Unstoppable Love

The unstoppable love you need for your marriage is closer than you think.

Unstoppable Love

Love.

It’s a much overused word. It’s the source of countless memes and a myriad of cutesy quotes all over the Internet. “Love” is everywhere.

Despite it’s prevalence, I chose “Love” for the third part of my website’s tag line.

Unquenchable PassionUnimaginable Intimacy – Unstoppable Love

(you can click the links above to get to the two previous posts)

Unstoppable Love

What does it mean to have marriage full of unstoppable love?

Ultimately, it’s a marriage full of the love of God.

That may sound simple, and it is. It may sound trite, but it isn’t at all. God’s unstoppable love is real, and it’s vast. Where your marriage is concerned, I’d even say it’s essential.

My sweet wife, a Children’s Pastor, pointed out to me that the Jesus Storybook Bible describes the love of God this way.

“God loves us with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”

Don’t you want a marriage full of that kind of love? That’s exactly how God planned marriage to be when he designed it. Then he sent Jesus to show us what unstoppable love looks like in human form.

Love Like That

Just before the Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians about marriage, he says this.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.   

Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG)

To me it’s no coincidence that these verses introduce us to God’s thoughts on marriage. Before you can do the rest of Ephesians 5, you have to get these first few verses down pat.

Doing marriage God’s way starts with loving each other like Jesus loves us.

The Good News

You may be thinking, “I could never love like that.”

I agree. On your own, you could never do it. But you aren’t on your own. As a believer, you have Christ living in you. That’s right, the very love you need to love your spouse in an unstoppable manner is right inside of you.

We just need to learn to let it out. We do that by first receiving and then getting to know this unstoppable love that we carry around in us. That’s not a one time, pray the sinners prayer kind of venture. It’s a lifelong pursuit. As Paul prayed a few chapter earlier:

[I pray that the Father] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, this is not a love that is far away and unreachable.

“I have revealed to them who you are, and I will continue to make you even more real to them, so that they may experience the same endless love that you have for me, for your love will now live in them, even as I live in them!”

John 17:26 (The Passion Translation)

This is fantastic news for marriage. We get to live out the great mystery of getting to know this unknowable love that is deep inside, ever pursuing us, drawing us closer, revealing itself as we get know him more intimately.

This is the love you and I need in our marriage. This is the Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love I get to lavish on my wife. This is the love that you get to lavish on your spouse too.

 

Unimaginable Intimacy

God has designed marriage to be filled with “unimaginable intimacy.”

 


Unimaginable intimacy. What is the first thing to come into our mind when you think of that phrase? What kind of intimacy do you dream of for your marriage? Do you know that God dreams of an even deeper intimacy for you and your spouse than you can even imagine?

That thought amazes me!

Last week we covered what it means for your marriage to have “unquenchable passion,” the first part of my website subheading:

Unquenchable Passion – Unimaginable Intimacy – Unstoppable Love

Today we’re exploring “unimaginable intimacy.” (Yes, you can guess that next week we’ll be looking at “unstoppable love.”)

What is Intimacy?

Intimacy comes from being fully, deeply known and yet truly, unconditionally loved.

That definition is true for every dimension of your marriage: spiritual, emotional, physical, financial – every part of your being and every part of your relationship. And you need both ingredients. Without the being known component, which requires openness and vulnerability, intimacy is fake. And unless you experience unconditional love in the face of being known, intimacy is unsustainable.

I did a survey a while back where I asked the open ended question, “What is intimacy?” The most popular answer, given by almost half the respondents, pointed to the physical aspect of intimacy (sex). About 40% described emotional connection, and about one in three mentioned the spiritual dimension. Many (28%) included all three. Another popular answer was oneness or closeness, mentioned by 46% of the survey takers. (Each respondent typically gave 2-3 answers, so the percentages don’t total 100%).

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a huge difference between the way men and women described intimacy, with on very notable exception. Women, by an almost three-to-one margin over their male counterparts, included terms like vulnerability and openness in describing intimacy. Interestingly, those who described intimacy in these terms, were the least likely to be satisfied with the level of intimacy in their marriages (55% dissatisfied to some degree).

My conclusion from the survey is that vulnerability and transparency, essential for being fully known, are an absolute necessity for those seeking a deeper level of intimacy. My other conclusion, obvious from the data, is the men need to do better at understanding this. 

How Much Intimacy Do You Want?

It seems everyone wants more intimacy. It’s not at all surprising to me that when I asked couples to name the top three things they want to see more of in their marriage, the top three most common answers were all intimacy related. For men, it was #1) Sexual intimacy, #2) Spiritual intimacy and #3) Emotional intimacy. Women had the same three top desires, in a different order #1) Spiritual intimacy, #2) Sexual intimacy, and #3) Emotional intimacy.

I like to say that there is no ceiling on intimacy. A couple can have as much of it as they want. All they need to do (as if these were easy to do) is to let themselves be completely known and to offer each other unconditional love, affection and grace in the face of their spouse’s transparency.

What Do You Imagine?

The word “unimaginable” means difficult or impossible to comprehend. I chose the word purposefully.

Whether you imagine a more passionate sex life, a deeper spiritual connection, a greater emotional bond, or all of the above, I believe you can attain more than you ever imagined. Even if you are happy with the intimacy you currently enjoy, know that there is always more. This is a lifelong process – there is always more knowing and more loving to be done. In addition, there are always other dimensions of your relationship in which intimacy can be deepened and strengthened.

I know this is true in marriage, because it works exactly the same as our relationship with Jesus. There is always more intimacy with Him. 

The path to unimaginable intimacy starts with letting yourself be known completely.  I’m challenging you to ask your spouse this question, “Is there any area where you feel like you don’t really know me fully?” Then go about figuring out how you can be more transparent and vulnerable in order to let the real you be seen.

Unquenchable Passion

Five practical pointers for pumping up passion in your marriage

The day has finally arrived: my first official post on my new Heaven Made Marriage website! You may or may not have noticed that the new site has a new tag line:

Unquenchable Passion – Unimaginable Intimacy – Unstoppable Love

Today I want to dig into the first part of that tag line: passion.

What is Passion?

Passion in marriage means a relationship filled with intense positive emotions: joy, gratitude, desire, satisfaction, serenity, awe, fire.

I’ll bet you know a couple who you would characterize as having a passionate marriage. When you are around them you can sense the positive vibes that emanate from their relationship. You can hear it in the way they speak about and to each other. You can see it in their demeanor toward each other and in the unobtrusive tender touches they exchange with each other. You can’t help but notice how they support each other in a sincere but natural way.

You know what I’m talking about. Don’t you want a marriage with that kind of passion? Well it won’t just happen!

Fostering Passion

The first thing to realize about passion in marriage is that it doesn’t work like flipping on a switch. Passion has to be cultivated and nurtured over the long term. Passion has to be woven into the fabric of your relationship on a daily basis.

The next thing to remember is that passion starts with you. Don’t wait around for your spouse to show you signs of passion before you start to work on cultivating it in yourself. Focus on what you can do. I would suggest that you not even worry about whether or how your spouse responds to the actions you take to build passion. Just do it.

Your effort to foster passion will be contagious and eventually will positively impact your spouse and your relationship, but make sure you aren’t doing it simply to get a certain response. That’s not love, that’s manipulation.

Fundamentally, growing passion in your marriage has to start with changing your thinking. Specifically, it means moving from an attitude where meeting your spouse’s needs is a duty or obligation, to the seeing it as a pleasure and a privilege. Learn to take genuine delight in lavishing love on your husband or wife in the ways that say “I love you” the loudest to him or her.

Ask God to help you change your thinking. He is all about passion in marriage. He understands passion. He sent Jesus in passionate pursuit of an intimate relationship with an eternal bride. He wants your marriage to mirror the kind of intense positive emotions he has for you. A prayer for more passion is one he is eager to answer.

Passion Pointers

Here are few areas to focus on as you journey toward a more passionate marriage.

  • Prioritize – If your life is anything like mine, it is more than full. Regardless, if you want more passion, you will need to assess whether you are giving your spouse and marriage more than your leftovers after you’ve given all you’ve got to other areas of your life. Make some changes. Say no to some things. Give up some good things in order to have the best things.
  • Pursue – Do you remember all you did to pursue your spouse when you were dating? That kind of pursuit shouldn’t end once you have “captured” each other. The thing is, you have to know what pursuit looks like to your spouse, regardless of how you define it. Chances are they aren’t the same.
  • Play – Learn to have fun just for the sake of having fun. Do something unexpected and maybe even a little crazy. Break the routine – routine is a passion killer! See a funny movie. Have a game night. Have sex in a new location. Get creative.
  • Praise – How often do your verbalize your appreciation of your spouse? It’s easy to take each other for granted, especially when we’ve been together for a long time. Make a habit out of paying a sincere compliment to your spouse every day. If you’re a husband, tell your wife how beautiful she is and be specific but not vulgar. Let her know you would still choose her. She is almost certain not to believe you, but do it anyway. If you’re a wife, tell your husband how much you appreciate him and all he does to care for you and your family. Let him know you desire him. Thank each other, even for doing routine tasks. Foster appreciation not just with your words, but in your heart.
  • Pleasure – Sex and passion go hand in hand, so make sex a priority. My own studies show that sexual satisfaction tumbles dramatically when lovemaking drops to less than once per week. Sex alone won’t make a passionate marriage, but a passionate marriage makes for great sex! Finding delight and pleasure in each other’s arms will definitely help keep passions stirred.

The tag line says “unquenchable passion.” Cambridge dictionary defines unquenchable as  “a feeling so strong that it cannot be satisfied.” Don’t settle for the level of passion you have today. There’s always more! Don’t let anything quench the fires of passion. Fan the flames daily!

What do you do to keep the passion alive and growing in your marriage? Offer  your own passion pointers in a comment.