12.15.2011

Affair Proofing Your Marriage

Charles Spurgeon is quoted to have said, “It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

When my husband and I got married we had a tough time transitioning from being two strong-willed independent people into a unified couple.  We didn’t have huge marriage issues to overcome — we had a lot of little everyday annoyances that started to chip away at the foundation of our relationship.

Slowly, we stopped seeing all we had and started focusing on all that was lacking in each other.

Honestly, enjoying each other got lost in all the efforts to fix each other.  If you’ve ever been in this place with a relationship, you know how disillusioning it can be.  You know how it can open your marriage up to a world of attack and the temptation to think, “Did I marry the wrong person?  I didn’t know it was going to be this hard.”

One day I was pouring my heart out to God in utter frustration.  I desperately wanted to get off the hamster wheel of aggravation we seemed to be stuck on.  We just kept going around and around with what was lacking in our relationship but never made any effort to progress in doing something right.

As I was praying, an idea popped into my head… The Love Jar Activity.

This would be an activity where each of us would have a jar with 5 slips of paper inside.  Art would write one thing on each of his papers that I could do for him that would speak love to him.  And I would do the same with my papers.

Then we’d switch jars and once a week for 5 weeks straight, we’d draw a piece of paper from each other’s jar.  Whatever that paper suggested, we’d do that special thing for the other person sometime during that week.

Of course, we established some parameters going into the game that fit our schedules and budget.  And I can’t say Art was jumping up and down when I introduced this idea to him… but eventually he warmed up to the idea and in the end wound up loving it!

As the weeks went on this simple activity did 3 crucial things in our relationship…

1.  It reintroduced a sense of fun that had gotten lost in the minutia of life.

2.  It taught us how important it is to be a life long student of your mate… Really seeking to understand how this other person receives love and needs to be loved.

3.  It reminded us that love is a choice.  We can’t rely on “that loving feeling” to always find us… we have to choose love and let the feelings follow.

Honestly, I think this simple activity did more to help recapture the love in our relationship than anything else we could have done in this really tough season.

If you would like more ideas like these and marriage advice from a very imperfect couple, I’m giving away 3 sets of my marriage books today:  “Capture Her Heart” — for husbands to read… and “Capture His Heart” — for wives.

These are short books power-packed with stories from my marriage, life-lessons, and simple marriage advice… perfect for people who don’t have story book marriages but would like to invest wisely in their relationship.

If that’s you… leave a comment today.  I’ll read your comment, pray for your marriage and randomly choose 3 people to win.

Comments

  1. Joan Mosel says

    My daughter is getting married this year and I just sent her the article you wrote the ” 3 Marriage Lies” I would like to get her both books prior to their wedding. Thank you for the wonderful wisdon you have shared and may it be a blessing to all who read it.

  2. Crystal Walls says

    I really love reading your articles and blogs Lysa. I am so happy I “stumbled” upon this website. My husband and I have been married three years. He is active duty Air Force and we just got restationed to another state and city. We have children and we just have alot going on in our lives that make our marriage stressful. I have been trying to get over the hump of just plain ole non connectivity. I desire to have a great marriage and I want to make my husband happy daily. I pray often about our marriage and would love for you to pray for us to. I am going to introduce to him the ‘love jar’ and hope he’s open to it. Thank you for all your encouraging words. You may never really know how much it helps me and people like me.

  3. li says

    thank you so much. me and my husband also have problems. please do forward information that might help. i understand you and it makes it better to even listen to you coz uve been through this

  4. says

    thank you for your blog. I enjoyed reading it. and hope one day that I will be able to retrust my husband and have no doubts about believing him.

  5. Sandy says

    I just read your blog about love being a decision not a feeling. Having been married 23 years, and many negative feelings later, I wish I had heard that earlier. My concern though is primarily for my younger sister married 7 years with a 3 yr old and 18 mo old twins. She and her husband seem to function as two independent people instead of a couple. My sister a very strong christian would read those books cover to cover and search for any bit of insight and guidance. Possibly she could get him to read them too. They need help!!

  6. Cindy says

    I wish I had seen this long ago, but I believe it is never to late so I am going to give this love jar a shot. We have been married 27 1/2 years and lots of thing get taken for granted. I think you start in “love” and after having shared so many pleasant and unpleasant things that life brings you lose sight of what drew you together to begin with. You forget to do the things that the other person loved when you 1st were together, you become predictable. We need to be reminded of the little things that can bring a smile to our face and heart. I would be thrilled beyond words to come home to a meal that my husband prepared, even if it was awful! Simple things can make a big difference. I think any marriage, new, old all need help from time to time and we need someone outside of our cirlce to point this out! I would love to read these books and get my husband to read them as well.

  7. Errica says

    Lisa,
    I love all your posts! You have such a unique gift that combines Godly wisdom & humor. Thanks for all your encouragement. As I lay here at 2:54 am while my husband snores, I think “we” could really use those books…:-/