How can a frazzled mom continue to make her husband a priority? Authors Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus give practical advice for keeping romance alive in your marriage.
How can a frazzled mom continue to make her husband a priority? Authors Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus give practical advice for keeping romance alive in your marriage.
Linda: One woman told us about going away with her husband, and she had made a beautiful box, and in the box she had put five different experiences and told her husband, "Honey, we're going away for five days, and there are five surprises in here, and you get to draw one out every day, and then I will be here to fulfill each experience of your dreams." She said it was an incredible time, and it didn't take a lot of time, but it was exciting.
This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 6th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We're going to talk today about how you can put a little creativity and some spark back in your marriage relationship. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. We're on Day 33 of our 40-day Love Dare. Next weekend is Valentine's weekend, and we started back at the first of the year and have been working our way up to Valentine's Day, which is also the same weekend that we launch our spring season of FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences. Dennis, you're going to be speaking as part of the team at the conference in the Dallas/Fort Worth area at the Gaylord Texan Resort. We've got conferences taking place in other cities – Washington, D.C.; we've got one at a resort out in Albuquerque, New Mexico; we've got one at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania; other locations next weekend, but we thought between the first of the year and Valentine's Day we would take the Love Dare and learn to love like you mean it.
"The Love Dare" is the book that was featured in the movie, "Fireproof," which is now out on DVD, and you can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com if you need more information about the book or about the DVD. You can order those from us at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Here is your assignment for Day 33 of the Love Dare. It's built around the idea that in marriage two people are meant to complete one another. In Ecclesiastes 4 the Bible says "if two lie down together, they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?" So today's dare, today's assignment for you, which you can also find online at FamilyLifeToday.com, is to recognize that your spouse is an important part of your future success. Let your husband or your wife know that you desire to include them in the decisions you are making; that you need their perspective, you need their counsel, and if you've ignored your spouse's input in the past, admit that oversight and ask your spouse to forgive you. Your spouse is designed to complete you.
Again, if you need more information about the book, "The Love Dare," or the DVD, "Fireproof," or more information about the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences, go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com.
We've been talking about romance and intimacy in the marriage relationship this week, and we've been talking about how crucial it is to the health of every marriage relationship.
Dennis: You know, I think God created marriage relationship to experience passion, and it wasn't just intended to be experienced on the honeymoon. In fact, I believe the honeymoon was meant to be the low point – really. Barbara and I look back at it, and we look at couples who are starting out, and we think, "You rookies."
Linda: I wouldn't want to go back there.
Dennis: I would not want to go back to all the lessons I've had to learn and the tough issues that have had to be worked through as a couple. My, how sweet it is, though, to be where we are. I'm sure we'll look back on the next 25 and go, "Boy, I'd hate to start at year 25 again."
Bob: That's right. The grandmother who said she wouldn't want to go back there is Linda Dillow, who has been with us all this week. Linda, welcome back to the broadcast.
Linda: It's good to be here.
Bob: And along with her is Lorraine Pintus, and, Lorraine, you've also joined us all this week and together these two ladies have written a book called "Intimate Issues," which is a book by women for women about intimacy.
Dennis: And Bob and I had the courage to interview you with …
Linda: We had the courage to be here!
Dennis: Now, wait a second, we had to get our wives' permission for this thing.
Bob: That's right.
Dennis: I mean …
Bob: That's right – who had more courage in this room. Do you think it was us?
Dennis: I think all deserve it here. Well, today on the broadcast, I want to talk about how we put some sizzle back into a boring sexual relationship in marriage, how else to say it? Can a woman put some sizzle back in her marriage? Are there some ways she can do that? I know there are, because your book is full of them.
Lorraine: We're going to share a lot about – you know, it's interesting, as women, we pride ourselves on creativity, and we'll be creative with our houses and creative with our kids, but how often do we put forth the effort to be creative in the sexual relationship?
Bob: Yeah, good question – and why are you creative with table decorations – really, seriously – why will a woman gravitate – I'm not trying to sound bitter here …
Dennis: No, no, no.
Linda: You sound bitter, Bob.
Bob: Well, maybe there is a little of that …
Dennis: Probably is there but, you know, they answered that on the first day of this series.
Dennis: Back on Monday, you ladies mentioned that some women have a difficult time merging godliness and being a sensuous woman, and they don't see those two together as being a gift from God, and as a result they don't use their creativity in this area until a good book like this comes along that kind of gives them permission.
Linda: And God's Word gives them permission, gives all of us permission, and the more we can see His perspective the more we can be freed to be creative. But in my life, I can remember statements that older women made to me. I was married five years, and a woman who had been married 20 said, "Oh, Linda, just wait. The sexual relationship gets really old." Well, how discouraging.
I've been married 35 years. I wish I could find that woman and tell her she was wrong. It doesn't have to be like that but, yes, it takes creativity, it takes prayer, it takes time, but it can just become more exciting. I think once they capture that image of godly and sensuous together that they will apply their creativity in this area.
Dennis: Well, you two wrote the book. I've got to ask you – how do you both keep your creativity alive in this area?
Linda: We have to make it a priority, just like anybody else.
Dennis: And what does that mean?
Linda: It means that we try different things at different times. There was a time when my husband and I said, "All right, this month it's your time, honey, to think up something creative. You get the 15th of this month, and I can't wait to see what you're going to come up with. Next month, it's my turn." And we alternated months. I know other couples who have alternated weeks and just used every spark of creativity they had to think up an exciting sexual encounter with their mate.
Dennis: What I hear you saying is that it takes time, it takes focus, it takes making this area of your marriage a priority if you're going to grow and continue to add the sparks and the sizzle to the relationship.
Lorraine: But it's so worth it because you create a memory between the two of you that will cement your relationship. For instance, one of the things that my husband and I did – we couldn't afford to go to Hawaii, so we brought Hawaii to us. We got towels and laid them out on the floor. We had a big umbrella, we had coconut oil, and some drinks with little umbrellas in it, and we had an ocean wave music playing over the stereo. And, really and truly, we took our bedroom, and we changed it into Hawaii, and that is a memory for the two of us that is so special. It glues our marriage together to continue to do creative things like that.
But what do we say to our husband if we take the time to get the ocean wave music and a towel and an umbrella? We're saying, "I thought about you, I was anticipating being alone with you and loving you," and that message just says "I love you" so much more than if we said it with words.
Linda: One thing you have to be careful of, though, if you want to bring Hawaii into your bedroom. I heard of another woman that did that, and she went even more out than you did, Lorraine. She hauled in bags of sand, and literally made a beach, but she ruined the carpet. I mean, you have to be careful.
Bob: You can only carry this so far.
Dennis: You know, there are some of our listeners, though, and it's a specific group of women – they are the ones who have a lot of toddlers kind of hanging on them. In fact, Barbara used to describe herself as though she felt many days like she was a Christmas tree with all these ornaments hanging.
Linda: That's a great description.
Dennis: Hanging off of her legs and clinging to her, and she was exhausted. And, you know, there are some young moms who are listening to the broadcast today thinking, "You know what? I don't have the energy to even set up a towel or" …
Bob: … an umbrella.
Dennis: "And forget the coconut butter tanning lotion. I'm exhausted." What hope can you offer a young mom to offer some sizzle to her husband?
Linda: I think that a woman with children at that age needs to give herself a break. You have to lower your expectations a little bit. You can't have wild, crazy times every night. But once a month – once a month you can do something every special, and one of the things my husband and I did is we got together with another couple, we swapped kids, and once a month they'd watch our kids, we'd watch theirs, and then we would plan something special for that time. Usually, we'd like to have it so the kids were out of the house, because we were on a budget, so we did things at home.
So you adjust your expectations a little bit. We used to hire a babysitter to take our kids to the park because we wanted to be alone in the house, so we would tell this little babysitter that we had a meeting for two hours, and the children needed to be out of the home, and she would take them to the park, and they would come back, and we would greet them when they came back.
Lorraine: With big smiles on your faces.
Linda: We couldn't do that if there was the middle of a thunderstorm, but it worked a lot.
Dennis: And they never came back early?
Linda: We locked the door!
There is a creative woman in Colorado Springs, a young woman, and she came up to me, and she said, "Linda, how do you feel about somebody staying in your home?" I said, "I would love it. I would love for couples to be able to use our home." We have several young couples, because my husband and I travel a lot, and I call them and say, "Hey, we're going to be gone this week. If you guys want a night away, get a babysitter and come over. We know that you're on a budget, and you can't afford a hotel, so come use our house." I put clean sheets out on the bed, clean towels, and that's really my ministry to these younger women now, because I wish someone had done that for me. And I …
Bob: And, by the way, for our listeners in Colorado Springs, that number to call …
Linda: Well, I'll tell you, there are several people on the list. I don't think they could get in, but I hope older women will do that for younger women – to offer their home to be used as a hotel.
Dennis: You also talk about special times around an anniversary or a weekend getaway, which is more of an extended time away. Barbara and I do this two or three times a year. What have you ladies found effective in your relationship?
Linda: One woman told us about going away with her husband, and she had made a beautiful box and in the box she had put five different lovemaking experiences and told her husband, "Honey, we're going away for five days, and there are five surprises in here, and you get to draw one out every day, and then I will be here to fulfill each experience of your dreams." She said it was an incredible time, and he was so excited, he would kind of go peek in the box, and she said, "No! No, you have wait until tomorrow to see that one." It didn't take a lot of time, but it was exciting.
Dennis: You know, I want to underscore that because anticipation is a very important part of romance.
Linda: It's a very important part.
Dennis: When we dated one another, we anticipated being together, and there was a sweetness in anticipating time on a date with Barbara that finally occurred when we met, and we walked out to the car, and we drove down the road.
And I think if we're smart as married couples, we'll take that same principle of anticipation, which, by the way, is found in the book of Song of Solomon – that gift of anticipation. And use curiosity to provoke our spouse and let them know, "I've been thinking about you, sweetheart. I care about you, and there is something you can look forward to." I won't tell you what Barbara did, but I will say that she let me know when I went on a trip that when I got back, she was going to take me away.
And, I've got to tell you, on that trip …
Bob: I wanted to cancel some meetings …
Dennis: Cancel some speaking appointments, you know, to get home, and when she met me at the airport, and we headed out to a little bed and breakfast up in northern Arkansas, that still stands out as one of the great times we enjoyed as a couple – all because she gave me that gift of anticipation.
Linda: One of the things I did for my husband for his birthday – five days before an appointed time to get together, I handed him an invitation to a fruitful evening, and he had no idea what this meant. That was five days before. Then four days before, I put a blanket out on the floor of our bedroom, and he walked past it, he said, "What's that blanket doing there?" I said, "Wait and see, you'll find out in four days." Then three days before, I added some pictures and a big bowl of fruit, and each day I would add something to that blanket to make it very inviting, and he'd walk past each day, see something new, and know that that night is going to be very special. Now, I'm not going to tell you what we did that night, but the sense of anticipation that that built – those were very easy things, they didn't cost anything, and we did it right in our home.
Bob: I have to ask you – did writing this book change things for you?
Linda: Our husbands were real glad we were writing it.
And they did not want it to end! Does that answer?
Bob: But did it rekindle?
Lorraine: Yes, it did. For me, I have been immensely changed. The practical things are good, and they are helpful, but what I really needed was a change in my spirit and my attitude, because I have never been properly trained or educated on what God thinks and who I am as a sexual woman. And going through this process has made me very excited about who He wants me to become.
Dennis: You know, there are women listening, however, who – they are wondering, is there a hope that I could be alive to passion again in my marriage? What would you say to that woman?
Linda: Dennis, that's one of the reasons we put a 12-week Bible study in the back of the book, because we feel that it's not enough just to read a book or to listen to this broadcast. All of those things are good, but each woman needs to personally get into God's Word and allow God to speak to her heart because as her mind is transformed, it's going to filter down into her words and into her actions. We have become much more creative, but it started with us seeing God's perspective.
The doing is important, and I can make a coupon book and give to my husband 10 exciting sexual encounters, and he gets to cash them in, and I say, "All right, you have to cash it in a day before to give me time to plan it." And he'll love that, but that comes out of a spirit, becomes out of an attitude that Lorraine and I both have made a commitment to God – we want to be the lover to our husbands that You want us to be.
Bob: Let me ask you this question – let's say a wife says, "You know, my day is full. It starts early with this activity, that activity, I've got Bible study here, I've got my quiet time here" – are there some women that you would say, "Cut back on your Bible study and your quiet time and devote more time to your sexual life."
Linda: You know, the amazing thing about is that the sexual experience can also be a very spiritual experience. We have to make it a priority. We have to make our physical relationships with our husband a priority. But it can be one of the most life-changing spiritual experiences you'll ever have.
But, yes, I think there are some women that should perhaps not go to so many Bible studies and stay home and make a coupon book for their husband of how they are going to take them on a wonderful cruise.
Lorraine: And all the husbands are saying, "Amen!"
Linda: That's right.
Bob: I guess the question I'm asking, really, is can a woman say "This area of my marriage is going to be a B priority. The sexual area – sure, it's a priority, but, really, as I consider my priorities, my spiritual life is an A priority, my kids are an A priority, sexual – that's a B priority." Is that okay?
Linda: God is to be our first priority, but my husband is my second priority. And the sexual relationship is part of our relationship, so it has to be an A priority.
Dennis: You know, there may be a man listening right now who is going, "I don't think I'm near the top of the scale here." What would you say to him, because he can't control his wife's response here, it's not his responsibility – what would you say to him about how he can be appealing, love her, and call her and invite her to this passionate relationship?
Linda: Dennis, I would encourage men, but I would also encourage women to be brave enough to go to one another – for a man to come to his wife and say, "Honey, I want to become your picture of a dream lover. Would you please tell me what you would like me to become? Now, I know that I'm not that, and I know I'll have to grow, but I want to know what it is you desire most in a lover."
And, likewise, I think every wife should go to her husband and say, "Honey, I want God to make me into the lover you've always dreamed that I could become. Would you tell me what your picture is so I can ask God to make me into that?" We need to do that in a tone of love and encouragement, never condemnation or, "You're not this," but sort of a lifting up, an elevation.
Dennis: You know, I really agree with what you said, because this is an area of a relationship that can't be declare off limits. Couples do need to talk about this. A husband does need to express his expectations, his concerns, his insecurities to his wife so that she understands, and I think the wife also needs to explain where she is, and her own evaluation of where they are as a couple.
And then together, I think, begin to commit this area to prayer, and to really make this, as Bob said, an A priority, and make it something that is going to be an area of treasure growth and of great memories for the future. God has given us the ability to remember great times with our spouse, and those are to be treasured. Those are great times of romance and passion that carry us through the dry times of a marriage relationship, which are there during periods of suffering, during periods when you have little children hanging all over you, and every marriage needs that passion.
And I, personally, want to thank both of you for your book and for just the great job you've done here on the broadcast this week, and tell your husbands thanks for sharing this time with our listeners all across the country.
Lorraine: We've loved being with you, thank you.
Linda: Thank you so much.
Bob: And we have made a commitment, Dennis, that we are going to check with area hospitals in our listening area nine months from now and just see …
… just see if this week's worth of broadcasts …
Dennis: I thought you were going to talk about heart attacks, Bob.
Linda: Maybe both!
Bob: Well, you stop and think about it, I mean, you add it up, the number of folks who have listened all week, the ones who have called to get a copy of the book, "Intimate Issues," that you two ladies have written. We've sent out a bunch of those books this week. The number of folks who have ordered the "Simply Romantic Nights" collection that our team has put together and has just recently updated and refreshed. It's a great-looking package and a very creative resource.
And then those folks who have signed up to attend one of our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences as we kick off the season next Friday night in Dallas/Fort Worth, where you are going to be speaking at the Gaylord Texan Resort; at the Hershey Lodge in Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Albuquerque, New Mexico; I think there's another one in Virginia and Roanoke or Norfolk or somewhere like that. We've got conferences not only happening next weekend but throughout the spring. You take the cumulative effect of all of that, and there's going to be some romance renewal going on in a lot of marriages this spring.
You can go to our website at FamilyLifeToday.com, and there is information not only about the book and the resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife Today but also information about the upcoming Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences. You can register online or get your questions answered online or if it's easier, call us – 1-800-FLTODAY is the number. 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY or, again, go online at FamilyLifeToday.com, we'll try to answer any questions that you have, or you can make arrangements to have resources sent to you or get signed up for one of our upcoming Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences.
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Well, I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday when we're going to hear a message from Pastor C.J. Mahaney about what a husband can do to more effectively communicate his love for his wife. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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