If you’re looking for a guidance along the path to greater intimacy in your marriage, Scott Means of Heaven Made Marriage has written you a gift. In his book, The Path of Intimacy, Scott guides the reader away from the path of separation and onto the path of intimacy with wisdom and foresight. Isn’t that what we all want in our marriages, to be intimate with one another, fully known and completely loved? To stand before one another completely naked—emotionally, mentally, and spiritually open—yet completely unafraid and completely secure in the love we share with one another? If that’s what you’re looking for (and we all are), this book will serve as your guide on the path of intimacy. Now if you have ever gotten lost, you know how important it is to follow the right signs and not get distracted by the alternatives. With that in mind, The Path of Intimacy exposes the lies that threaten to distract us from the path of intimacy. The Path of Intimacy teaches us to discern the on-ramps that lead to the path of separation from the trail markers that keep us on the path of intimacy. And, The Path of Intimacy prepares us to recognize the markers informing us that we are still on the right path, the path of intimacy. With the insights shared in The Path of Intimacy, Scott Means has offered us the tools we need to remain watchful and intentional in growing a “grace-full,” intimate marriage. (Available on Amazon)
Tag Archive for husband
Date can boost intimacy and fun in a marriage…or it can lead to a cul-de-sac of frustration and loneliness. Consider these statements, four of the many I’ve heard over the years, describing date nights gone awry.
- “We were having a great date until he got drunk and ruined it all.”
- “She just can’t go one night focused on us. All she talks about is the kids and the house and the kids and the kids and the house.”
- “We used to go out and have a blast just hanging out and talking. Now we go to a movie or the bar and neither of us says a word.”
- We don’t have fun on dates anymore. They just turn into arguments over money, politics, and tattoos, whatever…. All we do is argue.”
Do any of these sound familiar. Maybe you’ve heard similar statements…or even made a few of them yourself. These comments do not reflect dates that helped to boost intimacy and joy. If you do want to boost intimacy and joy with a spectacular date night, remember these 8 tips!
- Prepare for your date ahead of time. Don’t wait until date night to ask, “What do you want to do?” Plan ahead. Maybe you want to surprise your spouse. Great. Let them know you’ll plan it all. Or, maybe you want to plan your date night together. Wonderful. Have fun planning it out. Pick the activity. Make the necessary reservations. Then just enjoy the night!
- Build anticipation for your date. Start talking about your date before it begins. Talk about it for the day before or even the week before. Flirt with your spouse about the details. Let your spouse know you are excited to spend time alone with them.
- When date night arrives, dress up for your spouse. Everyone likes to see their spouse “looking good.” Remember how you dressed and primped to make an impression on your spouse when you were dating? Do it again. Dress to catch their eye. Doing so will let them know how much you value them and your time together. It will also draw your spouse’s attention to you…and that’s always a good thing.
- Make time to talk on your date. Whatever activity or venue you choose for your date night, be sure to include time and space for conversation. If you go to a concert or movie, allow for time to talk afterwards. Talk about hopes and dreams, favorite vacations together, or a trip you’d like to take together in the future. Talk about other possible date night activities. Talk like “old friends” who want to nurture their friendships.
- Postpone arguments. Avoid talking about areas that might result in arguments and bad feelings. Save those discussions for another time. Date night is to nurture a deeper connection, not create feelings of frustration and distance. So save the sensitive discussions for another time and focus on topics you can both enjoy. If you have trouble coming up with conversation ideas, refer to bullet #4. One other comment. Planning and kids are bound to come up, just don’t let them monopolize your date night. Stick with topics like those discuss in bullet #4.
- Stay sober. Nothing wrong with having a drink, but don’t get intoxicated or even buzzed. It’s not safe. Even more, it robs you of the joy of completely clearheaded intimacy. It also increases the chance of experiencing conflict on your date. Stay sober and enjoy your spouse “to the max.”
- Enjoy physical touch. Physical touch adds a flare of excitement to your intimacy and anticipation to the joy of your date night. Hold hands. Walk arm in arm. Sit touching shoulders. Play footsies. Put your arm around your spouse. Enjoy physical touch.
- Try something new. Don’t get stuck in the “same old date night rut.” Be creative. Try a breakfast date, a picnic date, a night at the museum date, a walk in the woods date…you get the idea. There is no limit to what you might enjoy on a date.
Eight tips to make your date night spectacular. Give them a try. Then share your date night ideas with us so we can all make date night spectacular!
An intentional Christian marriage gives us a glimpse of heaven on earth. We see a reflection of God’s Kingdom when each spouse serves, sacrifices, and loves the other. Each spouse reveals the character of their King by treating their spouse with honor, sharing grace in times of need, and actively pursuing a peace that “passes all understanding.” Spouses in a godly marriage encourage, support, and nurture one another in so many amazing ways. A godly marriage gives us a glimpse of heaven, a mere taste of something greater to come. Imagine a photo album filled with pictures capturing the moments of joy and celebration, love and hope in your marriage. Then, sit back and pause. Consider…what awaits us in heaven is so much more than we can experience on earth…so.much.more! Enjoy this video of Mercy Me singing I Can Only Imagine with the London symphony…and imagine how your marriage gives just a glimpse of what is yet to come!
A married man needs to decide what kind of husband he will be. What character will he reveal in his marriage? How does he want to interact with his wife and family? What is his purpose as a husband? With this in mind, I designed a “Husband Manifesto.” Look it over. See if you agree with the actions on this manifesto…and, consider what you might add to it? Then, if you want more on becoming a great husband, check out our e-book, For His Eyes Only: A Devotional Workbook and Prayer Guide for Husbands. One reader commented on For His Eyes Only by saying, “If you are looking for a devotional to read that is Biblically based, short for each day’s reading, yet at the same time enlightening and challenging, I HIGHLY encourage you to give this one a try!”
A study out of Baylor University suggests that married couples can damage their marriage and romance by “phubbing” their partner. Specifically, a survey of 145 people found that “phubbing” your partner creates conflict and leads to lower marital satisfaction. So, quit “phubbing” your spouse!
If you’re like me, you have no idea whether you phub your partner or not because you have no idea what “phubbing” is. I know what you mean. I’m the same way. So, let me share what I found out. “Phubbing” is “snubbing your partner in order to look at your phone”…phubbing. (I know. Where do people come up with this stuff? But, I like it!) Anyway, this study found partners feel “phubbed” if, and I quote:
- “My partner places his/her cellphone where they can see it when we are together.
- My partner uses his/her cellphone when we are out together.
- My partner uses his/her cellphone during leisure time we could spend together.
- My partner keeps his/her cellphone in their hand when he or she is with me.
- My partner glances at his/her cellphone when talking to me.
- My partner checks his/ her cellphone in the midst of conversation.
- My partner checks his/her cellphone if there is a lull in our conversation.”
In this survey 46% of the respondents had been “phubbed” by their partners. A full 23% said “phubbing” caused conflict in their relationship and 37% felt depressed about it! Think about that, one in four said “phubbing” caused conflict and one in three said it depressed them. So you can see how “phubbing” lowers marital satisfaction for the one being “phubbed.”
Perhaps we need to add a warning label to all cellphones: “Warning. Use with caution. Phubbing is harmful to your marriage and relationships, creating a 23% chance of conflict with your partner.” Or, perhaps I go to far…just quit “phubbing up” your marriage. (For more on the impact of cellphones on relational intimacy read Family Date Night Tip: Don’t Text & Date.)
One of my Facebook friends posted this pic. I love the proverb written on it: “If a man expects a woman to be an angel in his life, he must first create heaven for her…angels don’t live in hell.” I don’t know about you, but I want to live with an angel. So, I have to ask myself: how can I create heaven for my wife? How can I make my wife feel like an angel? Upon what is heaven built?
- Heaven is built on honor—treating one another as special, precious, sacred. To create heaven for your wife, treat her with honor. Honor her above all others like a diamond above coal. Constantly think about the character and beauty you adore in your wife. Don’t stop with merely thinking about your admiration of her character and beauty. Let your words and actions communicate love and admiration to your wife. Let your eyes sparkle with delight and adoration when she walks into the room. Speak of her with high praise when you describe her to others.
- Heaven is built on unfailing trust. To create heaven for your wife, live a life of integrity and faithfulness that will build trust. Let your actions and your speech enhance her sense of security and acceptance. Keep your promises. Be available. Remember: the small, positive moments build trust; so, enjoy playful interactions, simple adventures, joyful moments and moments of sorrow, friendly conversations, and laughter. Work to “keep in tune” with your wife’s emotions. Comfort her when she needs comforted. Rejoice with her when she rejoices. Rest with her when she needs rest. Join with her in life.
- Heaven is built on servanthood. To create heaven for your wife, become a servant in your marriage. Serve your wife by listening to her and accepting her influence. Serve her by cooking dinner, washing clothes, or running the vacuum. Serve her by asking what she would like you to do to help her. Become the leader of servanthood in your home.
- Heaven is built on sacrifice. Jesus willingly became the Sacrifice for our sin, a sacrifice that brought peace between man and God. Sacrifice opens the doors to heaven. To create heaven in your home, become a leader in sacrifice. Make small sacrifices like giving up the TV remote, giving away the last cookie, giving up your seat for your wife, giving up “the game” to take a walk…you get the idea. You may also make bigger sacrifices like giving up your music to listen to her music in the car, giving up time on your project to do what she desires, giving up the adventure movie to watch a “chick flick” followed by the emotional discussion of the movie…. You know what would prove a heavenly sacrifice in your home. And, you know that your sacrifice will produce greater security and open the doors for heaven in your home.
“Expect your wife to be an angel in your life”? Start creating heaven in your home. Build your home and marriage on honor, integrity and trust, servanthood, and sacrifice. Believe me, you will live with an angel…and you will get a taste of heaven on earth!
My family and I attended a beautiful wedding at Camp Christian last weekend. The wedding ceremony took place in the chapel. Then, everyone walked a short distance to the Millhouse for the reception. It was a beautiful day. The bride and groom, along with their families, have participated in numerous programs at Camp Christian over the years; so had several of those who came to witness the wedding. As a result, many of those attending, including the bride and groom, had a lifetime of memories and personal dedications made in this sacred place; which, I suppose, added to my contemplation that day. After Eric and Emily exchanged their vows, the minister spoke of God’s words after He had created Adam and Eve, man and woman. Throughout the creation story (Genesis 1-2), God looked at His creation and “saw that it was good.” That is, it was good until He created man. When God created Adam, He said “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). So, God created a woman. The Scripture tells us “God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:20) and then God saw all He had made and “it was VERY GOOD” (Genesis 1:31). God did not say “it was very good” until He had created both man and woman and brought them together. Witnessing Eric and Emily as they committed to living a life together, I began to understand why God waited until He had created both man and woman to say “it is very good.”
- “It was very good” to see family and friends gather together to celebrate and support this young couple in living out a lifetime of loving commitment. A wedding represents more than a man and woman making a commitment. It represents a community coming together to nurture and support a couple’s love…and that “is very good.”
- As this young couple gazed at one another with obvious adoration, “it was very good.” Love changes us. It nurtures our growth and helps us recognize our worth. When two people adore one another with such an obvious love, “it is very good.”
- When Eric and Emily committed to “have and to hold from this day forth, for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish…,” “it was very good.” Such a commitment proclaims a faithfulness and love that advances the kingdom of God. That “is very good.”
- Speaking of the kingdom of God…when this young man and woman wake up to serve one another in little ways throughout the day, they become ambassadors for Christ and this “is very good.”
- Each time they speak a word of encouragement to one another they act as God’s mouthpiece. And, that “is very good.”
- Every time they lovingly sacrifice their own desires to meet one another’s needs, they will shine like lights in the darkness. That “is very good.”
- When they speak of one another with loving affection (which they often do), they speak the very words Christ speaks of His Bride; and, that “is very good.”
- When, because of their love, they accept one another’s influence, they have born witness to the humility of Christ. (Need I say it?) That “is very good.”
- When other people see their in love a reflection of Christ’s love for His Bride (the Church), “it is very good.”
When Eric and Emily chose to “leave” their mother and father in order to “cleave” to and “become one flesh” with each other, they reenacted that sacred moment when God created a man and woman in His image. They set themselves apart as witnesses of His love and creativity. And, that “is very good.”
When Eric and Emily chose to forsake all others and cling to the one they have chosen, they advanced the kingdom of God through their faithfulness, love, sacrifice, and service. And, that “is very good.”
Yes, Eric and Emily, we truly enjoyed your wedding and the message you proclaimed through your marriage…a message of hope, commitment, and love. And, “It Is Very Good.”
All children desire this gift, but very few cannot articulate it. This gift will provide your children with an amazing sense of security. Although it demands some effort, it will provide immeasurable benefits to you and your children throughout your lifetimes. In fact, your children will benefit from this gift even after you have passed away. Your grandchildren can even benefit from this gift! And, only you can give this gift to your children. Sounds like an expensive gift, doesn’t it? It does carry a price; but the price is mostly measured in the coinage of effort. What is this amazing gift your children desire? What is this gift that carries such great benefits with it? The gift of having parents with a healthy marriage! Let me “unwrap this gift” a little…just to give you a peek into its benefits.
When a marriage relationship is filled with strained and succumbing to the pull of distraction, the home is filled with tension. When the home is filled with tension, children experience stress. Stress creates insecurity. A healthy marriage, on the other hand, lays the foundation for peace and harmony in the home. Children experience this peace and harmony as security. They feel safe. Moreover, children feel valued and worthy when outside distractions do not impinge on their family life. They desire to remain a part of this peaceful, harmonious home founded on a healthy marriage.
When a marriage is filled with constant conflict and on the verge of collapse, the future of the family, your children’s safe haven, becomes doubtful. Children who have doubts about the future stability of their safe haven feel insecure. As a result, they invest all their energy trying to secure the pillars of their safe haven, you. They invest their energy in your happiness and your marriage rather than investing in their own growth and development, their maturity, and their future. When a marriage is strong and disagreements openly resolved, the future of your children’s safe haven is certain. With confidence in their family’s future, children feel secure enough to explore their world and their selves. They feel safe enough to invest energy in growing their interests and their healthy future lives, which will ultimately bring happiness to the whole family.
When a marriage is in question and spouses at war with one another, children feel responsible to make peace. They assume a parental role and strive to become the one who negotiates peace between their parents. When they do not succeed (and they cannot succeed because it is beyond their ability to make peace between warring parents), children begin to feel guilty and anxious. They take the blame for their parents’ failure and unhappiness. They begin to feel inadequate since they cannot “fix” the family. They feel insecure both in relation to others (like their battling parents) and themselves (since they feel inadequate to fix even their home). In a strong marriage, on the other hand, children witness their parents resolving conflict and creating peace in the home. This peace produces a sense of security that allows “kids to be kids.” It provides a strong foundation from which children can explore, achieve, learn, and grow confident in the trustworthiness of those around them as well as a trust in themselves.
You children desire the gift of living with parents who do the work necessary to build a strong, healthy marriage. Even more, they deserve this gift. When you invest in your marriage, you give your children the gift they desire more than they even know; and, you give them the added gifts of peace of mind, a sense of security, and a confidence in themselves and their future. Do your children a huge favor. Get your spouse and wrap up a beautiful, healthy marriage as a gift for them to witness and receive.
Picture an imaginary scene from the life of Michelangelo. A group of community leaders has commissioned Michelangelo to sculpt a statue for the town square. Michelangelo accepted the commission and now wanders through a quarry to choose a block of stone from which to sculpt the commissioned statue. He slowly walks past various stones, peering carefully at each one…first from one side, then the other. The quarry master quietly follows close behind. He knows each block of stone by weight and shape—this oblong one is 25 pounds, this square one just under 50. He wonders what goes through the mind of an artist like Michelangelo. Hesitantly, he asks, “Can I help you find something in particular?” Michelangelo, continuing to stare at one particular stone, replies in a distant voice, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Together, they continue to roam through the quarry. Finally, Michelangelo picks a block of marble. To the quarry master it appears to be an oddly shaped block of fair quality. He gives Michelangelo a deal, thinking about the publicity a statue made by Michelangelo from a stone purchased at his quarry will bring. He even has the marble block transported to the town square, where Michelangelo will complete a sculpture of his choice (the mayor has given him “artistic license”). Michelangelo begins his work. He chips and chisels, carves, sands, and smooths. Hours turn into days and days turn into weeks before Michelangelo steps back to reveal a beautifully sculpted angel. The quarry master, who had stayed nearby to see what Michelangelo would do with the block of marble, stares in unbelief to see the beautiful angel standing where he had placed an oddly shaped block of marble. He looked at the statue and then turned to Michelangelo. “How did you know? How did you make that block of marble into such a beautiful angel?” Michelangelo looked at the quarry master and replied, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
I don’t know if an event like this ever happened; in fact, I rather doubt it. I do know that Michelangelo is credited with the two quotes noted above… and those quotes have significance when it comes to our wives. In our marriage, God has called us to see the “angel” in our wife and set her free! You may think I’m crazy, but Solomon, the wisest scholar in the Bible, records a similar truth in his love story, The Song of Songs. He opens his story by introducing us to a woman filled with self-doubt, a woman who sees herself as ugly and unworthy. I imagine her self-deprecating tone as she tells those around her, “Do not stare at me…because I am darkened by the sun. …My own vineyards I had to neglect.” But she has an admirer, a young man who sees the angel in the darkened skin, sun-streaked hair, and calloused hands of this working woman. He turns to her and says, “How beautiful you are my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.” He even describes her as a “lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.” In response to his admiration, her “angel” comes forth. The young woman begins to accept her own beauty and calls herself a “rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley.” While she saw as a sun-darkened, hard-working calloused body, her admirer saw an “angel.” He recognized the “angel” within her and called her out. In response to his spoken admiration (“how beautiful you are my darling”), she gained confidence. In response to the value he placed on her (“as a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women”), she saw herself as valuable. He had seen the angel within her and set her free! The first step in growing more intimate with your wife is to see the “angel” within her, those attributes that makes her a “lily among thorns” in your eyes.
In another book, Solomon tells us that “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4) and “her worth is far above jewels” (Proverbs 31:10). “An excellent wife” is a good way to describe the angel in your wife, the virtue and strength of character she possesses. When Solomon speaks of a “crown,” he is not speaking of a king’s crown. A crown is a sign of honor, joy, and gladness. He is saying your wife is your honor, your joy, and your gladness. Take a moment right now and think about your wife. Consider her excellence as well as the honor and joy she brings into your life. To help you think about these things, consider these questions:
- What qualities first attracted you to your wife?
- What are your wife’s strengths?
- What are your wife’s best character traits?
- How does your wife bring you honor?
- What do you admire about your wife?
- If your wife were to suddenly disappear for some reason, what would be missing in your life? Your home? Your family?
- How does your wife make your life better?
- How does your wife bless your family? Benefit your family? Make your family life better?
Thank God for your wife, this “excellent woman” who is a “crown” of great worth.
We have all experienced anticipation…that feeling of excitement that something is going to happen, the expectation that an exciting event is coming your way! Perhaps you experienced anticipation while looking at the oddly shaped and wrapped present under the tree with your name on it. Or, you may have felt anticipation when you knew a family member was coming home for a visit after their first semester at college…or your adult child was bringing a newborn grandchild home…or you patiently tapped the Heinz ketchup bottle in just the right place, anticipating the gentle flow of sweet ketchup onto the plate next to your french fries. You get the idea. Anticipation builds excitement. It motivates us to action. It energizes our desires. It draws us toward the object of our anticipation. If waiting for ketchup to come out of the bottle and flavor our fries can do all that, imagine what anticipation can do for your marriage! That’s right, anticipation can build excitement in your marriage; motivate you to act in response to your spouse, energize your desires. It can put the “zing” back in your marriage. So, how do you build anticipation in your marriage?
- Keep your spouse in mind, even when you are apart. If you happen to come across something your spouse enjoys, pick it up and bring it home as a gift. This could be as simple as bringing home her favorite gum or his favorite candy bar. You may find this simply means sending a quick text message telling your spouse you’re thinking of them and love them.
- Do the unexpected. Bring home flowers once in a while. If that is too common, try bringing home a fruit bouquet. Maybe you can give your spouse a card of your own design, made with your own hands. Surprise your spouse with tickets for the CLO or the baseball game. Just use your imagination and do something unexpected to express your love to your spouse.
- Romance your spouse. Don’t let the romance end after dating. Intentionally keep the romance alive. Imagine putting on some nice music, lighting the candles, and giving your spouse a back massage. Or, go on a special date followed by a walk along the boardwalk hand-in-hand.
- Do a special chore around the house. We all know there are chores our spouse hates to do as well as things our spouse would like us to do. Whether it is cleaning the garage or washing the dishes, do a chore that will have special meaning for your spouse.
By doing these activities on a regular basis, you build anticipation in your marriage. Your spouse will wait with excited expectation to see what you will do next. They will look at you with the spark of anticipation in their eyes, waiting expectantly to see how you share your love today. And, your spouse will more actively seek out ways to show you love as well!