By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
When teaching a marriage seminar I have been known to say, “You can always tell whether a couple in a restaurant is married or courting. The couple that is courting –are talking to each other, holding hands, and looking lovingly into the eyes of their partner. The married couple is staring silently at their plate while they eat.” When I say this most couples laugh -are embarrassed, and glance slightly at each other.
What happened to the ‘affection’ after they got married?
I realize you cannot build a lasting relationship on emotions alone. Success in marriage depends more on the will than on emotions. Emotions, like the tide, surge and wane based upon perceived circumstances.
Affection, the emotional side of love, however, is still very important since it brings to marriage the needed joy, excitement and expectancy. But what happens when the sizzle stops sizzling? Without it many marriages shrivel up and die.
As we try to restore affection back to our marriage, we should realize that some people are more affectionate than are other people. Also, certain people need more affection shown to them than others seem to need. Women are more constant showing affection, while men tend to need to withdraw into their ‘cave’ for short periods of time – but men will usually return. It is our responsibility to be patient and understanding of our partner and try to meet their unique needs.
The world will tell you that you have the right to have your needs met first. The Bible, however, teaches us that it is our responsibility to first meet the spiritual, sexual and emotional needs of our partner. In I Corinthians 7, it tells us that our bodies are not our own, but belong to our marriage partner.
If we follow God’s plan we will find that by meeting and fulfilling the needs of out spouse, our needs are also met. We soon learn that we cannot demand affection – even from our marriage partner – but we can cause a lot to happen if we are willing to take the lead in showing love.
Here are ten tried and true ideas:
- Flush anger and resentment daily. Ephesians 4:26
Learn to express your frustrations and concerns in a non-threatening way.
- Stay physically together.
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: Hebrews 13:4
Intimacy helps to keep stress and frustrations from building up. You cannot stay together emotionally by sleeping and living apart.
- Never stop courting.
Continue to do the little and unexpected things that caused you to fall in love in the first place.
- Never take your partner for granted.
Notice and compliment the little things they do for you. Nothing takes the spark out of marriage as the daily grind of living. Never let your marriage relationship become routine.
- Reach out and touch your partner often.
Pats and hugs should be and ongoing part of your relationship, and not just when you want to be physically satisfied. Affection starts in the kitchen if you want it in the bedroom.
- Let your children see you often give your partner appropriate hugs.
- Keep yourself physically attractive.
Your spouse deserves more effort than what you are willing to do for strangers at work.
- Be willing to put into words your emotional needs.
Talk of your needs to your partner without making him/her feel inadequate. Do not take for granted that he/she knows what your needs are.
- Remember: Affection does not start in the bedroom.
- Say “I love you” often – every day!
The success in marriage depends not so much in finding the right partner, but in being the right person for your partner.
Remember: the feelings of affection surge and wane – that is why love needs the security of marriage to sustain it. God gave us marriage to protect love – through life’s ebb and flow.
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