How to Stoke the Fire of Your Marriage
No doubt you’ve heard the expression, but what does it mean to you and your marriage?
The dictionary says stoke is to:
Stir up and feed (a fire or furnace)
To feed fuel to and tend the fire of (a furnace)
I must admit in San Diego, I don’t need a furnace (it’s about 70 degrees today!). But in many places in the country and around the world, you must tend to your furnace to make sure you have heat in your home!
To keep the heat in your marriage, it also takes effort.
Fuel. Stirring up. Tending.
Left alone, the fire will eventually die out. So what is the fuel of a healthy marriage?
The fuel is love and respect. For us women, it’s love. For men, it’s respect. Dr. John Gottman from the University of Washington led a research team that studied 2000 couples for 20 years who had been married 20-40 years to the same partner. The common denominator was the tone of their conversations.
Gottman said these couples had “a strong undercurrent of two basic ingredients: Love and Respect. These are the direct opposite of – and antidote for – contempt, perhaps the most corrosive force in marriage.”
In Ephesians 5:33, God instructs the husband to love his wife unconditionally and instructs the wife to respect her husband. Period. There is no clause that says you don’t have to perform your end if your partner botches up theirs.
What are tangible ways you can show your husband respect this week and stoke the fire of your love?
- Listen to what he says and act on his wishes.
- Tell him “I believe in you more than you believe in yourself.”
- Initiate lovemaking (see my friend Dr. Jennifer Degler’s site about a Dare of the Month)
- Plan a date night your spouse will enjoy (remember don’t have a “nice time” – that’s reserved for a date with your mother. Have a flirty, fun, playful, physically affectionate, sensual time!).
- Put away your credit card (don’t spend so much).
- Write him a note praising a recent accomplishment.
- Pray for him (you can use Sharon Jaynes’ book Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe).
Don’t focus on “What have you done for me lately?” That attitude will douse the fire in no time. Instead focus on “What can I do for you?” and you’ll be fanning the flame in your marriage.
Our goal is to be like the happily married couples in the Gottman study…that 20+ years from now, love and respect will characterize our relationship. Keep the fire of love stoked by adding fuel. Tend the flame of your love…it is worth protecting!
What will you do to stoke the fire of your marriage this week?