayer point and agree together in prayer. You’d be amazed at the power you both bring - Together.

The Ballroom: Emotional/ Romantic Connection

This is a very important part of fueling the marital passion. It speaks of showing love, care, and attention to your spouse in the way to want to be loved. A ballroom is a place of fun. Have fun with your spouse. When last did you both really laugh out loud together? Don’t be too serious with your spouse all the time. Everything can’t be about planning, balancing accounts, and talking about the future or about the kids! Enjoy the moment together. Enjoy today’s sunshine while you prepare for tomorrow’s rain. Take your wife out to see a movie or on a date night. Follow your husband to watch his favorite sport. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be romantic and fun!

Please make it a priority to be mindful of your spouses’ emotional well-being. Emotional intimacy can be experienced in shared fun, daily love-communicating behaviors, weekly interactive date nights to keep knowing one another, and expressing affirmations for how you serve one other. Speak your spouse’s love language while communicating love.

For the guys especially, please pay attention to talk time. Find time during the day to listen (in order to understand thoughts and feelings, and not to proffer solutions) to your wife. Pay full attention and get rid of all distractions ( phones for example). Try investing 30 mins at least 3 times in a week to doing this, and you’d thank me later.

The Boardroom - “Brainpower” Connection

The boardroom is where important business decisions are made. It’s a place where your mind and brainpower are utilized. It’s common to see couples drifting apart mentally. While one is developing his/ her mind, the other is lagging way behind. This soon causes a problem as they are on different reasoning wavelength. I encourage couples to devote time together for problem-solving. Look at your financial goals together and “think through” possible solutions. There is a connection that comes from solving problems together. Don’t underestimate the brain power of your spouse and if you have reasons to, then, you’ve got work to do - help them develop and improve it!

When you work together this way, you are combining strong analytic and logical reasoning, spiced with “gut feel” and heart. It’s a winning combination. Please remember that you are a team, not competitors.

The Bedroom - Intimacy Connection

I have deliberately put this last. This is the place of physical and sexual intimacy with your spouse and it’s an awesome room, with tremendous power. Sexual intimacy is something God designed for marriages - yours inclusive. You are to derive joy and pleasure from it.

Someone said that a good marriage is a friendship with a lot of passion. I believe him. One of the major casualties of the harried pace of modern marriage is the loss of sexual intimacy. It is too high a price to pay, honestly.

“The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality, the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to stand up for your rights. Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out." 1 Cor 7:3 MSG
Maintaining your physical connection gives your marriage staying power and protects it from the stresses of life. Create time either spontaneously or planned, to follow through with regular sex and intimacy. Your sexual relationship should be a tension reducer, not a tension producer.

One of the problems I have seen here is selfishness. When a spouse is just thinking of his/ her own needs without due consideration for the needs of the other, then sexual intimacy becomes a drag and at best a matter of duty. This takes away the shine. When done with a selfless attitude, with the aim of pleasuring the other party, pleasure eventually comes to you as well.

Pay great attention to this room, and “decorate” it with all manners of ornaments. Be creative with it, and seek for continuous improvement. Be open-minded and willing to learn, especially from your spouse.

It is my prayer and desire that you’d make more room in the coming days and months for the things that will make your marriage and home much better.