Life is lived in a story…. (tim)
“Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.” Every one of these ingredients are easy to recognize….except the “special sauce”. No one knows the secret ingredients in the special sauce on a McDonalds Big-Mac.
How about marriage? Is there a “secret sauce” in marriage?
Recently I’ve asked a number of married women and men; what is the “secret ingredient” in a successful marriage? Their responses included: understanding forgiveness, communication, humility, prayer, unity, vulnerability, selflessness, a great sex life, pursuing each other, not taking yourself too seriously, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, and keeping life priorities in order.
These are all good answers…. but, after thirty-eight years of marriage and working with couples for decades, I believe the “secret sauce” in marriage is passion. Passion can be defined as: “intense emotion and intense enthusiasm”.
My experience is husbands and wives who make passion a top marriage priority have more joyful, life giving, and kingdom advancing marriages.
How about you, what stirs up passion in your life?
I often hear men passionately describing their favorite sports team, lowering their golf score, landing the big fish, bagging a record buck, or accomplishing their next personal goal. I often hear women passionately describing their latest adventure, new risks they are taking, battles they are engaging in, or new insights and revelations they are experiencing.
How can a person advance in living life passionately?
My experience is the first step to advance in living passionately involves recognizing, and then tearing down negative family of origin propensities—that little voice that says it’s very important to fit into a certain role, stay inside a certain box, and always color inside the lines. Often a season of prayerful introspection accompanied with mentoring (and counseling) can help a person resist passion stealing ungodly beliefs and negative family of origin propensities. This opens the door to replacing ungodly beliefs, behaviors, and a false identity with who God says you are (your true identity) and Godly life giving beliefs and behaviors.
The good news is passion is contagious … you may be wondering how can I increase passion in my marriage?For me, keeping passion amped up involves staying in my lane and taking responsibility for my part in our marriage. In counseling I often hear; “IF my spouse would only (fill in the blank) THEN our marriage would be more passionate.
Makes me wonder; what if couples replaced “IF/THEN” with SINCE? For example; SINCE I am a child of God made in His image, I will choose to resist living in the smaller story where “it’s all about me”. And instead I will choose to live in the Larger Story where “it’s not about me“. Practically this involves choosing to passionately pursue God first, and my bride second.
How do I do this? A wise first step is to invite God to give me the desire and ability to increase passion in my heart. I simply I.O.T.L. (inquire of the Lord). Then I invite my good Father to lead and guide me in reflecting and revealing that passion to my bride. He has wisdom and passion increasing ideas I could never think of on my own.
What might that look like for you? Practically, it could include revisiting and recreating passionate times you’ve had with your spouse. It also helps to invest in better understanding yourself (and your spouse’s) family of origin, temperament, love language, and specific things that bring them life. For anne+i celebrating life with family and friends, a hike in the mountains, making our sexual intimacy a high priority, enjoying a good meal, a motorcycle ride, watching a great movie, and engaging in things we love to do together helps us to rekindle passion.
But, be forewarned, increasing passion does not happen by chance; it takes an investment of time, energy, enthusiasm, and resources.
Another great place for me to rekindle passion is to hang around kids (and grandkids). Experiencing our six year old granddaughter’s passion as she describes the crayon picture she drew of her family; or celebrating with our three year old grandson as he passionately describes how he “pooped on the potty like a big boy!” Most kids default to living life passionately….they play hard, sleep hard, and love BIG!
How about you, what’s the “secret-sauce” in your marriage? For me, it’s passion. Remember, it’s not just how passionate you think you are, but how you are living and engaging passionately with your spouse; as well as how they respond to your passion.