The Secret Sauce
The Secret Sauce
I was recently invited to go speak to a group of women wanting marriage advice. I took questions beforehand so that I could come prepared and make sure that I was really hitting the target on what my audience was after. I received a lot of questions for date night ideas, and how to get the husband to help around the house, how to keep things spicy, and are sex toys "ok", while others in the thick of raising small children just wanted to know how to make time for just enough sex to keep their man happy until they had the time and energy to give more. We had a great time talking about all of these issues and I feel like a lot of women went home with a little more hope about their relationship than they came with.
The one thing I found very interesting is that when I asked the audience, "How many of you wish your relationship had the same energy it did when you were dating?" 99% of the audience raised their hand. That means that only 1% of women their still felt the same passion that they had during their days of dating! Wow! Are our marriages really that mundane? In my marriage counseling session, no one told me that marriage was going to be WORK! That love is not a feeling it is a choice and that all those wonderful feelings I was currently having would ebb and flow. And according to my poll that day, their marriage counselors didn't tell them either! How most marriage counseling is done these days really irritates me, but I digress... We all want to know what the "secret sauce" is in a marriage. Anytime we meet a couple who has been married for many years the first question I hear others ask is, "What's your secret?!" Answers vary from having sex a lot (This is a good one!) to do a hobby together and even making sure you do things apart and give each other space. All these are valid. Since I am celebrating the big 20 year anniversary this year my hunk, I thought I would throw out there what we have found to work.
Keep It FUN!
Laugh with your husband!
So we get married and things are good for a while, we are Cinderella married to our prince charming and then it seems like the clock strikes midnight and everything turns back into a giant squash!
Stasi Eldredge said it best, “The desire of a woman’s heart and the realities of a woman’s life seem oceans apart.”
The “Love” that once came so easily is now WORK! Why? Because love is not a feeling it’s a choice and the choices we make every day for our spouse either cultivate feelings that make choosing to love that person easier or harder! Love has to be intentional! I hear all the time, "Oh I fell in love with him/her the moment I laid eyes on them!" No, you didn't! You fell into attraction with them and called it love.
To keep our marriages a priority and keep the love alive we must have a servant attitude! This is why learning each other’s love languages are vital! If you haven’t taken the test do it. I recommend taking it every year because our love languages change as our lives change.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Your husband is not a genie, he is not a mind reader and as amazing as our husbands might be they are going to let us down. If he wants to make love and you aren't up for it because you still have lunches to make and haven't had a shower that day, give him a "yes...and NOT a "no...because". Let me explain. Tell him you would love to AND if he could help you with lunches, and getting the kids in bed so that you can get a shower and get ready for you that it would be great! Most husbands eyes light up at the sound of their wife saying they want to "get ready for them" and very happily help! It's a win-win! Don't get me wrong I get that some days we just are not, physically, mentally or emotionally "there" and just want to be left alone, but we can't be that all the time!
Have Grace and Fight Fair
A vital component of keeping marriage fun and exciting is having a heart of grace. Be gentle, and forgiving understanding that it is not your husband’s responsibility to meet all your needs. Let’s not put expectations on him that were never for him in the first place. That will suck the life out of any relationship in either direction! It is not your job to change your spouse. That’s God’s job. The only one we are responsible for is ourselves!
“Your Marriage is only as strong as its weakest member.” Les and Leslie Parrott
This is why God has called us to build our spouses up, not tear each other down? Fight back to back not face to face! Friendly fire is still deadly!
Date, Adventure, and Dream together
Your husband should be your best friend! Find things you both like to do and PRIORITIZE doing them! Doing things together creates emotional intimacy! Remember Intimacy is NOT just sex!
What is dating? Dating is the study of another person to get to know them at a deep level. We ask questions. What’s their favorite foods, favorite color, religious beliefs, political stances… Dating is where we see the character and integrity of a person or the lack thereof. We do things we wouldn’t have normally done. We adventure. We have fun. We laugh. We talk...A LOT!
Why do we stop after we get married? As if to say that’s all there is! I know you as well as I could possibly know you! Lol! As long as you live there will always be another layer of your spouse to uncover and get to know because we are constantly changing and growing. So Never stop dating!
Doesn’t have to be big and fancy! (Dollar Store Date) Library or bookstore. Walk or exercise together. Handouts.
Make a vision board together! Set the course of your life, map out where you want to go and then take steps in that direction!
“Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
God First! Together and Individually
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing.
Let me stop here for a second...Isn’t this how we are too?! Have you ever planned a dinner, maybe you're having another couple over for the first time and you want everything to be PERFECT and then we almost lose our salvation trying to get it all done?! We become the Martyr Mom! And we just want someone to say aw, you poor thing, come sit down and put your feet up, this is so unfair! I’ll do the rest!
She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
It goes against everything our culture throws in our face, the house has to be perfect, the kids have to be perfect, our marriage has to be perfect...at least from the outside and so many times the world behind it all is falling apart because we aren't keeping God first every day? We can’t prioritize what we have if we are always comparing it everyone else's!
We need to be a woman at rest, at peace and with full confidence in who God created you to be. Being a woman at rest doesn’t mean doing nothing, it means doing what the Word says and resting in the faithfulness of the Father, not in the busyness of the flesh trying to be and do everything perfect. It means being about your Father’s work and fulfilling the plans and purposes He’s called you to through the power of God’s grace and faithfulness.
You were His before you were ever a Mom...before you were ever a wife...you were you!
© 2018 Amber Byerly