Are You In The Doghouse?
Valentine’s Day and dog houses. For guys, they kind of go together.
This is the day when men are practically required to step up to the plate and hit a home run on this special day of love, or we end up in the dog house, right? Maybe some of you men reading this post right now were in the doghouse over the weekend.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to be extremely purposeful for this Valentine’s Day. I placed the order for the roses in advance. I made the dinner reservations ahead of time. I discussed childcare options with my wife. I wanted my wife to see that I took this day of love seriously. I wanted to demonstrate thoughtfulness and care. I wanted there to be no doubt that I love her.
So, since we just passed the Valentine’s Day holiday last week, I thought I’d share five thoughts I had over the weekend about marriage relationships and the lessons we can learn to apply to not only our earthly relationships, but also lessons that we can apply to our relationship with God.
4 Ways To Reignite Your Passion
1. Show up more. When I was dating my wife, we both had demanding responsibilities and schedules (and still do!). Because we loved and cared for each other, we were always planning our next opportunity to get together for dinner, a movie, or other event. We wanted to hang out. We wanted to spend time together. But, then you get married, life happens, and if you aren’t careful, you end up spending less time with each other. You must be purposeful in spending time alone on a very regular basis to renew and strengthen your relationship.
The same is true with our relationship with God. When we first accept Christ as Savior, we’re hungry to spend quiet time with Him. We can’t wait to be in church for every opportunity to gather with God’s people. But then, as we grow older in our faith, we find excuses to stay away from both our quiet time and from church. We’re just not in God’s presence as often, and the sad thing is that we don’t even really seem to care. We take God for granted. You must be purposeful and resolute in your relationship with God. If you have a challenging schedule, then you need to get God back on your schedule. As the saying goes, on paper, on purpose. Plan your day so that you give yourself enough time in the morning for some quiet time with the Father. Make church a priority. Don’t let other people, circumstances, sports, or other earthly pursuits dictate whether you will be in church each Sunday.
2. Talk more. A natural outgrowth of spending more time together with your spouse should be communication. When you started dating, you guys probably talked all the time. Over time, though, maybe you ran out of stuff to talk about. Sometimes, the conversation flows naturally. At other times, you may need to work at it, but keep on talking no matter what. Treat your spouse as your best friend and share not only your daily activities, but also your hopes, your fears, your very life with them.
God wants to converse with us. He speaks to us through His written Word. We speak to Him through the vehicle of prayer. We must set aside time in our busy day to read God’s Word and pray. My own personal recommendation would be to do it early in the morning before your day gets cluttered and your mind gets scattered. Again, we must make our conversation with God purposeful, otherwise our busy lives will quickly crowd Him out.
3. Give more. I believe the secret to a successful marriage is sacrificial, unselfish giving. When we purposefully plan and give our spouses the very best of our time, energy, and resources, then we end up appreciating each other more. Sacrifice would seem to be a dirty word in this culture. Everybody wants what they want, when they want it, and don’t even bother asking me to give any more than I’m already giving you. I believe this act of giving, though, is the key to success in any relationship. Give, and then be willing to give some more.
God wants us to give back to Him. He wants the “firstfruits” of our life: the very best of our time, talents, and money. But, what do we usually offer back to Him? I bet most of the it’s probably our leftovers. We “tip” Him financially by throwing a few bucks in the offering plate. We make it to church every other week. We don’t read our Bible or pray consistently. We don’t use our God-given talents to further the Kingdom of God, but we waste them on earthly pursuits. How do you think that makes God feel? Are we truly demonstrating that we love God with everything we have? I seriously doubt it.
4. Submit more. Submission is another one of those bad words were supposed to ignore in our modern culture. An attitude of submission, though, is critical for success in any relationship. When I speak of submission, I’m not talking about becoming a doormat and allowing yourself to be abused. Submission is simply recognizing the needs of the other person and putting their needs and desires above your own. A woman’s primary need is love and affection. A man’s primary need is respect. The Bible says in Ephesians 5:21-25, “ … submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” I’m not sure why we have made this issue so complicated in our (supposedly) Christian marriages.
In our relationship with Almighty God, He wants our complete submission. He wants us to be completely surrendered to Him and His desires. Once we have entered into a relationship with Christ, we should be completely submitted to Him. Our lives are no longer about living a selfish, self-absorbed lifestyle. Our lives should be about accomplishing His mission through us – advancing the Kingdom of God.
Questions: How’s your passion for your spouse? Are you showing up, talking, giving, and submitting? And how about your relationship with God? Are you really demonstrating a passionate love for Him as well? Do you think He will say to you one day “Well done, thou good and faithful servant?”