Keeping Love Alive and Finding it Again When You Lose it

– Okay Marriage Prep 101
Getting Ready For The Big Day. This is lesson 10 in the series, Keeping Love Alive, Finding it When You Lose it. One of the main reasons
that men avoid commitment of marriage is their fear of boredom. It’s not the fear of commitment, it’s the fear of boredom. Yes, it’s great now. But in a few years, I’ll get bored of this or I’ll get bored with you. So, why bother? I mean, that’s pretty, you know, basic man talk. It’s no wonder that more and more couples simply live together without marriage, since they see one out of two marriages around them end in divorce. That’s pretty discouraging, you know. You get married and
you’re watching, you know, your friends’ wedding that
you went to three years ago. He’s now getting divorced. A lot of people think
that by not marrying, they’re somehow keeping the spark alive in their relationship. Or at the very least,
they’re making it easier if they eventually break up. No messy expensive divorce. I’ve heard that argument
over and over again. “Oh, why would we get married? “You know, we want to
keep the spark going!” The truth is that all relationships, married or not, go through phases. You know, fresh excitement, discovery, disappointment, sadness, renewal. This is the norm for everybody. Boredom is normal. Boredom is just normal. I mean, it doesn’t have to be all boredom. But periods of boredom, you know, we’re human. We’re sinners. Now, the difference for married couples is that from the beginning, they have promised with God or the law of the state as witness, that when these times would come, they would persevere
in their relationship. This is the main difference between married couples and couples
who simply live together. Not love for one another. When I confront a couple
that’s just living together and not married, and they’re insulted that I would think less
of their relationship, I’m not. Hey, I’m not saying you don’t love her and you don’t love him. I’m not saying that. All I’m saying is, the level
of commitment that you’re at is not the highest level of commitment. The highest level of
commitment you can make to one another is to be married. So in my lesson today,
I want to talk about those times that occur in every marriage. When our love for the
other begins to falter or get a little cool. After a while, many
couples experience boredom. And they think they’re kind
of out of love, if you wish. So as the title suggests,
we can keep love alive. It is possible to find it again after we think that it’s gone. Now most of the time,
when people talk about the experience of love, what they’re talking about is a feeling. You know, that warm, happy,
content, excited feeling we experience when in
contact with our partner. With time, some people lose that feeling and they don’t know how
to get that thing back. And people have strange ways of trying to rekindle the flame of their romance. They’ll threaten their partner. “If you don’t make me feel
love, I’ll leave you.” I don’t know where the
motivation is there, but I’ve seen that happen. Or, they’ll make their partner jealous. “Yeah, that’ll get the spark back! “I’ll make my partner jealous.” Or, they’ll try different
approaches to sex. Or, they’ll pout to see if the other will give
them what they want. You know, there’s all kinds of approaches. What many people don’t understand, is that feeling of love
is not created by demands. It’s not even created by sex. Or, manipulation. The feeling of love that a person has is largely created and maintained through the use, listen now, through the use of loving communication. You want to get the spark back? You want to start the spark? You want to fan the flame? Loving communication is the way to go. The thing that produced love
within us in the first place, was the communication
of love by our partner. When our love weakens or diminishes, then the first place
to look for a solution, is in the area of communication. We look everywhere else
except in the area. You know, we think, “Oh,
I got to hit the gym.” Or, “A new wardrobe,” or whatever. And yeah, those things might be helpful. But, loving communication is the key to maintaining the romance. Maintaining true love in a relationship. You see, this thing, this feeling of love is moved from one person to another through the process of communication. Not always. But in many cases, the love problem is really a communication problem. In my counseling as a
minister, I have seen people who have the capacity to love. They want to love, they need to love. But, they don’t communicate well. And for this reason, they
have problems with love. I sincerely believe
that in most marriages, the best way to increase love
or to find it when it’s gone, is to find better ways to communicate with one another about the topic of love. And, that brings me to
the language of love. What holds a marriage together is love. The tool that transfers love and builds it and maintains it, is communication. Couple of quotes. “Communication is to love
what blood is to life.” A Proverb? “Better an open rebuke than
love that is concealed.” You know, better we’re
fighting with each other and grappling with each other than, you know, no contact. Nothing, nothing said. At least you care. If you’re struggling back
and forth with each other, at least, you know, you care enough. The writer of Proverbs, Solomon, is saying that arguing in disagreement is better than no communication at all. In other words, uncommunicated
love is like no love. Now when I say communication
is the language of love, I’m not talking simply
about verbal communication. In our culture, you know, of audio and
visual communication, we put a lot of emphasis
on oral communication. Visual communication. We think that if it’s not said
verbally so we can hear it, then for some reason or other, it hasn’t been properly communicated. In his book, “The Language of Love,” Gary Smalley says the following, “We need to understand
that the language of love “can be communicated in many ways, “not just with words.” So, the language of love. What are the different languages? Well, words, of course. Expressions of appreciation, loyalty, affection, love, admiration, attraction. You know, we use words of love. So of course, the language of love, words. Absolutely. But, not just words. Gifts, tokens of love and appreciation. Things you buy, things you make. I always appreciate my wife. She makes cards. I’ve kept cards, you know,
guys don’t usually keep cards. But, I’ve kept some of the
cards that Lise’s made. You know, ’cause I appreciate the time that she’s put into it. And sometimes, the messages
are from the heart. Service or actions. Actions to please and
comfort the other person. The home, the family, the care of the other person’s possessions. Service, that’s a language of love. Time, giving attention. Giving quantity as well as quality time. Listening. Really listening. Watching, observing. Kids are like that, right? “Watch me, daddy. “Watch me, mommy,” right? Well, what are they saying actually? They’re saying, “Love me, mommy. “Love me, daddy.” That’s that they’re saying. Sometimes, it’s your wife
that’s saying that to you. “Watch me, pay attention to me.” Or, vice versa. And then of course, physical affection. Touching, holding, sexual intimacy. This is a language of love, too. Now, psychologists tell us
that one of these languages is our primary language for love. One of these is the hot button, that satisfies our need
to know that we are loved. Usually when loves dies, it’s because we no longer are sure
that we love or are loved. In other words, the other
person is not talking to us in our love language. Now, we can express or
receive all of these things. But usually, one of these is the one that convinces us that we are loved. And if it isn’t pressed, we will not feel love. No matter what else the
other person does or says. In other words, “If you talk
to me in my language of love, “then I will feel loved. “But if you’re not talking
to me in my language of love, “even though you may be
using the other languages, “I’m not going to feel loved.” Some examples of the
language of love in action. For example, let’s say
the wife’s hot button for knowing that she is loved, is words. Let’s say that’s her hot button. Poems, love notes. Saying sweet things,
compliments on her looks. Confessions of desire, the
repeated words of love. Man, that is her hot button. Okay? Now, her husband, he
grew up in a house where, you know, his dad was
the strong, silent type. No fancy words. No wasted words. And so, the husband has grown up, like his dad in this way. But, he has learned to say, “I love you,” through generous service. That’s his language of love. He fixes her car. He takes care of the house. He does a lot of repair work for her elderly parents. You know what I’m saying? The guy is a true servant. That’s his love language. Now, what tends to happen here is that she won’t feel loved because he’s not expressing it in the way she needs it expressed. She needs words, not a
new muffler on her car. You see what I’m saying? All right? She’ll question his love. And, he’ll point out all the things that he does for her. But, she’s not going to be satisfied because he’s not speaking
in her language of love. That’s how affairs
begin, believe it or not. Affairs begin when someone else discovers your hot button
and starts pressing it. At the office, you know? That girl, this girl I’m
describing, this wife. She’s at the office. And, you know, the guy
in the next cubicle. “Oh, you had your hair cut. “It looks very nice.” All proper and polite. He just hit her button. “I’m sure your husband’s
a very lucky guy.” Hit the button again. “Do you mind if I sit with you at break?” “Sure, I like, you know. “Yeah.” “Oh, is that a new dress?” “Yeah.” That’s how affairs begin. Now, an interesting feature about this language of love business, people tend to receive their love messages in the same way that they
give their love messages. So, let’s go back to our couple and see how this works. Remember, she receives love through words. So, this is usually the way she gives it. And, he gives through action or service. So, this is usually how he receives or recognizes love, as well. So in a situation like this, she tells him she loves him. And, she gives him mushy birthday cards. And, she wants to talk
about their relationship. But, she’s not interested in hanging out in the garage with him while
he’s working on his car. He needs to hear, “I love
you,” by her involvement with him in his interests, in his things. And in the end, he feels
smothered by her words. And, she feels rejected by his silence. Now, the sad thing about
my little scenario here, is that both people are trying to love. But, each is missing the point. And the sad thing is,
they don’t realize it. And, they end up in
the counselor’s office. You know, sometimes you
see a perfect couple. They have a nice house,
they have lovely children. You know, there’s enough
money to, you know, pay for whatever is needed. They’re healthy, you know. It’s like, “What’s your
problem, you people? “You’ve got everything! “Everything that anybody could want.” Well, except one thing. The love that brought them together isn’t there anymore. And believe me, all those other things aren’t really worth it if
you don’t have the love. Now, I’ve told you that some people want love, need love, desire to give love. But, they fail in love
because they can’t seem to communicate it well. The answer is for them,
not to start loving. They’re already trying to do that. Nor is the answer to love differently. I don’t think people can change their basic personality in
order to accomplish this. For example, you know,
touchy feely people, they can’t just change the way they are. It’s not a superficial thing. It’s who they are. That strong silent guy there, that loves through service. He’s not going to become a poet. The answer, I believe, is to find ways to communicate about loving each other so we’ll understand and hopefully, better receive and give love that we have to give
and need for ourselves. And, the way to do this is
to make communication that you do have more
effective and more productive in the sense that you
are consciously improving the communication bridge between you. In other words, you want
the love to be better. Then, the communication about
the love needs to get better. Okay? So, there are ways to
improve the communication between you and your spouse. Here are a couple of basic elements that will make you
connect more effectively and efficiently at every level. First, be totally honest. Ouch, that hurts. Be totally honest. Ephesians 4:15, “Speaking
the truth in love.” For communication to be
productive, you need to be honest. Even if it’s risky sometimes. Many times, we say what the other person wants to hear so we can get
what we want. (chuckles) We have this little bargain going. “I’ll tell you what you want to hear. “You’re going to give me what I want.” Well, yeah. You get what you want, they
hear what they want to hear. But you know what doesn’t happen? The love doesn’t happen. That’s not how love operates. So, the best example of
this is when we compare the hierarchy of needs that men and women say that they need from each other. This survey shows what men and women acknowledge privately
as their top five needs, but rarely acknowledge to each other for fear of ridicule or rejection. Understand what I’m saying? These are the five top needs that men and women privately say that they need to have. I need to have oxygen, you know? I mean, I’d like to have a new car. But what I really need is, I need oxygen. You know, okay? I’d like to have a couple of new suits. But, what I really need is
water to drink, you know? So, these are the five I need. Not, “I wish I had.” These are the five
needs that men and women say they have. We’ll start with, and this is under the heading of being honest. So, we’ll start with the women. Women say, number one, affection. Not necessarily sex. But romance, cuddling, holding, you know? A tactile communication that I love you. Number two need, attention. The sharing of thoughts. Really listening. I mean, you’re really hearing me. Put down the paper, put down the remote. Put down your cell phone,
turn the thing off. Can I talk for eight minutes without being interrupted by a child or by a phone call or by a tweet? Number three, trust. Her world, especially
when there are children, is supported by him. She has to have confidence in him. She has to be able to trust him. Number four, this is what women say, not what I’m saying. Financial security. Enough to live on and
provide for the family. Enough to give the children an advantage. Some people say, “Well,
how much is enough?” Well, enough so that we can
give our children advantages. A better school if they
need a better school. Braces if they need braces. You know, advantages. And number five, what women say they need from their husbands. Involvement. Getting involved in the
home and in family matters. Truly providing leadership in the home. That’s what women said,
their five top needs. All right, we’ll do men. Anybody want to guess
what the first one is? Ladies? Yes, sexual fulfillment. It is the number one need because that is the way that God created them. The natural production
of seminal fluid in a man causes the constant
need for gratification. It’s not that he’s a pig. It’s not, “Oh, that’s all
you guys think about!” It’s the greatest single struggle each man must deal with in order to mature emotionally, socially and spiritually. I mean, it is what it is. But, it doesn’t give them an excuse to sin, okay? But what I’m saying is,
God made ’em that way. Number one need. Number two, a playmate. Is what he needs from his wife. Number two, imagine how deep we are. A playmate. (chuckles) He wants his wife to be his buddy! “Come here, come here,
come here, come here! “Watch this! “Come here, watch this!” (laughs) “Okay, okay, I just need
you to hold the thing down. “I got to get over and get
that other strut, there. “Hang on a second, uh-huh. “Tighter, hold it tighter!” He wants a buddy. Number three? What does he need? He needs his wife to be attractive. A wife’s looks and demeanor either build up a man’s
pride or bring it down. Number four, what does he say he needs? Domestic support. A quiet, clean, accepting home. And, number five. Admiration. He wants respect, he wants encouragement. In other words, “Honey, come and see. “I just trimmed the hedge. “Come and see how straight it is!” “Oh, lovely!” Sad but true. (laughs) What the survey showed were things we kind of knew, right? We kind of knew and expected, didn’t we? That men, for example, are generally immature and self-centered. They need coaching, right? They want attention and gratification and they’re not always willing to give in exchange for these things. And, another thing we knew about women. Women are more high-minded. And, they are usually more
willing to invest more to make the marriage work. We knew that about women. I know that as a counselor, you know. 80, 90% of the time, the woman’s the first one to come in. She’ll drag that old boy in,
you know what I’m saying? She’ll rope him and get him in, you know. But usually, she’s the one that recognizes there’s a problem. She wants to save that marriage. She’s willing to, first one to admit that there’s something wrong. And, she’ll go see the counselor. And, maybe that old boy a
couple weeks down the road, he’ll finally come on in. However, we also realize that women tend to ask for conflicting things. They want security and
advantages for their children, which places a greater
burden on the husband if he’s the primary earner. But at the same time, they
want him to be at home more. More involved, which requires time. Time that he needs to be at work, to make more money to buy
the things that she needs. You see, there’s a conflict there. So sometimes, women need to understand that they can’t have it both ways. Can’t have it both ways. If you want him home
every night all the time, right after work, da-da-da-da. Well then, there is no overtime. There is no extra money. So, we’re going to have to
forgo that thing that you want. So in all of these things, we have to be honest with each other. If you’re forgetting the point here, from some of the comedy. The point we’re making
is, we have to be honest with each other if we are to have
productive communication. And, productive
communication is what we need in order to keep, you know, the love alive in our marriages. Another thing that we need in productive communication,
it has to be clear. For communication to be productive, it needs to be crystal clear. More arguments, divisions
and hurt feelings come from communication
that is simply unclear than from intended insult. We don’t intentionally,
you know, want to hurt the other person’s
feelings with our words. I mean, if we do, then, you
know, we owe an apology. A lot of times, hurt happens because, “What did I say?” How many do guys go around and say, “What did I say? “Tell me what I said!” Right? So, hearers need to reassure the speaker that he or she has truly been understood. Our words and actions need
to convey what we mean. If what we’re doing
means, “I’m truly sorry,” and not just, “I’m tired of arguing.” (chuckles) There’s a difference between, “I’m really sorry,” and “I’m
tired of arguing with you.” Those are not the same thing. Okay? Make sure the other person knows about it. And, you know what? It’s okay to say, “For tonight,
I’m just tired of arguing. “We can continue this tomorrow. “But, I’m just afraid I’m
just going to say something, “you know, that I don’t really mean. “And so, could we just
put a pause right here? “I promise, we’ll pick it up tomorrow “and we’ll continue.” So, it’s okay to be tired of arguing. But don’t lie and say, “I’m sorry,” just to end the argument. Why? Because, you’re not going
to resolve the argument. You’re not going to resolve the problem. The love ain’t going to be there for an insincere, “I’m sorry.” Practice good feedback methods. Say and do what you will,
but always make sure through feedback that the other person is understanding your
words and intentions. You know, tell me what I just said. Our goal is to go beyond communication with the other person to communion or fellowship with the other person. Communion is reached when both people share the truth and reality
of what is being communicated. “I don’t simply understand your words, “I understand your feelings. “I understand your feelings.” Clear communication moves
through three stages. Mirroring, which is, “I’ve
truly heard what has been said.” That’s mirroring. Validation, “I see and
understand your point of view, “even if I don’t agree with it. “But I see it, I get it. “I get where you’re coming from.” And then, empathy. “I confirm that your
feelings are valid and true. “Even if I don’t experience
them as intensely “or in the same way as you do. “I acknowledge that this
is what you’re feeling. “You’re feeling sorrow. “And, you have a right to feel sorrow.” That’s empathy. And finally, for communion to be productive and effective,
it has to be complete. We must tell the truth, we must express it clearly. And, we must express all of it. Now, some agree with
this, but when there is an area which is taboo
within a relationship where one partner refuses
to discuss or share, a gradual closing down
of communication begins. You know, when the other person says, “Don’t go there! “I don’t let anybody go there!” Nothing kills love more effectively than secrecy or lies. Because, love cannot grow in the shadows. Secrecy breeds mistrust. There’s no greater joy or protection than having a loving partner with whom, there are no secrets. Nothing that can’t be discussed. If we want to regain and renew love, we have to begin by reviewing our communication with our partners. All right, we’re going to quit there. I have here a productive
communication worksheet. Homework. All right, here’s the assignment. No kids, no phone, no computers, no TV. I know that’s a task. Find a babysitter so you can
have an hour or two to talk. Discuss with your partner what you think your love language is and what theirs is. Fill out the productive
communication worksheet and then, discuss it with your spouse. And then, review some of the ideas and thoughts on the back. For men, you know, to-do list for men. And, a to-do list for women. That helps keep, you
know, that flame alive. Now, the productive
communication worksheet might start a fight. Because the first question is, list three things you like most and three things you
dislike about your partner. – [Audience Member] Oh.
– Oh! – [Audience Member] Oh.
(laughs) (papers tap loudly on podium) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. Man up, huh? Woman up. (taps paper loudly) If you can’t share that with your spouse, what’s the point? The whole point is
productive communication. We’ve talked about being honest, being clear. But, it’s also being kind. I can say, there’s something that you do that I don’t like. I can describe that and say that without intentionally
hurting your feelings. (papers tap loudly on podium) Okay? There are easier questions as it goes on. But it starts with the hardest one, okay? All right, so I’ll hand these out. You do these. You don’t bring them back next week and share with the group.
(laughter) I already know what I
don’t like about you, Cory. (laughter) – [Corey] I’m going to
need more (mumbles) spaces. (laughter) (mumbles) this was on the wife’s side. – Oh, I see, okay. Anyways, we’ll do these. And you just keep them, all right? And, we’ll move on to
another lesson next week. Okay, that’s it for this week. Thank you very much.

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