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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Time and Consideration - Key Ingredients to Intimacy

Do you know what the key ingredient is to an intimate marriage? That key ingredient is time. Unfortunately, that is the one thing we are least willing to invest. A recent survey revealed that the average husband and wife spend an average of thirty seven minutes per week in actual communication, meaning real conversation. That wouldn’t sound like much for a single day, let alone a week. For a man, a grunt from behind a newspaper takes less than a second. That doesn’t add up very fast, nor does it do much to increase intimacy. Nor does time spent in front of the TV mesmerized by the flashing lights count as quality time.

Is it any wonder so many marriages fall apart when the kids leave home? The couple find themselves married to a total stranger. They wake up alone one morning in a quiet and an empty house as a couple of old people, and they look across the bed at the other, and they want to ask, “Who are you? I don’t know you.” It is amazing that two people can live together for years, decades even, without ever really knowing each other. Yet it is probably the most common scenario – two people sharing a name and a home, but little else. What a shame.

Warren Wiersbe says,

“In my marital counselling, I often gave the couple a pad of paper and asked them to write down the three things each one thinks the other enjoys doing the most. Usually the wife made her list immediately. The man would sit and ponder. And usually the wife was right, and the husband was wrong.”

Those husbands totally missed the idea of 1st Peter 3:7, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding.”

Quoting Chuck Swindall:

“Many a wife is lonely for her husband to sense and minister to her inner spirit. To give her his attention and personal presence. She waits to be noticed, to be appreciated, to be given time to share, and in return hear her husband respond with the newspaper laid aside, with the television off, with the whole evening available. Men, maybe it will help to motivate you if you face the fact that a continually absent husband is a major cause for illicit affairs among wives. And often with men who will simply give them time and attention. Wake up, husbands!”

Let me repeat his last words, WAKE UP, HUSBANDS! Your wives need you. Give them the time.

James Henry Jowett, in defining the phrase, “dwell according to knowledge,” writes this:

“We may grasp its content by proclaiming its opposite. ‘Dwell with your wives according to ignorance. Just walk in blindness. Don’t look beyond your own desires. Let your vision be entirely introspective and microscopic. Never exercise your eyes in clear and comprehensive outlook. Dwell in ignorance.’”
Does that describe your marriage? How sad. That attitude has killed too many marriages.

Another slant to that phrase is given by the New International Version. It translates the phrase, “Be considerate as you live with your wives.” In other words, be sensitive to her deepest physical and emotional needs. Isn’t that good advice? Consideration, courtesy – these are the oils to lubricate a relationship. But why is it so hard to do at home?

In an old “Life Magazine” article, it reported:

“The business man gives service with a smile: he is deferential to his boss, his customers and usually even to his underlings. Women are polite to their neighbors and to door-to-door salesmen. Hardly a voice is raised in anger except behind the closed doors of the home. As the outside world becomes more and more constrained, more and more people seem to feel the home is the last remaining place where they can quit kidding and be their own ornery selves. The bride and the groom who have been standing so patiently in the reception line, smiling sweetly at people they hardly know (and some people they know and don’t like), can seem ornery indeed to each other when they get home and let their hair down.”

This is backwards. Of course we need to be kind and considerate out in the workforce and marketplaces of life. Consideration is necessary in every social encounter. But isn’t the home the most important place to exercise consideration? We must learn to be considerate at home if we want to develop intimacy within our homes.

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