When I think of sticky things, items like gum, glue, Velcro and tape come to mind. For some reason, gum stuck on the bottom of a shoe sticks out to me. Must be the idea of the gum that is pressed into the grooves of the bottom of a tennis shoe and then sticks to the floor mats of my car, stretching in long pieces as not wanting to release. Sticky stuff adheres. It bonds in such as way that it does not come apart easily.
Marriages need to be “STICKY!”
Unfortunately, in our culture today, marriage is not cherished as it once was. Marriages fall to divorce more often than remaining married. Why are we not “sticking” it out? What has happened in our culture that we find people walking away when the glue loosens verses trying to reapply stickiness?
Maybe, it is just me? But I think the statistics are with me. What is even more disturbing is that about the same number of people who check the box Christian are getting divorced compared to those who are not checking the box Christian. I believe a contributing factor is that more non-Christians are living together verses getting married; where as those who are Christians do not believe in living together, so they get married, but then later decide the shoe did not fit and well they return it. Either way, living together or divorced, is not how God intended marriage to be. (Let me make a statement, that I do not think less or point fingers at those who have been divorced. I do not know your personal story or struggle. I am simply stating, that divorce was not part of God’s plan. )
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel.” (Malachi 2:16)
“Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home.” (Proverbs 27:8)
Instead of focusing on all the wrongs, ifs, ands and buts, I want to talk about what we can do to make love stick and keep marriages stuck together like gum on a shoe.
1) Do the things that you did at first.
What did you do when you first met? You dated, you called often and probably talked a lot. You prioritized your time so that you could find gaps and spaces where you could spend time together. Now, I am no young chicken on the coop, I will be married 11 years this summer, so I totally understand that someone has to work to pay bills, kids are born and require your energy, time, money, etc., commitments to church and other activities fall into the twenty four hour time slots given daily in a seven day week. But, there has to be time carved out where your significant other is the spotlight for a set period of time in your life. Nothing else on the clock, but him or her! Pursuit captured the heart of your husband or wife. You need to stay in pursuit even once your married.
My hubby and I actually type the word DATE on our calendar as soon as we get his work schedule, so that we know there is a time that is established for just us. Sure, it isn’t always weekly, sometimes bi-weekly and around holidays one time in a month, but it is something that I look forward to and a day that is not allowed to be “trumped” by something else.
2) Do something different.
As people, we like to try something new. Some type of excitement and adrenaline rushes in when we decide to do something different. If you always buy flowers for Valentine’s Day, go buy something else! Do something he/she least expects. Think out of the box. Need some examples? Okay, I can help!
Why not write him/her a love letter instead of buying him/ her a card this year? Or pick out and buy her a new dress and shoes without her knowing, placing a card on top that says, “Open me.” Leave it where she can easily find it and open after you have left for work. On the inside of the box, have another card that says, “I will pick you up at (name the time.)” Remember to make the dinner reservation at a favorite spot or somewhere new. Gals, you can do something different, too! Remember I am part of our sisterhood, but let me just say this. Your guy is with you because he fell in love with you. Be sure to keep him interested and do something different! If you normally shut yourself in your bedroom while he watches ESPN for the fifth time, why not join him instead? Or plan a day away with just him doing things he loves even going places that are reminiscent of your early years of dating. The thought that went into the planning will be worth more than the date itself. Thoughts carefully planned and executed are worth more than things given because of a last minute decision (aka: Drug Store chocolate roses).
“Take me away with you! Let’s run off together! An elopement with my King-Lover! We’ll celebrate, we’ll sing, we’ll make great music. Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine.” (Song of Solomon 1:4, The Message)
3) Have sex.
Yes, yes, some ladies are just shaking their heads. I am still part of the sisterhood and am right there with you. But here is the truth, it is a natural desire for guys to want to have sex. God designed it. Sex is a beautiful thing in the right context. Husbands desire respect and when we say, “No, I have a headache,” we are rejecting them. Begging to go buy new shoes is not my idea of fun. I just want a “Yes, dear.” When he has to beg for sex and we say, “No,” it is a stab of rejection.
Listen, girls, he loves you. He is still with you, because he loves you. Doesn’t matter if you have gained weight, lost weight or are even sagging in some places these days. He is not in love with what you look like, but rather with the heart of who you are. I have read that when couples are arguing, they should lie down, because it brings the level of stress down as well as the voices. Tensions lower when you lie down. When you lie next to you significant other, there is something that sparks when skin touches skin. There is a bond that strengthens when two people who love each other connect in a way that only sex can do. I am not saying it is an every day occurrence, but it should happen more than us gals think it should. Even though we don’t think about it daily (okay, at least most of us females) that does not mean the males in our lives don’t. They think about it way more than we even know. Maybe you just need to establish “PAY DAY,” for him. Let him know that his “PAY DAY’S” are Tues, Friday and Sunday this week. He will have something to look forward to and you can prepare yourself, because we all know that ladies are crock pots and men are microwaves.
4) Implement pillow talk.
Turn off the television in the bedroom, matter of fact, I suggest removing it, period. I have found my most intimate, free, safe, intriguing conversations between Larry and I are at night time. When we are both laying down, heads on our pillows at the end of the day and there is a release of conversation in those quiet moments. Sometimes we say alot, sometimes we say little. But it is like a safe haven where two hearts can lay bare and open and just be free. It is also when I can study his face, his features, his eyes and look into his heart and mind and vice versa. Non verbals can say more than what we verbally say aloud. If you are not engaging in pillow talk, I strongly suggest you make it part of your night time routine. No agenda needed, just two people in love with pillows to rest their heads. Look into each others eyes, see the love, admiration and longing. Hold each other and feel the warmth of the embrace melt your heart and stir the butterflies in your stomach once again. Husbands, be gentlemen, let your girl know there is no one else but her in your life and she holds the key to your heart. Ask questions from simple to complex. When one is staring into space, care to know what is on their mind. Communication, openness and sharing is key in pouring the glue that bonds two hearts together. Remember to listen.
There will be tough times in our marriages. Things will happen, trials will arrive at our doorstep and waves will feel like they are going to capsize the boat. Do not doubt, for one minute, that it has to be washed out to sea. That years of love and commitment will fly down the shoot. It does not have to be. When we face trials, let us cling to each other closer, remembering where we have been and where we are going. That despite the heaviness that lurks at our door, the devastation or tragedy that rang the doorbell, we are still two people who love each other and together we will get through today and the tomorrows. I beg of you do not give up. Hold on, the sun is coming up and the waves that are crashing over your head are about to subside. Your love will be stronger because you held on together going through this hard stuff. Take time and reflect on the growth of your love over a period of years; it can keep the stickiness strong and the binding of two hearts glued together.
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NLT)
“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3, NLT)
This Valentine’s Day, take time and read Song of Solomon, especially if you have never read it before. May it be a passionate, romantic and a gluing experience for you and yours.