An older house may need some restoration work in order to make it into a desirable place to live. Likewise, after some time, it becomes necessary in marriage to do some restoration work. Today, we will learn about some principles for restoring the love in your marriage. Everyone’s marriage is at different stages or conditions, but you can use these principles regardless to offer some restoration of love and commitment in your relationship.
1. Observe the Golden Rule
This is one of the most culturally overused principles, but it is a great one to use in your marriage. Although the Bible does not use the words “Golden Rule”. The principle itself is found within its pages.
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.Matthew 7:12
This is from one of the greatest sermons ever preached. It was preached by Jesus, and it is as relevant now as it was back then. In the context of the “therefore”, Jesus was talking about prayer and how God as our Heavenly Father wants to give good gifts to his children. So the principle is, that you should give to others, what you would want to receive from them. This is a principle translates perfectly to marriage.
Develop a list of the things that you want your spouse to do for you
Let’s begin this by being selfish. What are the things that you want your spouse to do for you? How do you want to be treated? Maybe you could write down these things, or just make a mental list in your mind. There are probably some things in your marriage that your mate is failing to do that are real obvious to you.
You may really want something as simple as a back-rub, or something as challenging as a weekend getaway. Whatever those things are, its OK to consider those things. Chances are, your list has a few main things at the top, but can go on for awhile.
Now you can flip the table and give those same things to your spouse to best of your ability. For example, you could offer a relaxing back-rub to your spouse. In giving yourself away you discover the real meaning of love.
Learn to study your spouse
Become a student of the person that you love. Notice the things that they like and want. The following are a few guidelines for studying your spouse.
When you are out shopping, notice what your spouse stops to look at
It is easy to become distracted in looking at the things you are interested in at the store. Stop and watch how your spouse reacts to things. in this way, you can find things that they want, without them telling you. It is incredibly intimate to be able to give your spouse something that they want, without them having to ask for it. It says that you care about what they want, and that you are interested in them.
You spend your money on things that you consider important to you. Before you spend money on you, spend it on your spouse first. This sends an unmistakable message to your spouse that you care about them. Moreover, this may have the bonus effect of prompting your spouse to give you those things that you want.
Pay attention to what brings joy to your spouse.
For example, of late my wife has developed an interest in Panda Bears! We saw them at the National Zoo last fall and since then she has followed them in the news and through social media. While shopping with me, my 5 year old daughter found a large stuffed Panda and asked me to get it for her mother. My daughter had noticed that Panda’s brought joy to my wife and saw an opportunity. Notice and look for those things that bring your spouse joy, they may be more simple than you may think.
Also, by giving your spouse a back-rub, a head rub, or even a foot massage in the way that they like, you give them something valuable that costs you absolutely nothing. You can have a great marriage and make each other happy without having to spend anything!
A couple of weeks ago, I presented the 6 second hug challenge to our class. The prescription was to hug your spouse twice a day for at least 6 seconds. That assignment has brought a lot of joy to our marriage. It helps us feel connected and brings a special moment of joy to my wife. Therefore, I have decided to implement this permanently (as much as possible) into our marriage!
Here are few more ideas:
- Make your spouse a cup of coffee the way that they like it.
- Buy your wife her favorite flower, or chocolates.
- Leave a love note in a place that your spouse can find in their daily routines.
- Find an old picture of a joyful moment you spent together and send it to them.
- Use your personal gift to create something special for your spouse such as writing a poem, singing a song, or creating an artwork for them.
- Go out of your way to do something special for them such as:
- Drive to that specific store to buy them something.
- Save up to do something special for them.
- Spend your time creating something for them.
Treat your spouse the way you want them to treat you
As simple as this may sound, it can completely change your love and your marriage. Would you want your husband to talk to you that way? Of course not! Then why would you talk to him that way just because you are having a bad day. Would you want your wife to completely ignore you? Of course not! Then why do you ignore her when she is not giving you something that you want?
God gives us a simple command in scripture that applies perfectly to the marriage relationship.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.Ephesians 4:32
In this simple imperative statement be ye kind one to another, God wrote the formula for maintaining a healthy marriage relationship. Treat your spouse they way that you want them to treat you. Talk to your spouse the way that you want them to talk to you, and discover the secret to a great marriage!
Making the deliberate effort to implement this principle into your marriage can ignite a fire of passion, love, and romance back into your marriage!
2. Rejoice in the Lord
In short statement of Scripture, God lays out enormous challenge, and a key for a successful marriage and christian life.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.Philippians 4: 4
According to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary rejoice as a transitive verb means, To experience joy and gladness in a high degree; to be exhilarated with lively and pleasurable sensations; to exult.
Learn how to rejoice in Him
The rejoicing part is easy, however, the word alway is what makes this incredibly hard to live. You are to rejoice even in the difficult times of marriage and life. It is in the dark times, that the power of rejoicing really comes into play. This almost seems outlandish. To think you should rejoice even when your marriage may be completely falling apart or when your life is in shambles!
However, the key is to learn to rejoice in Him instead of in your circumstances. During the honeymoon phase of marriage, it is easy to rejoice in how great your love life is! When you get a new car, it is easy to rejoice in that car. Nevertheless, life happens to all of us, and things happen that you absolutely cannot rejoice in! God wants you to rejoice when your love life is not so great and your marriage is on the rocks. God wants you to rejoice even when your circumstance are not great.
Again the key to this is to rejoice in Him and not in your circumstances. That is after all what He is asking you to do! He is not asking you to rejoice in you problems, but to rejoice in Him. His Grace and goodness is constant despite what you may be going through. You can always rejoice in Him! Nothing can change the fact that you are going to Heaven one day, or that you have Jesus in your heart and life. This is what you can rejoice in, that He is a great God, and His goodness to you is without end.
Talk to God as a Friend
Communication is imperative in any relationship, and your relationship with God is no different. Learning how to talk to Him as friend instead of an abstract being can change your life and your marriage. Just talk to Him about whatever is on your heart and your mind.
Cut out all the formal, redundant phrases
I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but using cliche phrases in your prayers will not make God pay more attention to you. Talk to Him like you would your best friend, which if you are saved that is what He should be to you anyway! I think in my many years in church that I have heard all of the cliche phrases.
The most comical is when we pray over food. Again, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, only to illustrate a point to you. In our house, whenever we sit down as a family to eat a meal I will pray something like this, Thank you Lord for a good day, this food, and my wife who made it, Amen. It is really is that simple to talk to Him.
If you attend church regularly, I am sure you have heard the famous prayer, May this food go to the nourishment of our body, and bless the hands that made it. Do we even know what that means? We are eating greasy fried chicken and donuts, I don’t think it is really nourishing anything! Also, the “hands”, what about the rest of the person who made it! I know that God sees our hearts and what we really mean, but this illustrates the overall way that we talk to God.
Just talk to Him about how you feel and what is going on in your life.
Try talking to Him out loud
It may sound a little crazy, and who knows or cares what the neighbors will think about you. Talk to Him like is beside you. Afterall, He does live in your heart if you are saved. You can talk to Him as a friend and discover an amazing relationship with Him. If you take the time to form words to say audibly it may make your relationship more personal with Him. Find a place like your bedroom, your car, or even the backyard to just talk to Him in private out loud.
If you talk to Him about how you feel, you may be surprised at how this changes those same feelings. The Bible describes God as a friend on several occasions. There is the story of Abraham, who was called the “friend of God.” (see James 2:23) God calls us His friends in His redemptive act of salvation. (see John 15:13) God is described as a close friend. (see Proverbs 18:24)
Write a Letter to God
I have previously discussed writing a letter to your spouse about the problems in your relationship. Take that same idea, and write a letter to God about what is going on in your life and in your marriage. Writing things down can help you cope with what you may be going through. This can also help bring you closure to things that are hurtful to you or that happened to you that you don’t understand.
Make You Reality Your Dream
There is so much talk about living your dream life these day. People are after that dream house, dream car, dream church, dream job, and even the dream marriage. Contrary to what our society may be teaching, you can rejoice in Lord whether or not you are in a dream situation. You can actually find the dream in the life you are living right now.
Find the little joys in what you are doing and rejoice in him. I know some ladies who are unhappy because they are not stay at home moms. However, I also know some ladies who are unhappy because they ARE stay at home moms. Stop focusing so much on things that you don’t have and learn the value of what you do have.
If you are not working your dream job, but are where God wants you right now, you can rejoice in the Lord anyway! You can make the choice to sulk about it, drive yourself crazy trying to do something else, or you can enjoy the blessing of where God has allowed you. You may even find some things about your job, that you actually like. After all, you do have a job and are able to work.
It is the same way in marriage. Even if you are not a princess, living in a castle with the perfect man, you can rejoice in the Lord and find the pleasure in living your life as it is now. The secret to enjoying life, is to enjoy the opportunities that God has given to you.
Take the Road Less Taken
One of my favorite writers, Robert Frost, wrote a poem entitled The Road Less Taken. My younger sister even recited it for a school competition once. In it, he talks about how a road split, and a traveler who was torn chose the one that looked less traveled on. In marriage and in staying in love with each other, you may have to take that road less traveled.
The road of giving up on each other is beaten down, wide, and full of people. You can choose to take the road of restoration, redemption, and rejoicing with God’s help. You don’t have to have the ideal marriage, you just have to have each other!
Three Principles for Restoring Your Love
- Observe the golden rule
- Rejoice in the lord
- Take the road less taken