With Valentine’s Day season upon us, you might wonder how spell L.O.V.E.  In our  book, The First Five Years, we explain how to create a memorable romantic encounter for your spouse no matter how many years you are married. (And we will adapt this for those who are single and dating).  Keep this acrostic for LOVE in mind as you make plans to wow the one you love:

 

Listen

Observe

Vary

Extract

 

Listen

Your spouse will drop hints about the things he or she loves and you can use these hints to create more romance and sizzle in your relationship. For example, if you listen to Bill and me in a casual lunch conversation, you would  discern  that Bill loves things like: Football, fishing, cooking, joke telling, and the Bible.  If you listen to Pam you’d discover she loves travel, biking, swimming, tennis, laughing, and helping women—and the spa!

It doesn’t take much imagination then to know that if I (Pam) give Bill a day of ocean fishing or if he gave me a day at the spa, we would be more interested in each other at the end of that day. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Kayaking is on both our lists, so we have a goal to have a kayak date in every state we travel to for business. Walking and biking are also on both of our lists, so an evening stroll, or a leisurely cycle around a lake near us is apt to also put us in the mood. Bill and I keep a running list of “loves” we discover about one another while listening.

Observe

On the TV show Sherlock (and in the classic books with this character),  Sherlock Holmes wows the audience by his keen detective skills of observation. You can become a detective and easily observe what will bless and ignite your spouse:

  • What raises stress in your partner?—then make a plan to lower it
  • What lifts the spirit?—then make a plan to repeat it
  • What calms the atmosphere?—then recreate it
  • What things are collectible?—then add to it
  • When he or she sighs and relaxes?—then repeat it
  • What draws him/her to you?—then protect it

 Vary

            For married couples, when it comes to intimacy, don’t get in a rut.  Vary the romance. In our book, Red Hot Monogamy, inspired by Song of Songs, we give over 200 Red Hot Romance ideas. The King and the Bride in song of Songs model for couples simple romantic inspirations. And they make time together a priority, “My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away,” {Song pf Songs 2:10)

One of the easiest ways to vary the experience is to keep the five senses in mind. Vary the places you date, mix the style from dressy to down to earth. Or try adding new sounds/music, scents, textures, or tastes.  If you go to dinner each Thursday, next week eat it on the rooftop, or on a blanket at the park. If you usually work out as a couple, then make the next date a payoff- get some new athletic wear and try out a new activity.

Extract

To extract love, take an old idea and give it a new spin. Personalize it, shake it up, add to it. For example, because we are relationship communicators, we are usually pretty busy around Valentine’s Day. Often we have to be at the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) conference. No offense to those in Christian radio, but the NRB isn’t the most romantic place to be around on Valentine’s Day. We have decided, however, to make it romantic the years we need to be there. One year, Bill scanned the covers of all the books we have written and made a series of greeting cards with personal love messages that used the titles as a part of a pun, like “It has been “Pure Pleasure” being marriage to you”.  Every hour all day, he gave me a card with a new message and tiny gift.

 

L.O.V.E: Listen, observe, vary and extract to create a love to look forward to living. It is possible to keep love as red hot as those candy hearts you munch on each Valentine’s Day—it just takes a little creativity and some L.O.V.E.

 

Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship specialists, international speakers and best selling authors of Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti, Red Hot Monogamy and The First Five Years: Make the Love Investment (www.Love-Wise.com) When they are not traveling to speak on marriage or family, you will find them at home on their live aboard boat in Southern California.

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Jesus was a good son.  Bill and I recognize a good son, we enjoy having three good sons.

A good son carries out the will of his father.

A good son represents his family well and moves the family legacy forward. Good daughters would do the same.  We meet people each week and many of them are those

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who value the heritage that have been handed to them and they build upon that strong foundation.

While writing our newest devotional book, A Couple’s Journey with God, we had the opportunity to stay on a beautiful farm. Within minutes of meeting John and Barb Schaller, we knew they had an unusual love. Barb found it easy to gush about how blessed and fortunate she found it to be married to John. John found it easy to compliment a wife he was obviously endeared too by the gleam in his eyes. They are our peers in marriage, married about the same amount of time as Bill and I, over three decades! When I asked Barb the secret of their long lasting love, she said, “My husband forgives easily. He is full of grace, mercy and forgiveness.” When we asked John the same question, his reply was similar, “My wife knows how to keep giving love when people are hard to love. She love unconditionally and tenaciously”.

Notice it is really just two sides of the same coin:

He loves without limits and she is limitless in her love.

They are the owners of Morning Star Dairy. They live in the home John was raised in. John is the youngest of  twelve so he had the good fortune to watch his parents have a lifelong love. Love is a rich heritage on Morning Star farm.  John describes his mother as a saint who loved lavishly, never uttered a harsh word, and had a servant’s heart. Her  heart of love was often expressed toward her husband as she darted about the kitchen waiting on him with an affectionately, “On the way Daddy Baby”.  And that legacy of love continues as one will sometimes hear Barb call John, “Daddy” and with a twinkle in his eye and sheepish grin he will tease back, “That’s Daddy BABY to you.”

How does one go about building a legacy of love that passes from generation to generation? Follow John and Barb’s pattern and the example they saw in action, simply out serve one another.

Love is an action verb and it is best expressed with a servant’s attitude. 

What is a servant’s attitude?  Phil 2: captures it best when it simply says:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant . . .  (Phil 2:3-7)

This year, make the commitment to simply have a “you first” attitude and seek to place your mate’s needs as a priority on your heart. The plus side of having a servant’s attitude is your children are watching, and perhaps…

you will be laying a foundation of a family that all seek to out love the other!

 

Bill and Pam on their boat

Pam and Bill Farrel  are international speakers, relationship specialists and the authors of over 45+ books including best selling Men Are Like, Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.  Find more information on the Farrels, their books, videos, audio and even free resources to help people be “Love-Wise” at www.love-wise.com

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While simplifying your holiday season, take time for relationships to thrive, not just survive the holidays.  Keep those relationships balanced with your holiday planning. People ARE more important than things at this time of year.  Here are some relationship principles using one of the familiar words of the holiday as an easy to apply acrostic:

 

  1. C enter your heart on the true, deeper meaning of the holiday season (Thanksgiving through New Year’s.) This will help everyone become easier to get along with because the heart of the holiday will remain intact.
  2. H ear what your friends and family are voicing as their stress, and listen carefully to them—a gift that will lower their stress.
  3. R each out as a family to help others in order to keep the proper perspective on what is really important in life.
  4. I nvest in memories, not material goods. Make time for family baking, tree decorating, or board games.
  5. S peak your love in words. The best gift you can give is for a person to hear their value and worth from your lips.
  6. T ake time for romance. The greatest gift you can give your spouse, children, and friends is a happy home.
  7. M ake time to reach out to extended family. Visit or call grandparents, aunts, and uncles. If possible, use modern technology like a Webcam to connect.
  8. A ssume nothing; ask those who are celebrating with you what their expectations are, and communicate the plan clearly so people feel informed.
  9. S tay flexible. Don’t be a Christmas Scrooge, ordering family around. Instead slow the pace, gather consensus, and give options so that you create an environment of connecting and sharing.
  10. ! Exclaim your joy with music, memories and by making the most of all your relationships!

 

Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship specialists, international speakers, and authors of more than forty-five books, including best-selling  Men Are like Waffles, Women Are like Spaghetti.

Visit www.Love-wise.com

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Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving . . . 

(Colossians 4:2 NASB)

We travel, and we really appreciate the hotels that have the small peak holes so that when someone knocks you can look out and see who’s there. That is what prayer is like. People usually aren’t phony when praying because it is a time of vulnerability before God.

Couples that pray together get a window into each other’s hearts.

Prayer is a window to the heart

You might feel irritated at your spouse all day, you might not understand why she did or said something, but during prayer, you get to see what was really going on in their life, their thoughts and in their heart. Prayer gives us a deeper understanding of our mate. Anything that gives a deeper understanding will deepen intimacy. Deeper intimacy creates the safety net for a nakedness of the soul, and if you are in a place where you both feel comfortable when your soul is naked before each other, then the physical nakedness with in marriage is the next logical step in the sharing of your live.

Reading the Bible is intimate:

The Bible is God’s love letter to each of us. If you know your spouse is listening to God, your trust level will grow.  If you notice that your spouse is seeking to follow the commands of God, you will feel more relaxed when you are together. God has a complete love for you and when God has your mate’s attention, God will steer your spouse into making more loving choices toward you.

As a result, the nagging rate naturally diminishes. And less nagging and negative corrective language and more positive affirming language is the cultivated, fertile ground for marital intimacy.

The influence does not stop with your spouse, however. If you are reading the Bible and praying, God will have your attention and make you a better lover. His love will flow through you to a grateful spouse.

The Holy Spirit is intimate.

Pray together
Stay together

When we know Christ personally, the Holy Spirit resides in us and gives us the supernatural power to love. It is a supernatural power so that we can love, not just with our power, but with God’s ability. And since the Holy Spirit indwells anyone who asks Jesus into his life and He knows the way your spouse was designed to be loved, you have the ability to become a great lover for your mate. You will notice that the Holy Spirit gives very specific instructions. He makes it simple enough that your only choice is to obey or disobey. In our life, it may sound something like this:

“Pam, what you said just now to Bill was unkind. He is really good man and he deserves a gentle response.”

“Bill, go home. Pam does really need you right now. Do not do that next task, leave right now.”

By reading the Word and praying, you will develop the ability to listen for God’s Holy Spirit whisper, and those whispers will help you become a better person and a better partner. These spiritual disciplines will also draw you two closer if you make daily use of them as individuals.

 

Lord, help us make time for prayer, Bible reading and listening to Your Spirit as we do these things so we might hear Your voice louder than any other, Amen 

Pam and Bill Farrel have been happily married 38 years and credit praying

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with God
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Publishers

together through out each day as the key that unlock’s love. Read more about what makes for lasting love in one of their 45 books, like A Couple’s Journey with God. www.Love-Wise.com

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A Valentine’s Gift That Lasts

By Susan G Mathis

On this Valentine’s Day week, I’d like to remind you of the importance of keeping your marriage strong. It’s the best gift you can give your spouse.

“Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails,” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Remember what a great adventure your marriage has been and can be, and be careful not to get apathetic about your relationship. As with any journey, there are slow, boring, mundane seasons, but the times of making memories, capturing intimate experiences, and finding quality moments supersedes all the rest.

Choose not to get discouraged or weary in well doing, in working at your marriage, in resolving conflict, or in struggling to make ends meet. Build memories that transcend everyday life. It’s a daily choice…to love unconditionally, to sacrifice substantially, and to enjoy each other eternally.

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to take our spouse for granted. Help us to lean into the adventure of marriage and keep our marriages strong and vibrant. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of of two Tyndale published premarital books Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness as well as The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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