How about you? Do you and your spouse have a song? I'm not sure what today's youngsters are going to do with the current state of popular music. These old love songs have a way of expressing how we feel about each other in a way that we might not be able to otherwise.
Love songs often depict a dreamy state of love you hope will last forever; a love that won't ever change. But love can change in a marriage over time and invariably it does. Sometimes love becomes more passionate and other times it can seem to burn out. What about your marriage right now? Is it more passionate or is it fizzling out? I believe your love, your tenderness, and your passion should not diminish but should only increase as you experience the oneness that God intended in marriage.
When passion has diminished, what can you do to reignite it? Stick around!
Those of you who follow the Iveys at www.24kgoldmarriage.org have heard us talk about the five stages all relationships go through. It is natural to connect with someone during the "Romantic Stage' who looks good, feels good, sounds good, smells good and tastes good. Ahhhhh!
The dysfunctional hope is that the euphoria will last forever. You are on your best behavior all the time...your breath is fresh, your shave is recent, you have on clean underwear (because your Mom told you to in case you had to go to the hospital), you are attentive and polite. Folks who marry at this stage of relationship ALWAYS wake up not knowing to whom they are married. ALWAYS. I'm not kidding. As naturally as daylight follows dark, once you say I DO, the routines of making a life together set in. Stage two seeps in "The Power Struggle" and discord follows.
An AHA from Harville Hendrix, author of Safe Conversations states "Conflict is Growth Trying to Happen"...now that is a new thought. Learning how to embrace the power struggle and work through it on purpose is the key to maintaining the romantic relationship you started with. It takes lots of four letter words, like...work, hard work, much hard work and very much hard work.
All too many relationships die during or at the end of The Power Struggle Stage.
Only those couples who refuse to settle for ordinary and who learn how to move past The Power Struggle really thrive.
There are three other Stages relationships can go through if you'll go there.
AWARENESS: Questions to ask yourself when The Power Struggle becomes untenable.
Who has been the only person present in all my relationships?
What were the models I had growing up about how relationships are supposed to work?
What is it about ME that makes me less than a good relationship partner?
A clear and unvarnished review of these questions will lead you to openness to figure out what you have to do to BECOME and not just FIND a mate.
TRANSFORMATION: What do I need to DO differently?
Learn to speak to each other differently. Use I words and avoid generalities.
When your spouse is frustrated, instead of become reactive, view it as a window into his/her soul allowing you to see something that is not working and then look for creative ways to solve those frustrations.
Stop taking a hit on these frustrations.
Find out what blesses your spouse and do it often and do it well.
Learn your spouse's Love Language.
AGAPE: Learning how to love God's way...or as we often say, The Burger King approach:
That means that you are willing to love your spouse so that he/she can "Have it your way and right away."
Loving your spouse the way he/she wants to be loved and not necessarily the way you'd choose to.
One Final Note
There is work to be done. Get about it.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!