By Kyle and Desirae Idleman
What’s your favorite genre of movies to watch? I read an article that explained the reason we often choose to go to a certain kind of movie is more than just for entertainment.
It may be on a subconscious level, but apparently we are drawn to movies that allow us to experience an alternative reality. So if your life is boring and mundane, chances are you love a good action-adventure movie. If your life is safe and comfortable, you may be drawn to a scary movie. If your life is predictable and certain, you may love a good mystery. And if you feel lonely or disconnected, you may love a romantic tear-jerker or a romantic comedy. (Don’t get defensive. I’m not saying these are exclusively the reason you would enjoy a certain kind of movie. Yet there must be some truth to it because I read it on the Internet.)
One of the primary reasons your desire for your spouse diminishes instead of deepens is that you just accept your current reality. You just accept that things are the way they are, and the passionate kisses, the long walks hand-in-hand, and the un-contained laughter are just for the movies. In Song of Solomon we consistently witness the husband and wife pursuing each other and making time together a priority.
Here’s an example
In this verse, the fiancee’ made a simple request: Give me your work address. She wanted to know where he hung out during the day. Naturally, the right question to ask during that time period was, “Where do you graze your flock?” The point here is she wants to go where he goes.
When two people are very much in love, they have no trouble figuring out ways to spend time together. Time becomes their canvas for creatively expressing their love. They try new restaurants or maybe they consistently visit the same one where they order the same thing. They find time and a place to run or take walks.
The point is that time together is a priority. The question for you and your spouse may not be, “Where do you graze your flocks?” Instead the questions might sound more like this:
- Do you want to start blocking off Tuesday nights for dinner?
- Do you mind if I run to the grocery store with you?
- Are you free to join me on the porch for a few minutes?
- What if we started going for bike rides in the evening together?
- Do you want to run over and spend some time with your mother?
In struggling marriages, which crumbles first, quality time together or romantic feelings? The answer is yes! Those two things are tightly enmeshed. Time builds love and love makes time. It may come easy when you’re head over heels, but in a great marriage it will take a little work. It has to be an intentional priority. You’re going to pursue spending time with your spouse because your relationship is worth it.
Sometimes we think romantic desire shouldn’t require effort, that it should come naturally. But that’s not true.
Deepening any desire requires time and energy. You make pursuing time with your spouse more of a priority and your feelings of desire will start to catch up with your intentional actions.
Sometimes it’s the small stuff that pays the big dividends. He’s not really into Downton Abbey, but she likes it-so he sits down and watches with her, sparing the snarky comments. She’s not really into watching basketball, but she loves his passion for it. So they watch together (and only talk during the timeouts).
We feel most attracted to people when we see them at their best. I’m impressed with this woman that Solomon loved. She was willing to meet him in the pasture. Not a super romantic place, last time I checked. Sheep do not make for an interesting evening, but she wanted to be where he was.
It’s trite to say it, but let’s be trite: Love takes time. It takes patience and the willingness to go somewhere-literally or figuratively. For today, let me suggest doing something together out of the normal routine. Find ways to “go” somewhere new, to be together under new circumstances. I’m not so sure about Red Lobster and bowling, but whatever it takes to be there for each other.
Now that our four kids are a bit older, here’s how we try to spend time together:
Daily: We take time to talk and pray together without interruptions.
Weekly: We go on a date. We try to go out one evening a week, but sometimes it’s just connecting for a short lunch.
Quarterly: We leave town for a two-night romantic getaway (full disclosure: sometimes she comes with me on a work trip).
Annually: Just the two of us go somewhere for a week and have as much fun as possible.
It may look different for you, but I know this doesn’t happen by accident. Pull out the calendar and agree together about some times and places where you can connect.
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