Dr. Steve Call, author of Reconnect; insights and tools for cultivation meaningful connection in your marriage, says this regarding play...
"Play is an essential ingredient of intimacy. Intimacy comes from the Latin word, intimare, which means to make familiar. The famous philosopher Plato is credited with this thought about play: 'You can discover more about one person in one hour of play than in a year of conversation. ' Playing together cultivates understanding, safety and trust."
Play is a way to cultivate our friendship with one another, and according to John Gottman, (www.gottman.com), marriages that are built upon friendship bring increased contentment to both partners.
What is play? Play is any activity or experience that brings us pleasure and enjoyment, and it looks different for each couple. Dr. Call says; "Play soothes and provides reassurance because it says to our spouse, I want to be with you. You matter to me. I choose you."
Monique and I are on recent getaway were reflecting on the ways we have incorporated "play" in our almost 27 years of marriage. There have a wide variety of activities we shared together, including: playing card games, backgammon, ladder golf, corn hole, shooting baskets, bicycle riding, mountain biking, morning coffee times, walks around the neighborhood, sight-seeing drives and more recently hiking.
Here we are hiking in the Grand Canyon, AZ, enjoying God's creative artistry in living color.
We have to agree with Dr. Steve Call from our experience in almost 27 years of marriage; "play" has been significant in creating a deeper friendship and intimacy in our relationship. We find that in "play" we decompress and are just able to be ourselves; step away from the entrapment of busyness that wants to separate us.
How are you cultivating "play" in your marriage? We would love to hear from you. We would love to incorporate your stories of "play", that they might encourage others. Each of our marriages are unique to us, thus sharing is so helpful to all.
We encourage you to consider Dr. Steve Call's book; Reconnect, a fantastic resource for your marriage. Go here to get your copy today.
We continue to look at a husband's needs and expectations of his wife in marriage. Dave Willis, in his blogpost, addresses specifically what a husband needs, wants and expects from their wives. (in no particular order). He suggests there are 5 key needs, wants or expectations husbands have for their wives. Here they are:
4) Domestic support
Things to consider first...
Taking a higher view regarding marriage (God's view) is critical if we are going to comprehend sexuality in marriage. Pete and Geri Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, have informed much of what Monique and I believe about sexuality in marriage. This is from one of their blogposts and podcasts...
1. Marriage is a life work – a vocation with a mission. We are “sent” by God to our spouse to love passionately, permanently, intimately, totally, and unconditionally.
2. My first call in life is to be living sign of His love to the church/world in my marriage. I am to be present to my wife as God is to me.
3. Christian marriage is meant to be lived in an aura of sexual chemistry and respect.
4. To raise my children in love, I have to make love.
Generally speaking, a majority of men have a strong physical desire for frequent sex, but sex isn’t just physical for them. He feels connected to you when you make love. The Scazzero's believe that our sexuality is deeply rooted in our spirituality. (Jesus' love for us as followers, Holy Spirit in us) This makes perfect sense in the connection physical, emotional and spiritual that happens during intercourse. Do you see it? Making your sexual intimacy a priority demonstrates a deep love, the love of Jesus, from one to the other.
Trusting in our new identity in Christ is a key truth that ushers us into the reality that we can be "naked and unashamed" once again. It is here we find freedom to express ourselves sexually.
We continue, in this post, to chat about a husband's needs and expectations of his wife in marriage. Dave Willis, in his blogpost, addresses specifically what a husband needs, wants and expects from their wives. (in no particular order). He suggests there are 5 key needs, wants or expectations husbands have for their wives. Here they are:
4) Domestic support
I first came across this need for respect through the teaching on marriage from Dr. Emerson Eggerich, Love and Respect. His discovery was rooted in this passage in Ephesians...
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:31-33
Research has found most men would rather feel respected by their wives than feel loved. Dr. Eggerich in essence says that the language of respect in marriage, for most men, is life giving. Basically, when you affirm your husband and believe in him, he’ll feel like he can take on the world. Thus the opposite is also true; when you nag him or constantly correct him or insult him, it will crush his soul.
I have found that respect is found in affirmation, and this is a need for husbands and wives.
Our friends at Trueface say this regarding affirmation; "Affirmation is one of the most important gifts that we can give. Affirmation meets a God-given need; without which I cannot fully know who God has made me." I think respect is packaged in affirmation and it speaks to our hearts because we are all created in the image of God, which roots all humanity in incredible dignity.
When a husband doesn't feel respected, a common reaction to disrespect is withdrawal. Dr. Eggerich does a beautiful job explaining this here in this post and in the brief video...go here.
Have you experienced withdrawal in your marriage? What ways do you show respect to your husband? How often do you affirm one another in your marriage? More next time...
We are talking about a husband's needs and expectations of his wife in marriage. Dave Willis, in his blogpost, addresses specifically what husbands need, want and expect from their wives. (in no particular order). He suggests there are 5 key needs, wants or expectations husbands have for their wives. Here they are:
4) Domestic support
I'd like to start with companionship, and suggest it should land near the top of any list. I think we can safely substitute the word friendship for companionship here for our purposes. According to research by Dr. John Gottman, long-term vitality and connection is maintained through moments of intentional friendship woven throughout the course of your relationship.
Below are five simple ways to strengthen the friendship in your marriage, taken from Liz Higgins great article, 5 Simple Ways to Strengthen the Friendship in Your Marriage.
1. Make small moments into pivotal experiences.
This is when the intentional work of maintaining your marital friendship is most important. Couples in long-term relationships must learn to make the seemingly small and mundane moments actually pivotal moments that show your partner you are in tune with their world.
In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, we call this attunement. You intentionally take the time to tune in, actively listen to, and respond to your partner in a way that leaves them acknowledged and heard. This takes practice, as it does't come naturally for the majority of us.
2. Express genuine interest in your partner.
Do you do fun things together during your free time? You don’t have to have the same interests as your partner, but you can absolutely enjoy time spent together by engaging in one of their (or your) interests.
3. Make everything positive in your relationship foreplay.
As contrary as it may sound, the smallest ways that you acknowledge your partner’s questions and expressions are the most significant in strengthening and securing your physical bond. According to Dr. Gottman’s research, there is actual legitimacy to the “romance starts in the kitchen” mantra.
Daily experiences like doing the dishes, folding laundry, watching TV, or cooking together can be opportunities for a deeper connection to occur. These can be moments to share about your day, talk about your goals, or simply to check in on how each other is feeling.
4. Make your friendship unconditional.
When you think of your closest friends, you probably know that there are few things (if any) that could dissolve the bond between you. There is an acceptance of your differences, an understanding that you may disagree on certain issues but love each other nonetheless.
Simply bringing this mentality into your marriage will do wonders for your connection and romance. Recognizing that you will have differences in opinion and ways of addressing certain issues that come up throughout your life can allow you to explore your partner in a different way.
Work stress, issues with the kids, issues with other family members, and so many other things can overflow into your marriage. There should be no conditions when it comes to showing up for your partner. Treat your partner with the same understanding and unconditional support as you would hope to receive from them.
5. Be on your partner’s team.
This goes beyond being able to accept your differences. When it comes to you and your partner versus the world, you should always take the side of your spouse. Never side with the enemy.
Show genuine interest in being on your partner’s side, and never do or say things that could leave them feeling insignificant or alone. Stand up for your partner when you see them feeling uncomfortable in a social setting. Ground yourselves in your relationship by reminding your partner of your future goals when they are doubting themselves.
True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart. Helen Keller
I definitely agree with what Dave Willis has shared here below regarding expectations in marriage....
"One of the most significant sources of stress in marriage is tied to expectations. When expectations are unclear, unhealthy, unspoken or unmet, one or both spouses can start to feel neglected, inadequate and/or frustrated with the marriage. I’m convinced many (if not most) divorces come back to expectations.
When a man and woman first start out together in marriage, both of them are carrying unspoken expectations. They each have a vision of what the home life will be. They have separate ideas of what their sex life will be. They have different dreams for what their future family will be. They also have different expectations for what the each of their responsibilities should be."
Dave goes on in this post to address specifically what husbands need, want and expect from their wives. (in no particular order) I'd like to address each of these needs/expectations in separate blog posts. Stay tuned!
4) Domestic support
You can read the rest of Dave Willis' article here.
Let's have a conversation...
Expectations are only valid when they are mutually agreed upon. #ehs
Have you ever played the blame game in your marriage? I have and it gets me nowhere but in deeper relational trouble with my wife. Instead of taking responsibility for my actions or inaction, I place blame on something or somebody else. Yikes!
A couple of weeks ago Monique and I were spending a Sat. evening watching the U.S. Open women's championship tennis match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. Naomi was playing for the first time in a U.S. Open championship, she's just 20 years old, while Serena is notably one of the greatest women's tennis players of all time. Serena was Noami's idol as a young girl playing tennis.
Watch here as Serena allows her frustration in her play, she had lost the first set, to build up and then get triggered by the umpire's calling a coaching violation against her. The emotions escalate from there and it gets ugly as BLAME rears it's ugly head.
This scene caused us to reflect on the relational reality of how shame is triggered and a common undesirable effect pops up, BLAME, which further distances us from our spouse. If left unresolved, blaming will create a relational chasm between us and intimacy will disappear.
What has been your experience with BLAME in relationships? How have you resolved the "BLAME" game?
Let's talk about it next time.
Last time we talked about the distortions created by sin that goes unresolved. We aren't able to see clearly because our sin triggers our shame and it becomes our core identity. We don't see others (our husbands or wives) as they truly are and we don't see ourselves clearly. Our friend John Lynch says it like this in this brief video titled; "Why do I Hide?"
Grace lets God handle sin. Grace melts masks. Grace changes how we treat each other and our sin issues. #trueface
Living in the truth, how God sees us even on our worst day, gives us incredible new lens by which to view ourselves and the ones we love so dearly. It is the affordable (free) laser heart surgery we all need. Let's talk more next week about how we can live in God's grace daily.
The last two Augusts, we have experienced some really smoky days, which seriously affect air quality and what we are able to do outside. In talking with folks, no one can ever remember such smoky conditions as in the last two years. I experienced some nasty smog growing up in So. Calif. but nothing quite like the sun blocking haze created by this smoke.
As you can see by the photo on the right; the smoke literally changes the color of the sun by filtering the actual colors that are normally revealed. This is not a photo of a sunset. Wow!
I can't help but thinking, as I experience the limitations this smoke has put on our daily life and plans for hiking, that when I (we) live in sin, willfully diving into self-centeredness, selfishness and me focused living, my (our) perceptions of life and relationships around me (us) gets cloudy. There are similarities to the distortions the smoke is making for us here in NW Washington, I do believe. What do you think? What are some of the distortions you experience when you are laser focused on self? How do you experience others, especially your spouse, when they are self-absorbed and living momentarily in an "all about me" existence?
The distortions are very real aren't they? In this photo, looking across the Puget Sound, you should be able to clearly see the mountains. Whoa!
When we live in the truth, we should be able to clearly see the reality of our relationships and how others are experiencing us. Lots to contemplate and talk about here for sure, so we will continue the conversation next time. We would love to hear from you in the comments.
Choosing to align with truth clarifies and strengthens my identity. #trueface
I just read this excerpt, via my email inbox, from one of John Eldredge's books titled; Walking with God. I read the book at least 5 years ago, and right now I'm reading this excerpt with the lens of marriage and family in regards to "others". What really caught my attention was this statement.."We tend to jump in, as opposed to walking with God. Either we give too much or too little, or we offer what is needed, but at the wrong time." Read below in context below.
"People make up a very large part of our lives. We’re surrounded by people. We deal with others every day, from the driver in front of us, to the waitress in the café, to the gal in the next office, to those who share our homes. And they are nearly always, one way or another, in some sort of need. Or crisis. Or self-inflicted drama. And one of the great dangers for the person who has begun to desire to please Christ is that we simply let our conscience be our guide in relating to others. We tend to jump in, as opposed to walking with God. Either we give too much or too little, or we offer what is needed, but at the wrong time.
It would be a revealing study to look at the way Jesus relates to people in the Gospel stories. Sometimes he stops midstride to offer a word or a kindness to what seems to me to be a pretty minor character, someone I think I would have ignored. Other times he ducks for cover, dodges an encounter completely (see Luke 5:12–16). He possesses a freedom toward others I find myself longing for.
What would happen if we began to ask Jesus what he is saying when it comes to the people in your life?" In answering this question for me, I hear Jesus saying 'slow down Vic, listen to me, trust me and enter into the relationship to build trust.'
Wow! This goes along with what we mentioned last week, "We cannot let another love us unless we trust them, no matter how much love they have for us." I encourage you to ponder the question this week in the context of your marriage and family; What would happen if we began to ask Jesus what he is saying when it comes to the people in your life?"
Last time we talked about "playing fair" and established that trying to "play fair" in marriage leads to relationship disaster. The 50/50 plan just does not work and demands performance. My friends at Trueface speak to performance based relationships in this quote...
Performance obsessed cultures can never promote healing. Rather, they create more wounding.
We must have a starting point in trusting one another. I suggest that starting point is the goodwill of your spouse. Monique and I learned this from Emerson and Sarah Eggerich, who so beautifully teach this in their Love and Respect material. Here is what they say;
"One key to making your relationship safe and secure is to demonstrate benevolent goodwill toward your mate – to believe he or she has good intentions, to expect the best of the other person. Even when your mate messes up, you can choose to believe in the goodwill of your spouse. Unfortunately, what often happens when you feel unloved or disrespected is that you start predicting and judging the other person's motives. Research shows that successful couples don't make condemning judgments about the other; they choose to trust their mate's intentions.
Once a couple decides to see each other as good-willed people, it changes their perspective and the filter through which they view their relationship. "Good-willed" doesn't mean we'll do good all the time; it just means that the intentions are good.
Matthew 26:41 says it well: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak". Since a man and a woman naturally view conflict differently, they too often judge each other. During those times when your spouse is frustrating you, you can still believe in your mate's goodwill, respond accordingly and treat each other as teammates, partners, even allies.
More to talk about in trusting next week. See you then.
Vic and Monique
We are all about helping your marriage thrive.