From Scott Means:
What’s your passion? Think about it. How do you answer that question?
I imagine that adoption would be pretty high on your list of passions. Otherwise, why would you be reading the Hope at Home blog? Hopefully your passion for God would be up there too.
Where would your marriage rate among your list of passions? How would your spouse rank?
Taking Cues From Christ
Did you know that Jesus is passionate about you? Did you know that God feels powerful affection for you? Yes, God’s love for you is full of zeal, desire and fiery passion! He delights in you.
Does that notion make you uncomfortable?
We know we are made in God’s image. So if we experience such emotions, so does He. God invented passion and desire, and they are good. The Bible is the story of God, the lover, looking for an eternal bride. How could God, who is love, not feel passionate about his bride? (Now, obviously I am not talking about sexualizing our relationship with God, but the spiritual parallel.)
I think it’s interesting and fitting that we speak of Jesus’ ultimate expression of love for us, laying down his life, as “the passion of Christ.”
Stir Up Your Passion
Our marriages are supposed to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church, so our marriages, too, are to be full of passion!
What does it mean to have a passionate marriage? When I refer to passion in marriage, I am not only speaking about sexual intimacy, although it certainly includes that. But passion goes beyond having things steamy in the bedroom. Passion also refers to having an underlying sense of excitement and fervor about your spouse and your marriage, having a relationship full of intensity, joyfulness and unbridled enthusiasm in both the sexual and non-sexual dimensions of your relationship.
Having a passionate marriage starts with the decision that passion is something you want. Make it a conscious goal, and then set about being purposeful in pursuing it.
Below I list four P’s to help you put passion on the front burner of your marriage relationship.
Never stop pursuing each other, no matter how long you’ve been married. Be aware of what makes your spouse feel loved and desired, and do those things regularly. Think back to when you were dating. Wasn’t most of your attention focused on the pursuit of the relationship, pursuit of the one you eventually “captured?” Well the pursuit should never stop! Be diligent and relentless in your pursuit of one another. It lets your spouse know you would choose him or her all over again, and that gives a definite boost to the passion in your relationship!
When was that last time you intentionally did something fun together, for no other reason than because it was fun? When was the last time you laughed together? When was the last time you did something new and/or exciting just because you felt like it? Help keep passion alive by at least occasionally being playful or adventurous and stepping outside your normal routine. Routine can tend to squash passion, so be willing to step outside your comfort zone once in a while. Infuse your marriage with a little wonder, creativity and excitement!
A daily dose of genuine thankfulness can work wonders for keeping passion alive. It’s easy and natural to focus on the things about your spouse that bother you, but that’s a total passion killer. The best way to fight off those negative thoughts is to develop a habit of being grateful. Make sure you aren’t taking the good stuff in your marriage and spouse for granted, which can tend to happen over time. Make it a point to say your thanks and appreciation out loud to your spouse and to others - frequently.
Obviously pleasure and passion go hand in hand! For starters, make sex a priority in your relationship, and don’t settle for anything less. In addition to the pleasure of physical intimacy, make time for daily pleasures such as reading, being outside, sipping a cup of tea, listening to music – whatever feeds your soul. Seek pleasure by learning to enjoy the process of doing the things on your over-packed to-do list, not just the relief of being done with them. Be watchful over your own pleasure, but especially make sure your spouse is also purposefully seeking out pleasure, and occasionally do something for no other reason than to delight each other. Of course, don’t forget about seeking spiritual pleasure!
Too Pooped for Passion?
If your life is anything like mine, you already have too much on your plate. I can read your thoughts, “How can I find time and energy for passion?”
The truth is that passion is 90% mindset and 10% effort. There are lots of ways to include pursuit, playfulness, positivity and pleasure that don’t require much effort at all. It starts with the awareness that passion is important and a desire to keep the passion in your relationship alive.
It is mostly a matter of doing the little things on a daily basis that keep passion stirred up. Here are few ideas for pumping up the passion in your marriage that don’t require a lot of effort:
- Pay attention to your spouse’s preferences. Does he or she like you in certain colors or outfits? Is there a certain cologne or perfume that they like? Wear them.
- Write little notes or texts. Be fun and flirty. Express your love, your attraction, your affection and devotion.
- Kiss! Make a habit of greeting each other with a kiss whenever one of you enters or leaves the house. Try for a ten second kiss (no, don’t time it, just hold it a little extra longer than usual).
- When you are at the store, pick up a little treat, a card or a flower for your spouse – just because.
- Tell your spouse how happy you are to be married to him or her and why. You don’t have to gush, just be honest with your appreciation and admiration.
- Once the kids are in bed, take five or ten minutes to share a glass of wine (or tea or whatever) and just talk together. Yes, there will be at least a dozen other more urgent things to attend to, but do it anyway, because little else is more important. You will be glad you did.
- Rent a funny movie or play your favorite game of cards.
Are you ready to up the passion level in your marriage? What other passion boosting suggestion do you have to share? Leave your ideas in a comment.
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