Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Our society is doing a very poor job in teaching boys to be men, and teaching men to be husbands. We elevate rugged individuals, loners who will do whatever it takes to get the job done for the sake of a job or to win a game. Relationally the message seems to always be “make yourself happy.” Find someone who will love you for you, who won’t try and change you. Advertisements abound for products that will make you “irresistible,” removing the possibility you will have to work for a fulfilling romance. Media continues to show a very narrow range of male characters, few of them have any redeeming qualities. Husbands and fathers are almost always portrayed as buffoons with eye rolling, long-suffering wives. Where are images of men sacrificing? Of men serving? Of men loving in any real, tangible, Godly way? We are given this picture very clearly in Ephesians 5:25, 28-29:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...
In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does the church

Are we are loving our wives like that? Jesus’ work was completely for the church. In our own lives, and in respect to our marriages that is not always possible. Yes, we work to support our families but is all our work to the betterment of our wives, all for the building up of our unions? Probably not. This is not wrong in and of itself, but if we are placing work above our spouse on our priority list, there is a problem. Men who constantly feel they need to work at the expense of their marriage need to examine their priorities, and question what is really important. Our households, our families, our wives must come before work. We vowed to love, honor and cherish our spouses. We made no such vows to bosses, businesses or career goals. This same point holds true for other things; ministry and missions, volunteer service, hobbies and other interests are a problem if we are neglecting our wives to pursue them.

There will be times when what we have to do for the health of our marriages will be uncomfortable, or unpleasant. There are times fulfilling those vows will be painful, where they will exact a high cost. We must do them anyway. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus was faced with a defining moment in his ministry. Knowing that he must go to suffer and die, he prayed fervently, sweating blood and asking that God find another way. Throwing himself to the ground he cried out (in Matthew 26:39)

Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me

It is one of the most human moments in the entire story of Christ’s time on Earth, but as an illustration that he was no ordinary man, he continues:

yet not what I want but what you want.

Jesus accepts God’s will, and does what is necessary to carry out God’s plan. He has faith that plan is perfect, even though it will cost him everything. He goes forth with dignity, willingly paying the utmost price. Jesus gave his life for his bride. Would you do the same? Are you choosing - daily - to lay down your life for the woman you chose to marry?

Jesus loved the church by giving his all for it. He led his bride by always putting her needs before his own, even when faced with the ultimate cost. We as husbands are called to do no less for our wives. Her needs, and the welfare of our marriages must come first, must take priority over work, over service, over hobbies, over family, friends or any other earthly relationship. God must take first place in our lives, but our wives are next. (And of course it is only through the first relationship that we are able to honor the second.)

The second part of the verse calls  us to love our wives like we love ourselves. “No one hates their own body,” we are told, “but nourishes and tenderly cares for it.” In the context of marriage this makes perfect sense. Two individuals become one flesh. What we do to our spouse, we do to ourselves. Are you nourishing and tenderly caring for your wife? Are you building her up and encouraging her? Or are you breaking her down? Insulting her? Criticizing, demeaning or mocking her? Are you sarcastic, belittling or condescending in how you talk to her? If so, you need to stop. Now.

You need to ask her forgiveness, search your heart, and remember the vows you made. You need to recommit yourself to fulfill them. Here is a simple litmus test:

If your wife does not say that you are the best thing that ever happened to her, you are failing as a husband and a man. Humble yourself before her, and vow to try harder. Starting today. And don’t worry about how long it’s been since you were on the right track. Don’t ever think that it’s too late to start over, to love your wife the way you are called to and have the marriage you both long for. Take comfort in God’s word spoken through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:12, 25)

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten"

Monday, November 11, 2013

Play To Win

When I used to ride my mountain bike a lot, I discovered something: steep descents can be nerve-wracking. They are scary, causing visions of contusions and concussions, bloody knees and broken bones to dance in your head. What I discovered is, paradoxically, the more you try to  be careful, the greater your chance to crash and burn. Hesitancy causes as many wipeouts as the terrain. Not committing, second guessing your path, killing your momentum with ill-timed braking when you would have just flown right over an obstacle, these all can put you in painful contact with the scenery.

I enjoy football too, and there is something that always drives me crazy: when your team is leading, their opponent has the ball, the game is winding down - and your team goes into the (dreaded) PREVENT DEFENSE. It’s a scheme that is supposed to “bend but not break;” it is designed to preserve the win. What it really does is let the opposition march down the field 10-15 yards at a time, giving them a shot to win. While it is meant to prevent the other team from scoring, it manages to let them get into position to do just that! My dad and I always said (in venom-dripping tones of anger and disgust) that “all the prevent defense prevents... IS YOU FROM WINNING.”

Both of these examples highlight an important truth in sport, in life, and in relationships. When you play “not to lose,” it’s nearly impossible to win. The lack of commitment kills the chance to succeed. The Israelites played not to lose against Goliath, and how’d that work? They were shamed by a boy who played to win, a boy who had faith that with God, he could not fail. Playing not to lose acknowledges losing as a possibility or, put another way, it shows a lack of faith in your ability to win. Focusing on the negative can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

God has a plan for our marriages, and that plan is definitely for both spouses “to win.” However we, as the players, need to implement his plan, make it a reality. Luckily for us, the whole game plan is laid out in the Bible, from the Song of Solomon to Ephesians, Psalms to 1 Corinthians. That’s not to say it’s easy. Often we think that we can do things our way and still have it work. Despite being implored to not rely on our own understanding, or to be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:5,7) we still believe we know better than our creator. We know we are called to forgive but we don’t want to seem weak, so we withhold forgiveness. We hold grudges thinking to punish those who hurt us. We know we are called to love unconditionally as Jesus loved us, but we want what we want, so we make our affection conditional (often without even informing our spouse of what those conditions are). What we are called to do is the opposite. To approach our marriage not for what we can get from it, from our spouse, but what we can give. We need to go out of our way to learn everything about our spouses, and with that knowledge choose to love them like they need, like only we can. What we need to do is believe that God’s promises are real. We need to believe that doing marriage God’s way will lead to our unions being blessed.

The things we are called to do are risky. They make us vulnerable, and open the very real possibility that we will get hurt. If our efforts are not being reciprocated, it can be draining. Paul tells us though, Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. (Galatians 6:9) When we try to protect ourselves, we hold back. We aren’t completely committed. In so doing we fall short of God’s plan. It’s playing not to lose. And we won’t win.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


If we are to take every thought captive, and make it obedient to Christ (per 2 Corinthians 10:5) what does that entail? If we are going to have every thought work towards increasing intimacy in our marriages, what does that mean? To understand, we need to look at the word “intimacy.” The Oxford English dictionary lists several definitions, including “closely acquainted; familiar” “involving a very close connection” and “detailed or thorough.” The word first came into usage in the early 17th century says the OED, and is from the Latin intimatus, past participle of intimare - to impress, or make familiar. That comes from intimus or “inmost.” Looking at the Latin roots it is not surprising that in their book Beyond Ordinary, authors Justin and Trisha Davis claim that intimate means “to be fully known.”

There is also the euphemistic definition of “having a sexual relationship,” which in the terms of marriage discussions tends to be the one assumed. After all, that’s what it means to be “known in the Biblical sense.” Reducing intimacy to just a physical component, though, sells the word short. If you take the Davis’ assumption that the meaning is to be fully known, it obviously has to encompass more than sex.

In their book Stripped Down (13 Keys to Unlock Intimacy in Your Marriage) Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo posit that there are six main types of Intimacy:

Emotional This has to do with a sharing of feelings and desires. Are you honest enough with yourself to really know what these are? Is your marriage a place where they can be discussed openly and honestly?
Intellectual Are you and your spouse on the same page with the big issues in your marriage? From raising children, to ministry, to goals that you share, these are important to discuss at the outset of your lives together, and revisit them regularly. As time goes by, the things you focus on  may change.
Spiritual Do you and your spouse share the same faith and beliefs? Do you pray together? Can you have meaningful discussions on the important matters of being human?
Recreational Do you and your spouse do things together? Do you play the same games, enjoy going out to similar places? You don’t need to have identical interests, but finding things you both enjoy doing together can go a long way to strengthening a marriage.
Financial This one will make some people cringe. It can be a very touchy subject. It, (along with the last one below) account for a disproportionately large percentage of arguments among married couples. It is extremely important though to be on the same page with regards to money matters. Do you have a budget? Long term goals? Do both spouses know what comes in and out each month? Can you talk about it?
Physical The one that immediately comes to mind when people hear “intimacy” but it means more than just sex. Holding hands, cuddling on the couch, long hugs in times of stress and passionate kisses before one or the other leaves for work all are included. Non-sexual touch goes a long way to strengthening the bond between spouses… and hey, sometimes it leads to the other kind, too.

Even this list of six types of intimacy is not exhaustive. Remember, the aim is to know each other completely, and humans are extremely complex, fearfully and wonderfully made. Think of how the God who created us knows each of us, as in written in Psalm 139:1-3:

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Not some of my ways, not most… all. Marriage is at it’s absolute best when spouses truly know each other. It takes dedication, over a lifetime, to continually seek to learn about the person you chose to spend that life with. We must never get complacent, must never think we know everything about our spouse. When it comes to how we can love each other, there is always more to learn.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Every Thought

In my last article, I challenged married couples to act; to DO something with knowledge gained or a lesson learned. I said that knowledge or wisdom without action is as dead as faith without works. Too often we leave valuable information in the hypothetical realm when it could be transforming our marriages, or indeed our lives. “Yeah that’s great advice” we may think. “That’s really insightful,” and it stays there. In theory. Just a thought.

In practice, time keeps rolling along, and our lives go on. We are too busy perhaps, to try something new or change part of our routine. “It might not work,” we think, “and then that time is lost! Better to just maintain the status quo.” So things don’t change - or they change for the worse as the world seeps in.

The world says “make yourself happy.” “What has he or she done for you lately?” “She doesn’t look like *this* or he doesn’t romance me like that.” “Marriage is boring, life is short, the grass is greener.” The enemy’s voice is all around us, whispering in our ears, poisoning our thoughts.

Perhaps the hardest work to do is to follow Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 10:5

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

We know what we should do. We’ve read the Bible.

- A kind word turns away wrath, but a hateful one stirs up anger.
- Wives, respect your husbands. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church, even giving Himself up for her.
- Do not withhold sexual relations from one another, unless by consent, for a time, to pray. Then come together again.
-and on, and on...

Paul implores us to take every thought captive. Not a few, not most. Every thought made obedient to Christ. That’s a tall order. I’ve often told myself that I can’t control what I think. It’s a by-product of my overactive imagination and creativity, I reason, what can I do? How then can I make my thoughts be obedient to anything? The answer is “with practice.” It is a discipline, a skill that must be exercised. It is a choice that must be made over and over, constantly, daily.

In the context of your marriage, think of how every thought could be obedient to Christ. That is, how could each thought be intent on strengthening your union, on deepening your love for your spouse, on increasing the intimacy between you?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Learn. Act. Share.

So, when I was struggling with marriage stuff, I read a lot; books on relationships, books on marriage, books on how to deal with stuff. At some point, my counsellor said that I knew a lot, in fact, I knew all I needed to find my answers, come to terms with - and get on with - my life. She told me I had probably read more relationship books than some counsellors, and I really needed to do something with that knowledge. I knew she was was right, and yet I kept looking for books I hadn’t read, angles I hadn’t looked at my situation from. I kept searching instead of doing anything. I had grown comfortable in my discomfort. I was not happy but at least my life was a known quantity. To DO something would mean things might change; hopefully for the better, but as in most things there were no guarantees. That was scary. What if things got worse? (Yes, this showed a clear lack of faith on my part, but that’s another article) I eventually started talking to my wife about what was bothering me, and we worked through it. That’s not what this article is about though.

My point here is twofold. It is not to avoid learning, to stop seeking after knowledge. Research is important, but then we must act. The wisdom we gain, the lessons we learn on our journey must be put to good use. To remain miserable even after we have acquired the tools to fix our situation would be the height of folly. Change is rarely easy, and often there is work to do (some serious) to enact positive change, to get us back on the path God has set before us; but it is up to us to do that work, to take those steps. As it says in James 2:20 about faith:

...wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

so too it is with knowledge, wisdom and experience: without the work to implement it, it does us no good. So, if you and your spouse do a devotional together, great. If you do a couples’ study together, awesome! Read a book as a couple, like  Gary Chapman’s “Love Languages”? Excellent! But... make sure you work together to DO the things you learn, to change your marriage for the better, to grow as a couple in love.

So we do, we heal, we change, we grow... then what?

I think we get very attached to the notion that our trials and tribulations, our pain and suffering - and even our successes and victories - are for and about us. This is not at all the case. There’s a saying in Latin: “Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.” It means “Your knowledge is nothing when no one knows you know it.”

It of course starts with us, but that is not where it should end. God blesses us so that we can bless others. In his Song of Solomon video series, Rev. Tommy Nelson beseeches couples that have weathered the storms of life to find younger couples and mentor them on how to keep love alive, how to stay Christ-centered in their relationship, and how to succeed despite all the forces that seek to erode and destroy a marriage.

Once I had stabilized myself, my counsellor asked “Now what?” What else could I do with the knowledge and experience I had gathered? I started writing, and you are reading the result of that, some three years later! I thank God He is still giving me things to say.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Them's the Breaks (or Take One)

Life is always crazy for parents with kids towards the end of the school year, and ours has been no exception. Recitals, rehearsals, end of year parties, and on and on and on. So last Saturday, despite having other things to do, we packed up the kids and headed to the beach. Sure, it was on our “to-do” list to buy our beach badges, so we crossed that off - and then stayed. For a few hours. As the kids jumped in and out of the ocean, my wife and I walked up and down the beach, skipping shells, finding sea glass and talking. The sounds of the surf and gulls were seriously relaxing. After walking we crashed on the blanket, and just lay there.

Sure, once we got home it was chaos again as we had to get everyone clean, prepare a dish and rush off to yet another gathering, but it was so worth it to have those few hours to do nothing but spend with each other.

Breaks are important. Of course that’s why God commands us to keep holy the Sabbath, but even our Sundays can tend to get away from us. My challenge to all you married folks this month is to look at your schedules, and cross something off. Say no to something so you can say yes to your spouse, whatever that might mean. In his book Love Does,  Bob Goff talks about a peculiar habit he has: every Thursday, he quits something. They might be good things, he explains, but he does this to make more time for God to work in his life in new ways. What can you quit to make room for God to work in your marriage? What you can say no to, or erase from your calendar to allow you and your spouse time together to reconnect and strengthen your bond? They might be good things, or even important things, but are they more important than your marriage? Is anything?

It is so easy to let your marriage fall to the bottom of your “to-do” list. We forget in the hustle and bustle that being married is not a state of being but it is something we must do every day. It is a choice we must make - to serve, to love - continuously, despite whatever else we have on our plate. Whatever that is for you, chances are it will still be there later. The house cleaning, the laundry... even if you did them, you’d just have to do them again. Those Facebook messages and emails will still be on your wall or in your in-box. Work will be an excuse that lots will use, but consider this verse from Ecclesiastes 5:12

The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep.

Is it the labor that is sweet? No, but the “rest of the laborer.” As for what you get if you choose to keep working? You may earn more, sure, but you wind up with less time with your wife and family, plus insomnia! Not a great deal, when you think about it in those terms.

So you may have noticed that there was no Marriage Moment article last month...

I was taking a break.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


A marriage done right is an incredible blessing to both spouses. It can be like armor, serving to protect the couple from loneliness, frustration and temptation. It also serves as a picture to the world of the love God has for all creation. For that reason, whenever there is hardship (and there will be hardship; even loving, God centered unions are not exempt) Satan will whisper his lies, seeking to drive a wedge between you and your spouse. It is critical when times are tough that you cling to the one flesh you and your spouse have become (Genesis 2:24). Tough times have the capacity to drive a couple apart if their union does not have God at its core, but if they do, trouble can bring them even closer, make their bond stronger and their love deeper. Successes won together are sweeter, and with God they are nearly assured. Ecclesiastes 4:12b: A cord of three strands (husband, wife and god) is not easily broken. This world, however, doesn’t want your marriage to succeed; society in many ways sides with Satan. I’m not just talking about the cadres of divorce lawyers waiting to make a buck on failed marriages; think of advertising executives. Most advertising is based on one simple idea: if they can make you think you are unhappy without their product, you will be compelled to buy it. Commercials for men’s products almost exclusively imply “if you buy >insert product here< then chicks will dig you.” Read Proverbs 5:18-19: May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Does that husband care if a new car will turn the head of some random girl on the street? Think about how, um, happy those women are in the shower with that brand of shampoo; a woman who has a husband that regularly blows her mind with his attentiveness and efforts in love and romance can say “I have no need of that product.” How many books would the “Shades of Grey” author have sold if every wife was fulfilled in her own bedroom by the man she married? Song of Solomon 2:3-4 says: Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. Is that woman looking to fiction, or hygiene products, to satisfy her desires? When times are tough, it’s easy to stop trying to make marriage work.. Work demands more time, financial stress saps your energy and joy. Make the choice to love anyway. Keep communicating, even if it is just to let your spouse know that you’re struggling. Honesty and vulnerability when you are down leads to deeper understanding, which fosters greater intimacy and love. If both of you are struggling, cling tightly to each other. Shared struggle and pain can forge strong lasting, bonds; think of soldiers who fought together, or even a sports team making a push for a playoff spot. The key is to know you are in it together, no matter what happens. There is no quit, no out. Starting there, you can use the knowledge that it is “just you two against the world” to foster a sense of teamwork, of camaraderie, of oneness in mind, heart and spirit.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Have you ever failed at something? If you answered no, you ARE human, right? If so, I suspect you might be lying. More specifically, have you ever failed at something in your marriage? I have. Often.

It happens, folks. We are all human, with the finite fallibility that implies. We will fail, over and over again. That’s a depressing way to start a marriage article, but my point is this:

We all need to allow ourselves to be human. We are going to fail, but when we do, we don’t need to beat ourselves up. We don’t need to be angry at ourselves, or be dispirited, and by all means we must not quit. Bob Goff talks about this in his book, Love Does.

Failure is just part of the process, and it’s not just okay; it’s better than okay. God doesn’t want failure to shut us down. God didn’t make it a three strike and you’re out sort of thing. It’s more about how God helps us dust ourselves off and swing for the fences again. And all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw ups.

We need to accept that we are not perfect, even as we strive to follow Jesus’ examples of how to love. In all humility, when we fall short we need to realize how much we need God, that only in him can we begin to love as we ought.

"We need to accept that our spouses aren’t perfect, and strive to show them the grace and forgiveness that God gives us. If our brother is due forgiveness seventy times seven times, (Matthew 18:22) how much more so our spouses? Again, with humility we need to see our own failings when our spouses disappoint us, and realize that we need the same grace and forgiveness we are called to give."

God says in 2 Corinthians 12:9

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Do we believe that? Do we truly grasp what that means? It means we are free. We don’t have to be perfect - which is a huge relief, since we can’t! We need only to rely on God, and seek him and his will, not just for our marriages but our lives. When we are deeply invested in his word and its implications for us, we can rest easy. Consider these verses:

For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. - Acts 5:38
For no word from God will ever fail. - Luke 1:37

What are you relying on?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Seek Godly counsel

“Misery loves company.“

The old adage has a lot of truth to it. When we are down we desire comfort, and few things bring a married person down more than marital discord. When we seek comfort in these situations though, it can lead us to seek out not the people who will give us the best advice, but rather the advice we want to hear. Also dangerous is the fact that modern society makes it hip to bash the institution of marriage. Complaining to friends about one’s spouse is constant fodder in movies, sit-coms, and comedy routines. It has become too easy, too acceptable to talk about your marriage problems to people who have no interest in helping you solve them. At best this is unhelpful - and at worst it can be destructive. If you are complaining about your spouse, your account is slanted to your point of view. Your friends will more than likely side with you, and it quickly becomes a downward spiral that leaves you convinced you are right, or have been wronged. When that happens, there is little chance there will be room in your heart for grace, forgiveness and humility when you and your spouse are together again.

Those traits - grace, forgiveness and humility - are the keys to effective problem solving. They are the hallmarks of God’s kingdom, which we are implored to strive for in Matthew 6:33.  “Seek first his kingdom, and His righteousness.” You must talk to your spouse first if there is an issue to resolve. Sometimes though, problems are too big, hurts run too deep, for a couple to effectively work out on their own. If you must talk to a third party be sure and seek out someone who will give you honest advice from a Godly perspective, and not just someone you know will agree with your take on the problem. Obviously, it is not easy to talk about problems in your marriage with just anyone, so this underscores the need to be in a strong, Christian community. When there are people in your life that you regularly study God’s word with, they are able to give you an objective viewpoint, one grounded in Biblical truth. In James 5:16 we are called to “confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another that we may be healed.” None of us is meant to take on our problems in isolation. It is easy when we struggle to believe that we are all alone, that no one could understand exactly  what we are going through. These thoughts are Satan’s lies at work on our flawed selves! Being in an active community of believers gives you a network in which you don’t have to be alone.

In Galatians 6:1-3 we are implored to not only “bear one another’s burdens” but also to “restore in a spirit of gentleness a brother or sister caught in any trespass.” The love we share in community goes both ways; we are there to be supported, but also to support our brothers and sisters in Christ as there is need. For those of you in strong, healthy marriages, be relationship mentors to a young couple. Honestly share your wisdom, your experiences. Show them how God has blessed you, and why His plans for couples are for the best. Work towards strengthening other marriages, and you will also bless your own!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Quantity vs. Quality

In the book “Art and Fear” there is a passage about a ceramics class. The professor split the class into two; one half was to be graded on quantity. At the end of the class their finished works would be weighed. If they had 50 pounds, they got an A, 40 pounds got a B, and so on. The other group was to be graded on quality. They had to produce only one pot, but to get an A it had to be perfect...

Well, come grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity!
It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

Thomas Edison, when questioned about all his failures while trying to create a working incandescent light bulb said this:

I have not failed; I've just found 10,000 ways that didn't work.

How does this apply to marriage? What activities do you do too carefully, afraid to fail, trying too hard to be perfect? If you’ve been chastised for doing something “wrong” before, you might be unwilling to do it again. Remember that failure is just a chance to learn, and thus to grow. Take criticisms as constructive, and try to get into your spouse’s head. What do they want? What do they expect, or hope for? If it’s not obvious, ASK! Start a dialogue. If it strays away from the subject at hand... that’s fine. Your goal should always be to learn more, that you might love better.

Here’s a case study. Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo do a podcast about marriage, which can be found here:  http://www.oneextraordinarymarriage.com/category/podcast

They talk from a Christian point of view, so it’s refreshing that they are so open and honest about physical intimacy among other topics. Their first episode was about something that completely changed their marriage, maybe even saved it. They were leading a couples’ small group study, and decided to challenge themselves to make love - for sixty straight days. Now, some of you just laughed, some snorted, some cringed... and some raised an eyebrow, or both. They admit to “only” doing it for 40 of the 60 days, but they tell about how their communication skills - in AND out of the bedroom - drastically improved, and (after a month of recovery) their sex life did too.

If you’re committed to the challenge, “same old” is going to get boring pretty quickly. You’ll have to expand your horizons, talk about and try new things to keep going. Some of these efforts will fail, and as a result you will learn. And grow. Too often, we shy away from suggesting anything new or different out of fear; fear that failure will lead to disappointment and future rejection. Too often we settle instead of strive to avoid the pain that failure can cause. We need to remain firm in our commitment to our spouse, seeking to serve even when one or both are struggling. Consider Job 34:4. As they are trying to figure out Job’s tough situation, Elihu says:

Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good

Ourselves; plural. Together. Take the same attitude with your spouse. In all types of intimacy, physical and otherwise, never stop exploring each other and experimenting. When things don’t work, talk. Apologize if necessary, laugh with each other when possible, and keep moving forward! Inevitably, things will come up; whether it be emotional scars from the past, or views about things that you may have never shared. All of these can serve to bring the two of you closer if they are discussed vulnerably and transparently, with love not judgement; with grace. As Paul wrote in Phillipians 1:30

We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.

Even now that you are one flesh, each of you still have your own issues. Work through them as a team. It will take time; as I’ve said before, a human soul is complex. We marry for life because it takes that long to get to know one another fully. The rewards though are amazing. Thomas Edison again:

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Don’t ever give up.