The bedroom is a sanctuary, a gift for the refreshing restoration of the total man to support the balance of the human spirit.
Am I talking about sex? It’s only a small part of what I am saying. We need to learn to care enough to reach into the inner core of our mate. We need to care about the whole person, not simply stopping to give only our partial, distracted attention to each other; but our whole being and fiber. A part of love’s genius is patience: Patience for the process, the journey, and the whole experience. This “microwave” society that fills our consciousness and spirit with “hurry-up” will, if we allow it, causes us to mess up, screw up and miss out.
I watched my parent’s relationship, and realized very quickly that their marriage skills did not match their parenting skills. Dad loved mom with all his heart, but was not as sensitive and as skilled at romance and nurturing mama as he needed to be. They both accepted that this was how it was supposed to be, in part because of how they both grew up.
Over the years, couples have been drawn to me in times of marital trouble, primarily because I’m an ordained minister. In most cases it became apparent that they needed help before they encountered such difficulties.
When I got my first job, I would do all the things I felt my father should do for mama, like buy flowers, candy, gifts and take her to dinner. Spoil her! I loved to see her face light up with a wide grin. The truth was I was not dad. I could not give all the things she needed to flourish in a loving marriage. I watched them both suffer greatly in their relationship simply because they were both not willing to do the work and pursue new discoveries necessary to grow in their union. I notice mama would not discuss how she really felt about what she wanted or needed with dad, because she felt he would not listen or understand her point of view.
Dad could only see his point of view as how a women’s role was to play out in marriage. They both shut down and did not grow in their relationship. It was hard for me to watch what was happening. As a teenager I tried and worked hard to get both of them to come closer.
My first wife’s perspectives were very different when it came to marriage. However, I respected her views and perspective. After nine years of trying to make it work, it did not work out. We both were devastated. We had no children from the union. While in the process of healing, I made it my business to learn all I could about why it happened and how to navigate and use basic tools on how to better handle life in marriage.
One thing for sure, I learned plenty about myself. I had already been working as a lay counselor in the community and with local churches, attempting to help and support others who were having difficulty by simply adding my voice to those who wanted to make a happy marriage better.
I could not believe it; I was called left and right all over greater Los Angeles to come to speak to couples. I realized my pain and suffering gave me passion for marriage relationships.
I grew as a person, and became more capable of supporting and speaking on love, life, and marriage. Five years after my divorce I met my second wife Janel, who heard me speak on the topic of The Emotional Bond of Kissing at a local function. I began to notice her, and of course we kissed! Nine years and four sons later it just gets better and better.
Eighteen years of marriage total, and thirty plus years of counseling and being counseled have brought me humility, and knowledge that empowers my wife and I and most couples we come in contact with. We have private group sessions all the time with other couples helping them navigate through problems.
My heart wrenches at what I see as the effects of un-healthy, or divorced marital unions to couples and their children. Is there life after divorce? YES INDEED. Can a marriage survive challenges and trauma? ABSOLUTELY. Can a healthy and happy marriage use more work and maintenance? You bet. However the numbers are staggering and getting larger everyday.
Why are we failing in keeping marriage and families healthy and whole? STOP! What are we doing? This does not make sense. We need to critically think about what we are doing and the epidemic it’s creating of emotional relational dysfunctions. Simplicity is power. Over-thinking our problems many times is the problem.
A. Get to know yourself over and over again, before and during marriage. Recognize your likes and dislikes. Stay in tune to the changes in you. WARN PEOPLE! Say hey I’m changing, or say something’s going on with you that you don’t understand.
B. TALK, CONVERSATE, COMMUNICATE. Take your time and get to know and hear the other person. Do not get married if you are still in the mode of being SELFISH. You will not receive what you are not willing to give. Be willing to submit and serve one an-other with genuine selflessness.
C. HAVE FUN! In marriage you will have problems. However even in the midst of it, be creative and HAVE FUN! It’s Okay to be the silly, giddy, and childish couple sometimes. Others when they see you will say eeewww! Look at that couple having fun! HAVE FUN! HAVE FUN! CHOOSE TO HAVE FUN!
D. Make love, be intimate, have sex, more sex and more sex! Make sure you both are doing all the things necessary to educate, practice, and talk about healthy and safe sex issues in your marriage. Trust me; you will feel a whole lot better and be healthier mentally and physically.
Bonding with your mate is a daily practice and discipline. These are simple tools and ideas on how you can enjoy and keep a healthy union. Remember: When you are not bonding you are separating.
Just because there is chatter, does not mean you’re communicating. Turn down the chatter and listen for the harmony.
Honest conversation is a place to start. People have a tendency to hold back their opinions and feelings after being hurt or even shy about desires or issue they are having. You don’t have to arrive to immediate resolution all the time.
Anticipating your spouse’s need comes from a deep commitment to share, give, and nurture. Do not wait to respond to your lover’s request or needs. Anticipate by thinking ahead. Look for signs of fatigue before they ware themselves out.
Words are not always needed in order to facilitate understanding. It’s one’s joy, not duty, to watch and wait like a servant waiter on the other’s needs and desires. To serve your spouse needs should be a desire and passion. Both of you must want to serve each other.
Intimacy builds many times to the next moment and then the next.
True intimacy knows the boundaries, while enjoying the benefits. The tools are emotional, sensual, sexual, and relational passions for skilled lovers who learn how to use them masterfully. Keep the passion front and center. There are many things that can and will distract your fire and passion for your mate.
Our willingness to open our eyes and see marriage will never be about perfect people, but that its perfection is always wrapped in forgiveness, under-standing, kindness, compassion, and hope.
Marriage is a covenant privilege both holy and divine, usually seen as a lasting testament relation between God and humanity. The covenant made between husband and wife should always protect and cover like a sacred sanctuary, from danger and hard-ship. In time, two shall become one in life’s eternal process. Keep going, live and learn, it gets better. Remember, when you are not bonding you are separating.
Proceed until love finds a way.