How to keep passion in a God-given marriage
Linda Nnene shares her thoughts on a passionate marriage and gives guidelines for keeping the spark in our relationships.
Passion, spark or whatever you want to call that sense of intense desire that couples experience usually in the early stages of their relationship is much more than just sexual. Many authors have written about limerence as something that frequently exists in the early stages of a relationship but tends to diminish or at times disappears altogether in couples that have been together for a while.
Couples who are in the peak of their love will have an outward display of their feelings by frequently seeking to connect with each other with a resultant passionate satisfying sexual experience. There exists an urgent and ongoing need to think of the person, spend time with them and make an effort to please them. Perhaps we need to look into our personal, individual experiences to understand passion within our marriages and what becomes of it.
There are the issues of life that inevitably arise that have the potential to derail romantic love. Career, finances, children, are guaranteed to present challenging situations that over time take our energy and focus such that we find ourselves falling short of the heights of passion which prevailed early in our relationship.
How do we process what we going through with our spouse? How can we keep the fires of passion alive?
Turn towards your spouse
I am learning to turn towards my husband rather than turning against. This is love in action. When we work together it leads to happiness and closeness.
Practice devotion together
As a couple we are blessed that we have common interests. A big one is singing together. We have always sung together. However, devotion/worship goes beyond this. It includes bible studies together and praying together. We discover that as we practise these consistently and place God in the centre of our relationship it is bound to flourish. If we have peace and love flowing through us we are more likely to be appreciative of our spouse rather than critical. With these feelings of positivity in us we are more likely to be loving and giving more. That is what knowing God and living in Him is about. With this passion increases.
If you are not doing this, this is something to consider. I, Linda, am still learning.
My husband always reminds me that when I get upset with him I need to resist from speaking negative words no matter how small, but think of those positive qualities he has and express them daily. In a nutshell, express positive feelings and compliments. Choose to love even in the hard days which will inevitably occur. We all need to remember that no one is perfect. We can use this as a basis to intercede for our spouse just as we recognise the need for grace to deal with our own imperfections.
Matthew 19:6 states that we are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together let no man separate. When there is a disagreement we must decide to foster goodwill because every marriage will have disagreements. Let us strive to understand our spouse’s perspective.
One thing that is a complete turn off and passion killer is threatening your spouse with retribution or divorce. No matter how bad an argument is do not bring that word into your discussion or argument.
Nurture emotional trust and be vulnerable
Why hide your feelings? Real intimacy means we render ourselves emotionally exposed and that can be scary. However it is important to share those fears or emotions with your spouse. They may not understand at that moment, but it does not mean they will never do so.
Desire a rich sexual connection
Sex should not just be an obligation. It should be a great pleasure that we can experience with our spouse. It should not just be limited to the missionary position in the bedroom. God made our marriage a safe place for married couples to discover, experiment, laugh and love through satisfying and even sensational sex.
1 Corinthians 7: 2-5 clearly gives us the instruction. “…each woman should have her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights and likewise the wife to her husband…” Proverbs 5: 15-19 also makes it quite clear. “…and rejoice in the wife of your youth…be intoxicated always in her love.”
Passion should remain in marriage and one could argue that the longer a couple is together the greater the opportunity to express passionate love.
Closeness and communication
Communicate through honest discussion, and desire to connect emotionally and physically. One of the vital non-sexual stimulus in a marriage is the ability to create unrestricted conversation regarding worries or apprehensions. Sometimes these issues may be difficult topics, for example, in-laws, finance, household tasks and responsibilities. We must know when to let go, take a break and come back perhaps later.
Kiss every night before you go to bed and before you leave in the morning and several times in between as well!
Create a deep sense of intimacy by ensuring that when you kiss, other parts of your bodies touch. You are not kissing a stranger, so therefore practise physical reconnect. This creates passion and quite frankly increases physical affection. Hold hands and touching can release oxytocin which causes a soothing sensation. Learn to slow dance. Read Song of Solomon - it really gives us insight to passion! The best way to keep our marriage fulfilling and passionate is to create acts to enhance our deep love and intimacy as a couple.
Have fun and laughter
Laugh together, you will not regret this. Learn to hang out with your spouse and laugh at jokes. When I have had a bad day, I can trust that when I get home there will be laughter to make me forget ‘my bad day’. Our children have taught us how to watch vines on social media. Some of these are funny. Just laugh together.
Create an open-ended dialogue regarding apprehensions
Don’t be surprised if some of your discussions are heated – especially around hot-button issues such as money, chores, vacations, in-laws, etc. The key to a successful marriage is knowing when to let scorching issues go and being able to pause when you feel overwhelmed.
Resolve conflicts quickly
Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. Passion in a marriage also means reconnecting and repairing after conflicts arise. Anger and resentment can destroy our marriage. Therefore, we must always make that difficult decision to always reconnect before going to bed. When I have carried conflict to bed I am giving the enemy my heart to sow discord and I begin to stew over things. This is not good and entirely unacceptable to God.
Ephesians 4:26-27 clearly tells us: “Be angry and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Learning ways to reconnect after a disagreement will enhance your passion and fortify your marriage.
Marriage is not a time to coast. We must learn to spend time with our spouses in new ways. We call it investing in our relationship. For instance, encourage a common interest, because shared experiences improve marriages and deepen friendship. Many spouses have a regular date night so make the night special, try doing something different, use different ways to say, “I love you”.
Go on regular getaways – there are often reasonably priced packages available in lovely destinations. Get away purely for unhurried time together. After all, after Jesus fed the multitudes he left for the mountain to pray. Prayer means talking to God. Communication, drawing close to God. This is true of our relationship. We need time to get away and communicate, get to know one another, reconnect. An unhurried time together.
In summary, learn how to honour God in your marriage, communicate better, resolve conflict and recommit to your spouse. A virtuous marriage requires vulnerability to succeed. Responding wholeheartedly to your spouse’s approaches will help you bring out the best in one another.
Ike and Linda Nnene live in Norwich and worship at Soul Church. Ike is a GP and Linda is a teacher at CNS School, and they are both passionate gospel musicians. They have a passion for marriage, family, wellness and personal development training.
They have a blog called Power and Beauty - www.ikeandlinda.org
To find out more e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive and good-natured debate between website users.