Imagine the passion of romantic love being kept alive all through your lifetime. Is it possible? Absolutely! The pain of a divorce or living with a stale marriage is impetus enough for each of us to choose to invest deeply into keeping romance alive in our marriages. If first love is lost, the Bible is clear that we can go back and do the things we first did and restore our first love (Rev. 2:4,5). Now that is exciting! The principles below can be applied to restoring our first love with God and our marriage partner.
Here is a website of amazing tools for restoring romance in marriage!
The website is Four Gifts of Love® Online Institute, and I encourage you to go there and spend an hour or two reading through what they offer. The information below is primarily quotes taken directly from this website.
The top ten emotional needs are listed below
- Sexual Fulfillment
- Intimate Conversation
- Recreational Companionship
- Honesty and Openness
- Physical Attractiveness
- Financial Support
- Domestic Support
- Family Commitment
There is an amazing free, downloadable Emotional Needs Questionnaire which both husband and wife complete. Both spouses note their top five needs and answer questions about how satisfactorily these are being fulfilled. Generally, the top five emotional needs of a woman are different than the top five needs of a man. For the man, the top five tend to be: sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, physical attractiveness, domestic support, and admiration. For women they are often: affection, intimate conversation, honesty and openness, financial support, and family commitment. These aren't exclusively men's or women's needs; there is some cross-over.
Once a couple understands these differences, they can begin meeting their spouse's needs more effectively through the four gifts of love.
Four Gifts of Love®
- The Gift of Care is a willingness and effort to do what you can to make the other happy.
- The Gift of Protection is a willingness and effort to do what you can to avoid making the other unhappy—to avoid being a source of unhappiness.
- The Gift of Honesty is a willingness and effort to do what you can to make everything about you transparent to the other.
- The Gift of Time is a willingness and effort to give daily time to provide the most meaningful acts of care for the other.
Avoid the Love Busters which are repeated behaviors that cause unhappiness
- Selfish Demands: Attempts to command your spouse to do things that would benefit you at your spouse’s expense, with an implied threat of punishment.
- Disrespectful Judgments: Attempts to “straighten out” your spouse’s attitudes, beliefs, and behavior by trying to impose on him or her your way of thinking through lecture, ridicule, threats, or other forceful means.
- Angry Outbursts: Deliberate attempts to hurt your spouse because of anger, usually in the form of verbal or physical attack.
- Annoying Habits: Repeated habits that unintentionally cause your spouse to be unhappy. These habits include personal mannerisms such as the way you eat, clean up (or don’t!), and talk.
- Independent Behavior: Behavior conceived and executed without much consideration of your spouse’s feelings. These behaviors are usually scheduled and require thought to complete.
- Dishonesty: Failure to reveal to your spouse correct information about your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes/dislikes, personal history, daily activities, and plans for the future.
The Love Bank
Within each of us is a Love Bank that keeps track of the way each person treats us. Everyone we know has an account and the things they do either deposit or withdraw love units from their accounts. It's your emotions' way of encouraging you to be with those who make you happy. When you associate someone with good feelings, deposits are made into that person's account in your Love Bank. And when the Love Bank reaches a certain level of deposits (the romantic love threshold), the feeling of love is triggered. As long as your Love Bank balance remains above that threshold, you will experience the feeling of love. But when it falls below that threshold, you will lose that feeling.
Make deposits into your spouse's love bank every day
Four Guidelines for Successful Negotiation
- Set ground rules to make negotiation pleasant and safe (try to be pleasant and cheerful throughout negotiations; put safety first—not making demands, showing disrespect, becoming angry; and if you reach an impasse or if one of you is starting to make demands, show disrespect, or becoming angry, stop negotiating and come back to the issue later).
- Identify the problem from both perspectives with mutual respect for those perspectives.
- Brainstorm with abandon—give your creativity a chance to discover solutions that would make you both happy.
- Choose a solution that best achieves mutual and enthusiastic agreement.
What if I need additional help?
- The policy of Exclusivity: Meet each other's most important emotional needs exclusively.
- The policy of Joint Agreement: Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.
- The policy of Mutual Appeal: Engage in only those recreational activities that both you and your spouse can enjoy together.
- The policy of Undivided Attention: Give your spouse your undivided attention a minimum of fifteen hours each week, using the time to meet the emotional needs of affection, conversation, recreational companionship, and if married, sexual fulfillment.
- Respectful Persuasion: Presenting your reasoning behind your opinion and listening to your spouse’s reasoning, with a willingness to admit that your spouse may be correct.
- Romantic Love: The feeling of being in love—finding someone irresistible. It’s an incredible attraction for someone of the opposite gender that is unmistakable and can actually be measured. It’s the feeling created in your spouse when Caring Love is given to him or her.
- Thoughtful Request: Respectfully explaining to your spouse what you would like and allowing your spouse the option of granting or denying your request. It uses the phrase, “How would you feel about….”
Why do I appreciate this online marriage resource?
It is biblical, simple, clear, and makes sense to me. It allows me to do as much of the work as I can on my own and then assists me, as necessary, at a very reasonable cost.
In addition, it has a proven track record going back many years. The resources were first developed by Dr. Jennifer Harley Chalmers' father, Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D. Both are Licensed Psychologists and marriage counselors. For over 20 years, they have collaborated to create and improve methods that restore love to marriages. Jennifer’s brother, Steve Harley, is also the webmaster, administrator, and co-developer of the internationally followed MarriageBuilders.com, a site that receives over 450,000 unique visitors and over one billion hits per month. Take some time and visit this website. You will be blessed!
Ok, so this is a multi-generational marriage ministry that has touched the world. That is GOOD fruit, and one biblical test is that we can test things by their fruit.
Adding two-way journaling
- I believe any couple who works through the questionnaires and other resources on this website and does two-way journaling asking God how He wants them to apply the truths they are learning will quickly have wonderfully enhanced marriages. To help you apply these principles we have created a list of the above journaling questions that can be downloaded here. If you do not express joy and gratitude and thankfulness for the gifts of love your spouse can extend to you, and instead emit a spirit of “it’s not enough” your spouse will be wounded and withdraw and you will lose that which they were extending and end up with nothing (Deut. 28:47,48 expresses this essential principle).
Two-way journaling of God healing the effects of "I'm not enough"
From the wife - Lord what are the blocks to my sexual fulfillment?
Question: Holy Spirit, You see how this subject causes me much anxiety and even fear. I want to experience all You have for me in every area of my life including my sexuality. I am open to what you now want to speak to me.
Reply: the world has taken something that is meant to be a thing of beauty and turned it into something that is tainted and “less than”. It is meant to an intimate dance between two imperfect people.
I created sex for your pleasure-not so that you could use it to be the litmus test for your acceptance or worth. Again, the world has held up its version of who can and cannot enjoy their sexuality, and often it’s based solely on looks and body type. Not so with Me, and not so with you from this day forward.
Understand and believe that to me you are altogether lovely-every inch of you. I will never lie to you on how I view you. Nothing you do will ever change that. Let these truths become a part of your very fiber. Be utterly convinced. Shun every persuasion that whispers that you are not enough. You are!! When you become convinced, guess what will happen? Your confidence will soar. Your insecurities will melt away and when your husband says that you are physically pleasing to him, you will believe him.
You have watched other couples that in your opinion are overweight and have wondered how in the world they can be so comfortable around each other. You’ve watched their playfulness and “touchy-feeliness” and you’ve been envious. Let me reprogram your thinking. Forget about what you believe your husband may be thinking. Let’s focus on your thinking, on the belief systems that rob you of the most incredible blessing that I have bestowed on husbands and wives. Right now, you can’t even fathom that these years could be the best and most fulfilling of all your years together-despite your age. But I will make all things new. I will restore to you both all the years that the locusts have eaten.
From the husband - Lord what are the blocks to my sexual fulfillment?
From a young age, you were presented with a false narrative of how sex and a woman’s body were meant to be looked upon. What I created for the pleasure of a committed man and woman was so much more than one person getting satisfied and how one can get the most from another person. I created the human body in all its beauty and wonder. I knew who you needed and called the two of you together as one and to enjoy the fullness and uniqueness of each other.
I have gifted you with a wonderfully made wife and you have not always appreciated the whole package. When you look through the eyes of the world and its “fakeness”, when you attempt to transmit onto your wife the false perfections and unrealistic expectations of what the world dictates, there will always be a falling short.
I have put within both of you a deep desire to please each other and to be the best version of what a man and a woman ought to be. Let go of the unhealthy “perfectness” of the world and embrace the one who is perfect for you. Celebrate the wonderful package of your wife. You miss so much beauty by believing that there is more and that you are being ripped off. How can you believe you are being ripped off by such a beautiful gift that I have given you?
Accept, honor, and cherish every moment, every part of the wife of your youth. You will not regret it. You will see the true reality of this wonderful woman who I have called to walk with you.
Some two-way journaling about the centrality of love
Psalm 25:10 - All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness.
The vision: It is hard, uneven ground that I walk on. As far as I can see is dirt and stubble. No trees, just rolling land off to disappear in the distance like a mirage. The wind blows constantly, and I am alone in this barren land. I see a figure walking towards me, and I see it is the Lord. "Why am I here Lord? What purpose does this serve me?"
My son, know it is the beginning. If I found you in a tropical paradise, you wouldn’t be focused on Me, but the surroundings. I have much to tell you. I want you to listen carefully.
Love is an emotion, but it is also the most powerful force in the universe. Nothing can be birthed without love. My creation sings with love. By immersing yourself in Me, you are a son born of love. Love is your first emotion, your first tool of your trade, your first thought, your first everything, as it can only be love that develops you as a child of Mine. There is nothing else. All is wrapped up in love. Let it have its way with you, and the things you so desperately desire will come to pass, as it is love that is the action and reaction of the universe. Be at peace, My son; I love you.
The tools for you to heal your marriage by restoring romance are in this blog.
Use them! Don't settle for anything less than God's best!