Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Refresh Your Marriage: Go Back to Your First Love

Monday, February 8th, 2021

refresh-your-marriage

To breathe new life into a marriage that is going through hard times, go back to where you first fell in love. This will refresh your marriage by re-igniting what you had at the beginning of your relationship.

You can do this in many ways, but one tangible way is to go to the places and do the things you did at first. Remember the excitement of when you were dating, how you studied the face of this person and found him so dear. All those feelings are more easily accessed when you return to the original place where you first kissed, or where you got married, or where he first proposed to you, or where you went on your first date.

This is way easier if you live in the same city where you dated, where you got proposed to, where you kissed, etc. For me, I met my husband in California, he proposed in England, we married in Texas, and we are now living in Washington state. So how do we re-create those early memories?

Refresh Your Marriage: Go Back to Your First Love

First of all, we first met in California on a college church retreat that was on an ocean beach. We used to go to the same college Bible study, so we would walk around campus and talk. Secondly, we dated and first kissed in England, and he proposed to me at Planet Hollywood in London. Third, we got married in a small college chapel with stained glass windows in Texas.

So here in Washington state, we found a college campus. We parked nearby, walked to the school, and walked around, exploring the campus. Yes, the feeling I had more than 20 years ago came back, and we felt like college-aged kids again. We kissed in the stairwell of one of the buildings with classrooms, we saw a recreation building with students pre-occupied with their books and relationships, and we explored the small chapel that reminded us of where we got married, since it had stained glass windows. The feeling of how it was back then rushed back like a breath of fresh air, like a breeze lifting me to a better place.

It took merely half an hour, and it was free. It was one of my favorite date nights with my husband, because we had been going through a difficult time full of grief and sorrow, and going to a college campus was like a time machine, transporting us back to the beginning of our relationship. It was so beautiful, I wanted to cry for joy.

Ever since, I have been wanting to write about this fun and unique date, one that you can re-create yourself. For example, if your first kiss was on a bridge, go to that original bridge (or a similar one in the city where you now live), and go through the same situation that brought you together. Reminisce about how things were, and how you felt. Re-enter that moment through the re-entry point of that physical space, and go back to your first love like a time capsule.

Last March, my husband and I returned to the very campus in California where we first went to Bible study together, and where we spent so much time. While driving around the campus, I wanted to roll down the windows and blast 1980’s music, laugh, and be carefree. What a freeing feeling!

Date Night: Paint a Canvas

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Last weekend my husband and I went on a date night to paint a canvas. It was so much fun! My sister gave us a gift card for Painting with a Twist for Christmas. I had been wanting to go on this creative date for several years now, so we finally did it. I chose a mountain scene with a lake and forest.

Both Alan and I have always liked the idea of painting on canvas, ever since watching Bob Ross as children. There is something relaxing about watching someone paint. And Bob Ross always made it look so easy. This painting class was the same way. The instructor took us step-by-step through the painting: first the sky, then the lake, the forest, and the mountain last.

painting-a-canvas

The sky was interesting. We painted a white line for the horizon. Then we created a sunset, using reds, pinks, yellows, and blues. We added “fluffy little clouds.”

Next we painted the lake, along with its multi-colored ripples. Around the lake were the silhouettes of trees. Alan knew how to paint awesome trees, so he showed me how to zig-zag down the trunks of my trees.

painting-on-a-date

Finally we painted the mountain. We used white paint to go from the peak downwards on the mountain, looking like layering of snow. We created purple and pink shadows along the length of it, always moving the brush downwards.

painting-date

It was a really unique experience, as far as date nights go. I love how our paintings turned out!

I’m looking for more ideas for fun nights out as a couple (besides dinner), so in the comments, let me know: What are some unique date nights you’ve had with your spouse?

The Life-Giving Phone Call

Monday, February 19th, 2018

life-giving-phone-call

I rushed to the emergency room because my friend from Honduras was doubled over in excruciating pain. She needed someone to translate her Spanish into English. Wheeled into a CAT scan and a sonogram, my friend discovered she had a 14-centimeter mass on her uterus, a cyst in her ovary, and the organs in her abdomen were swollen. At that point they didn’t know that her appendix was full of pus and was about to burst.

Meanwhile one specialist after another came in and out of the room, asking questions. I found out that in Honduras, years ago, her last C-section had gone bad. It had opened up, and her intestines had come out of her body. She held her intestines in with her bare hand for 6 hours before she could get an operation to put them back in and sew her up.

After translating for 10 hours with no food, I was exhausted. Another friend from my Hispanic church called and asked if I needed anything. Food, I said. Within a short time, I was eating delicious Cuban food as far away from my friend as possible, since she was not allowed to eat or drink in case she needed emergency surgery.

When I looked into my friend’s anguished face, all I wanted was to take that pain into my own self to alleviate her. I realized this is what Jesus does for us. He loves us selflessly and takes all our anguish into Himself. I saw the cross in a new light, and I felt that Jesus was shining out of my face.

The lab assistant noticed. She said I had a gift, and that she had noticed my selflessness a year ago as I was taking care of another Hispanic woman who was alone at the hospital, in an emergency.

When she pierced my friend’s arm with a needle, I petted my friend’s head and told her that it was all for the best because now she was going to get the surgery that she had needed for years. “Hold on,” I said. “God is providing for you to be healed. Not many hours from now, you will be healthier than you’ve been for years.” Her eyes filled with hope and joy in the middle of her moaning pain.

I called home and told my son to make spaghetti for dinner. I texted my husband that dinner would be ready when he got home, but that I was at the hospital with my friend.

Later that evening, I answered my cell phone; it was my husband. We had been in some recent arguments, and depleted as I was, I braced myself. I didn’t want to be told that I had to go home and abandon my friend who had no way to communicate with the doctors and surgeons. I asked questions of the doctors that my moaning, almost unconscious friend wouldn’t have thought of asking, and I knew enough of her story to be able to add vital information that was needed for making the decision to go ahead with the surgery.

I was pleasantly surprised that the phone call was life-giving.

My husband asked if I wanted him to bring me some food. I told him I had just eaten, but it was kind of him to think of me. I wasn’t sure how much longer I would be at the hospital, because my friend was going to be transported to another hospital for the night, to have surgery the next day.

I was so exhausted from making life and death decisions for my friend, answering social workers and countless other people what her situation was. On the phone with my husband, he gave me the strength I needed by cracking jokes and then staying on the line and not hanging up. I was transported back in time to when we were dating, and he cared and wanted to be with me.

I felt refreshed after the phone call. It was exactly what I needed.

After following her ambulance to the other hospital, I settled her in for the night and went home. The next day my friend got the surgery she needed, and she has been recuperating ever since. I’m exhausted from spending a full week at the hospital, and I’m glad things are sort of back to normal.

Don’t Attribute Wrong Motives to Your Husband

Friday, February 28th, 2014

wrong-motives-to-your-husband

Don’t attribute wrong motives to your husband. In the same way that you are a new creation at salvation, your husband is also a new creation. Deep down he desires to please God. Even if he is trapped in his flesh and sins out of habit–usually through some form of selfishness–so do you. None of us who are true believers wants to do the wrong thing. Our conscience makes us feel bad, and we ask God to help us overcome sin.

I used to attribute wrong motives to my husband without even realizing it. My husband would make a statement, and I would twist his statement to make him seem like he was attacking me when he wasn’t. “Susan , you’re just hurting yourself by making up something that I didn’t say,” he told me one day. I stopped in my tracks and realized that he was right. He had made a statement that was not positive or negative, and I had extrapolated a negative motivation behind it. And there he was, refusing to defend himself because I was the one causing the problem.

“I don’t know how to stop doing it,” I said to my husband, referring to the fact that I would subconsciously attribute the worst motive to him instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt and expecting that we were on the same side. “What should I do? My brain automatically makes you out to be the bad guy, and I don’t want to do that any more. Help me figure out what to do.”

We sat down, and he prayed with me. We asked God to break this pattern of negative interaction. Do you know what? From that day forward, I stopped doing it!

Most areas of sin in my life take years for me to overcome, but this one was resolved in an instant. I’m not sure if God just fixed the negative pattern in my brain through a miracle, or if realizing that I was twisting my husband’s words and hurting my marriage caused me to be aware of what I was doing. In any case, I praise God that this destructive pattern is gone from my marriage!

I talk about this a lot more in my free audio about how powerful praying with your spouse can be: How to Get Your Husband to Pray with You