Keeping the marriage flame aglow: Part II

by | February 10, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: February 7, 2019 at 4:09 pm

Almost one year ago to the date, I wrote an article entitled, “Keeping the Marriage Flame Aglow.” After it was published in this newspaper, a number of people told me how much the 40 ideas that I suggested to keep that flame aglow were so true and motivational.
One reader who I ran into in a local store told me how her marriage has survived 43 years, and it was because of some of the same ideas that I suggested that she and her husband already had in place.
In that article, I mentioned that when a couple marries, they must understand that it is a partnership. They must work together to keep the bond so that the flame in their marriage will remain aglow. Further, I indicated that if a couple wants to keep that flame glowing in their marriage, respect for each other and the marriage itself is key. Colossians 3:18-19 (ESV) confirms this: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
From my original illustration of “Keeping the Marriage Flame Aglow,” let’s take a look at three of the suggested ideas: “Respect each other, communicate with each other, and build each other up, not tear each other down.” As I focus on these three ideas, think again about what is stated in the aforementioned Scriptures.
Three vital words from these ideas are “respect,” “communicate,” and “build.” If any marriage is going to keep that spark alive, these three ingredients must be included in the mixture. If you disrespect each other, there is going to be no positive communication, and certainly there will be nothing to build upon in the marriage. I Corinthians 13:4-8 affirms: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”
Therefore, watch what you say to each other in your marriage. The wrong words expressed in a marriage can blow out the glow forever if you don’t have Christ at the center of your marriage.
As children, we learned the rhyme, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me…,” as first recorded in 1892 in The Christian Recorder, a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. What children are taught in this rhyme is not to get involved in a physical or verbal altercation because someone has teased or taunted them; be the bigger person by just ignoring what has been said. However, that is not always easy to do.
Therefore, when talking to your spouse, always think before you speak. From that note, here are some things in my “sequel” to “Keeping the Marriage Flame Aglow” that you should never say to your spouse if you want to keep that glow in your marriage:
You get on my nerves!
I’m sick and tired of you and wish you would just leave.
You are a disgrace!
I am sorry that I ever married you.
The last boyfriend (girlfriend) I dated would draw circles around you.
You are so dumb and stupid!
Can you do anything right?
Am I the only person in this house who has a brain?
What is wrong with you? Nothing you ever say makes sense!
You cannot dress!
You can take that cheap gift right back to the store.
I wish you would just disappear!
I’m leaving; I don’t need you!
And I think the worst thing you could ever say to your spouse with sure fire regret:
I don’t love you anymore!
Consequently, if you want to keep the marriage flame aglow, these are much nicer and more considerate things that you can say to your spouse:
Thanks for putting away my clothes!
I love you more and more each day!
Dinner was delicious.
Sit down and relax. I will take care of the dishes and mop the kitchen floor.
Here are some roses for you, just because!
You look absolutely stunning!
You are the most handsome man (beautiful woman) in the world!
There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.
You did an awesome job on the lawn.
I am so proud of you!
You smell delicious!
I am so glad that you are the father (mother) of our children.
Honey, I’m taking you on a surprise date tomorrow evening! (This can be initiated either by the husband or the wife.)
Pastor’s sermon this morning reaffirmed just how fortunate I am to have you in my life.
Enjoy your day!
Remember three key ingredients in keeping that flame aglow in your marriage: “respect,” “communicate” and “build.” Disrespecting each other, making no effort to talk or hold meaningful conversations, and taking no time to build up the relationship can easily destroy a marriage.
Further, don’t invite third parties into your marriage. They do not belong in your sacred union. The only third party that should be in your marriage, front and center, is Jesus Christ.
Since Valentine’s Day is coming soon, surprise each other in a very special way that you haven’t done before. I bet that will get some sparks to flying!
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!

(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

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