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Monday, February 11, 2013

Today I have a guest post over at the Hope at Home Blog, where my good friend Beth inspires and encourages adpotive families, with a heart to transform orphans into sons and daughters.

Here is the first part of that post:

Do you scoff or cringe at the thought of Valentine’s Day? 

“Who has time and energy for romance? Certainly not me!”

I get it that life is crazy sometimes (okay, honestly, most times). There are always so many things bidding for our time, attention and energy.

Still, I implore you not to write off this season of your life as a romance free era. I know it’s tempting to think that there will be more time to focus on the intimacy in your marriage later on. But the truth is that later never comes. Trust me, I know.

My wife, Jenni, and I have been married more than 30 years, and still our crazy-busy life has a tendency to infringe on the time and effort we give to romancing each other. That is just the day and age we live in.

Romance on a Time and Energy Budget

The thing is, you can romance your spouse without a huge effort. In fact, I often say that little love expressions, done consistently, will have a bigger impact on your relationship than grandiose expressions done only once in a while...

Read the rest of my post over at Hope at Home. It has lots of ideas for keeping romance alive even when romance seems impossible.

photo credit: evdoha /
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2016 Update: Intimate Connections now available in hardcopy!  Details Below.

Face it, a lot of husbands aren’t that great at conversation, much less deep and meaningful conversation.

That’s a problem for building intimacy in a marriage, because as I define it, intimacy comes from being fully known, yet completely loved. 

It’s the being known part that is hardest for most couples. It’s so hard to be “naked” without shame, isn’t? (If  you haven’t seen what I’ve written on this topic see this post.) We tend to hide our innermost feelings because we fear being judged for them.

Men are especially guilty of this (I know because I am one).  And in truth, a lot of the emotional disconnect with couples is because a lot of husbands just aren’t comfortable baring their souls.

So What’s a Couple To Do?

How can you build emotional intimacy when the husband isn’t that great at sharing his feelings or engaging in intimate conversations?

I’ve got a workbook called Intimate Connections. The idea for this came about from something I did for our 20 year anniversary (more than ten years ago now!).

It’s filled with great fill-in-the-blank conversation starters like “20 Places We’d Like to See,” “20 Ways Our Marriage is Great,” “20 Ways to Explore Each Other’s Bodies.” and “20 Dream Dates We Want to Have.”  Some of them you fill out together, others you fill out separately and compare notes.

Maybe you could incorporate a few of these questions into your Valentine’s Day plans. Order now and select expedited shipping at checkout to get it before February 14th.

Do you have some other questions that could be asked of the two of you to spark some intimate conversation?  I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

photo credit: auremar /

Monday, February 4, 2013

What is true love?

As I said in the kick-off post for this True Love series, I plan to look closely at the way love is expressed to us by God in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. To me that is the best way to learn about True Love.

The story of the Gospel is really a love story. It’s the story of a God who would go to any lengths to have us for himself; who would do whatever it took to live in intimacy with us forever. Even if that meant the death of His own Son.

That is True Love.

It was clear that we would never keep the rules well enough to earn our way back to him. We were stuck in our own imperfection. Mired in our own weakness and sin.

So grace stepped in and found us. Jesus gave his all so that we could be restored to intimacy with the Father. Jesus came to make us his bride for all eternity. Undeserving as we were, He made us the righteousness of Christ.

Jesus overcame our inability to keep the rules so that we could have relationship with him. 

He didn’t merely overlook our failures. He overcame them by his own sacrifice of love, even giving up his own life.

All for the sake of intimacy.
So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
Rom 7:4
How does Jesus’ display of extravagant love help us understand True Love in marriage?

The next time your husband or wife falls short, offends you, makes a mistake or acts in a way that would otherwise drive you apart, stop and think of how Jesus responded to these very things in us.

So look to Jesus’ example. The next time offense wants to come between you and your beloved, ask yourself, “What must I do to maintain intimacy in this situation? How can sacrificial love win the day and keep our connection?”

I’m not saying it’s easy to do. It's not. But I do believe that is the example of True Love we are to emulate in our marriages.

Do you have a story of when True Love triumphed in your own marriage? Is there a time when your husband or wife put the intimacy in your relationship ahead of his or her right to be offended or hurt? Share your stories in the comments.

photo credit: iofoto /

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