*Jeff will talk about this on WEEC, 100.7FM Tuesday morning, February 14th!
Rekindle Your Relationship and Rekindle the Romance are phrases with a negative connotation. The term 'rekindle' suggests that a fire has died, or isn't burning as you'd like it to. Why not? The causes of smoldering and dying fires and ways to revive them provide some ideas for action-steps to apply in your relationship today!
Why fires die, and what to do about it!
1. It was left untended. The number one rule for fires is that you must keep an eye on them. Logs need to be added every once in awhile. And experienced tenders know that the best time to add is while the fire is still burning brightly. Walk away long enough and the fire will die. The application to relationships is obvious. They need constant attention. Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages are great fuels for bright, hot and beautiful relationships!
a. Words of Affirmation
b. Acts of Service
c. Quality Time
e. Physical touch
How would your rank order these ingredients? Consider rating them 1-5, and then ask your spouse if they would be interested in hearing what it means to you when they do each of these for you AFTER you invite them to share their rank-ordered list with you.
2. It was fueled with bad fuel. Wet or green wood is hard to ignite, and harder to keep burning while cured and dry wood burns like we want it to; hot and bright. Get a great fire going with good wood and then add the wet and you have the opposite of bright and beautiful. Instead you have dark, smoky and smelly. Sometimes its necessary to remove the wet fuel as part of the process to rekindle a fire.
What's wet wood for a relationship? Surely you can make the list. Negative contributions like harsh tones, impatience, criticizing, complaining, controlling, selfishness, etc. The antidote is LOVE expressed through fruits of the Holy Spirit: joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22).
Would your relationship benefit from removal of some wet wood? Ask God to replace any of your relationship dampening behaviors and attitudes with the fruit of His Holy Spirit.
3. Outside forces, like wind or rain doused it Have you watched a fire die due to elements beyond your control? Strong winds and sheets of rain are equally capable of extinguishing bright flames. You may have done everything right by using dry wood and a progression of kindling, but when unexpected elements became part of the equation the flames were doused.
Proverbs says that the rain falls on the just and unjust. Translation? Every life will be affected by stress and loss. Unexpected occurrences bring variations of grief, such as anger, sadness, fear. Disappointments, discouragements and disillusionment's all take a toll, and when you're in relationship, the outside elements don't have to hit you directly to have an effect on you. When you are involved in an intimate relationship you are inevitably affected by things that affect your spouse.
While you may not be able to change the weather, you can change how it affects you and your spouse. How? By providing some covering comfort and protection to each other.
Recently its been pretty cold in Ohio. Today when I went out for errands I put on an extra layer. That reduced the chill I experienced and made the weather more tolerable.
In relationships we can be like jackets to shield from snow, wind and rain. We can cover and cuddle our loved one with patient and loving listening and comforting affection. Have you grieved recently? I have, and Jill's patient hours of loving listening and reassuring affection took the edge off an emotional storm that affected our flame. Her covering protected our fire until the storm subsided a bit.
How could you come between your spouse and the elements? Sometimes, storms affect both of us pretty equally. In those instances, we take turns protecting the fire!
*Tip to Coach Your Own Marriage
If your marriage could speak, what would it say? If it could make some requests, what would it ask for? Pretend that you are an observer of your relationship. Take a step back, just like you might take a step back from a fire to get perspective on what it needs. If the fire could talk, what would it ask for? More and better fuel? Shelter from unfriendly elements? Valentines day is a great time to assess the State of Your Union! Don't make it overwhelming. Simply try to identify at least one thing your marriage would request more of or less of, or what it would ask to start happening or to stop happening...and then DO IT!
**Jeff and Jill Williams are Marriage Coaching pioneers, authors of "Marriage Coaching: Heart Hope and Skills for a Great Relationship" (available in paperback and Kindle, globally on Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com). They are also co-founders of Great Relationships a not for profit on mission to train married couples to coach their own marriage and to help other couples globally! They also run a private counseling and coaching practice to provide services in person and remotely (e-counseling). Call or write for a complimentary consultation or to learn how to enroll in training. 937-717-5591, or Jeff.GTRE@Gmail.com. www.graceandtruthrelationship.com.