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Archive for the ‘Song of Solomon’ Category

Oh, that you were like my brother, Who nursed at my mother’s breasts! If I should find you outside, I would kiss you; I would not be despised. Song of Songs 8:1 (NKJV)

In addition to reviewing the ABD’s of your relationship, you should also keep in mind the 1-2-3’s of it.  As with the ABC’s, Ann Malmberg[i] says these are not some deep, life-changing tips, but rather a fun, easy way to bring that back-to-school feeling of excitement and anticipation into your relationship:

1 date per week –or at least 1 per month. You probably have heard often how important it is to prioritize a date.  And yet, as much and as often as we hear about it many of us still fail to do it.  When we were dating, one date a week did not seem enough, but now that we’re married we just don’t think it is important; but it is. Don’t think about in terms of expensive dinners or events.  It’s not really about how much money you spend or how dressed up you get (although that can be fun!).  Rather, it is about carving out some time to focus on, renew, and sustain your relationship and the sense of being a team, which existed before the kids were born, bills came every month, housework that needs to be done, and everything else that tends to crowd our lives after the honeymoon period is over.

2 gives for every take.  Be considerate, unselfish, and thoughtful of your spouse and his/her needs.  Remember how when making friends it helped to be kind, and you likely put extra effort into being considerate and thoughtful? Your spouse deserves this same consideration and courtesy.  You will score many more points that way than by being demanding, selfish, and unkind.

3 kisses (at least!) each day. Kiss each other good morning, goodbye, and good night. Kissing helps us maintain closeness and intimacy.  At the same time, some research showed that a quick, passing kiss may not be enough, and they recommend at least a 10 second kiss.  You don’t have to be in a hurry if you want to reconnect with your spouse.

Father God, while we may not be able to implement every one of these tips, help us to start with one as we strive to strengthen our marriage.

[i] https://blog.prepare-enrich.com/2015/09/abcs-123s/

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I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one. Song of Songs 5:2 (NKJV)

The writers of WebMD[i] shared several secrets women wished guys knew.  They’re based on the study of healthy, happy couples and our changing gender roles.  We’ll continue to share those during the next few days.

Performance Anxiety Is Shared.  Every so often we may experience an off night, for which we feel bad and even worry about.  Well, your wife probably feels bad too.  Among other things, she may worry that you don’t find her attractive any longer and she will want assurance that that is not true. She will probably want to talk about what’s going on and what you are doing about it, especially if it’s a recurring problem.  Talking about it may be a very positive thing for both of you and relieve stress which could lead to more off nights in bed.

Mirroring Is a Barometer of Love.  The common saying, “imitation is the highest form of flattery” may be your wife’s way of telling you how she feels about you.  For instance, she may order a meal just like yours, or wear your favorite color, or smile or cross her arms when you do. Mirroring you may be her way of putting you at ease and letting you know she is charmed.

Your Shirt May Be a Love Magnet.  Some researchers have found that the scent of a man’s perspiration has a relaxing effect on women.  That may be the reason your wife wears some of your clothes or wrap herself in your blanket; it makes her feel closer to you.

Say It, Again and Again.  Your wife likes it when you tell her she looks nice, and she prefers it when you notice without being told.  For instance, when she’s wearing a nice new dress she’ll give you major points for saying how lovely she looks, especially if you mention the dress before she does. If she’s looking particularly attractive, if she has a new haircut, if she’s looking more fit, tell her as soon as you notice.

Father God, keep me attentive to my wife’s outward appearance so that I may tell her often and thus build her up emotionally and express my love to her profusely.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/men/ss/slideshow-secrets-women-wish-you-knew?ecd=wnl_spr_081515&ctr=wnl-spr-081515_nsl-ld-stry&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. (TO HIS FRIENDS) Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones! Song of Songs 5:1 (NKJV)

 

The writers of WebMD[i] shared 19 secrets women wished guys knew.  They’re based on the study of healthy, happy couples and our changing gender roles.  We’ll continue to share those during the next few days.

Don’t Try to Fix Her World.  Because men are solution-oriented, we feel the need to fix things.  But when something’s bothering your wife, you must fight the temptation to fix her, or her problem.  What she needs is for you to listen to her, to empathize, to encourage her sharing of her feelings.  To a woman, really listening is a wonderful thing that deepens the relationship.

Nodding Is Not Enough.  Some men think that simply nodding communicates agreement or at the very least that they are listening.  Your wife needs to know that you are paying close attention and that you are at least making the effort to understand her.  When she pauses, she’s probably giving you an opportunity to respond in a compassionate, caring way.  And, don’t forget, resist the urge to offer solutions.

Women Like the Slow Lane.  When it comes to sex with their husbands, many women prefer the scenic route while their husband want to take the quickest path and most direct route.  Women want to feel connected and understood, they want to be romanced.  In practical terms that means you taking time, helping around the house and with the kids, talking and touching…all of those things, which happen throughout the day, are the best foreplay.

Learn What She Wants in Bed.  Most women do like to talk to their husbands about what’s going on in bed and how to please them.  You can help her to ask her what she likes and what you want in a positive and validating way.  Make sure to state your wishes in a positive way, like, “I would really love  it if you [fill in the blanks].”

Father God, help me to be more understanding and supportive of my wife.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/men/ss/slideshow-secrets-women-wish-you-knew?ecd=wnl_spr_081515&ctr=wnl-spr-081515_nsl-ld-stry&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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A garden enclosed Is my sister, my spouse, A spring shut up, A fountain sealed. Song of Songs 4:12 (NKJV)

Psychologists who study gender roles shared with WebMD[i] several relationship secrets from psychologists who study gender roles.  Today we share the last two:

Secret No. 17: Men May Stray When Needs Aren’t Met.  We don’t want to make it sound too simplistic and say that if you don’t meet all your husband’s needs he will have an affair.  In the end, every person is responsible for his/her actions and decisions.  However, keep in mind that if a man doesn’t feel loved and appreciated in his relationship, he may turn elsewhere for have those emotional needs met.  Some men may bury themselves in their work, while others may develop a fixation on sports or video games.  Of course, some men will commit adultery, whether it is online or in person.

Of course, women are not immune to affairs.  With the number of women in the work force, and therefore a stronger financial standing, the number of adulterous relationships by women is on the increase.

Both of you need to work together to meet each other’s needs.  Have a dialogue about each other needs, make a mental (or written) note about your spouse’s most important emotional needs, and be intentional about meeting them.

Secret No. 18: He’s Vested in You.   As the writers the WebMD post explain, “Most men realize there’s a lot to lose if a long-term relationship goes sour — not just each other’s company, but the entire life you’ve built together.”  Marriage is a partnership, and if you’re willing to work to strengthen your marriage, chances are your man will be, too.

These words should be taken very seriously: “No one can so effectually ruin a woman’s happiness and usefulness, and make life a heartsickening burden, as her own husband; and no one can do one hundredth part as much to chill the hopes and aspirations of a man, to paralyze his energies and ruin his influence and prospects, as his own wife. It is from the marriage hour that many men and women date their success or failure in this life, and their hopes of the future life.”[ii]

Father God, strengthen our relationship and draw us closer to you.

[i] Ibid.

[ii] White, Ellen G. The Adventist Home. p. 43

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I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Song of Songs 5:1 (NKJV)

The secrets we shared today by the WebMD[i] experts relate to one of the most important emotional needs men have.

Secret No. 11: Men Think About Sex … A Lot.  According to these experts, most men under age 60 think about sex at least once a day, compared with only a quarter of women.

Secret No. 12: Men Find Sex Significant.  In spite of how men or sex are portrayed in the media, for many men, sex is a very important act between two committed people.  In fact, just like most women, men find sexual intimacy to be most satisfying within a committed relationship.

Secret No. 13: He Likes It When You Initiate Sex.   Many man get frustrated because they are the ones who initiate sex most often or always. But they would like it if their wife would take the lead more often. As these experts say, “Initiating sex some of the time may lead to a higher level of satisfaction for both of you.

Secret No. 14: Guys Aren’t Always Up for Sex.  Even if men think about and need sex more often than women do, women may be surprised to know that they aren’t always in the mood for sex.  Sometimes stress by the demands of work, family, and paying the bills is a big libido crusher. When your husband says, “not tonight,” it doesn’t mean he’s lost interest in you. He just means he doesn’t want to have sex right then.

Secret No. 15: Men Like Pleasing Their Partner.  The problem is that your husband won’t know what you want unless you tell him. Tell him clearly and he will listen because he also wants to please you.

Secret No. 16: Guys Get Performance Anxiety.  As he gets older, your husband may worry about his body, or his stamina.  You can help him learn to relax and stay focused on the physical, emotional, and spiritual unity of the moment, which is the totality of your encounter.

Father God, you created men and gave them special needs.  Help me meet my husband’s needs so he may feel loved and cherished.

[i] Ibid.

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Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats, Going down from Mount Gilead. Song of Songs 4:1 (NKJV)

WebMD[i] gathered several relationship secrets from psychologists who study gender roles.  It can benefit your relationship to know some secrets your husband wishes you knew about men, including him.

Secret No. 6: Men Need Time for Themselves.  While men enjoy and appreciate spending time with you in recreational activities, men also need time for themselves.  John Gray, in his book “Men are from Mars, Women from Venus” says men need to go into their “cave”, after work, in order to reconnect with you and the family once they come out.  If your husband enjoys golf, gardening, or working out at the gym, encourage him to pursue his hobbies while you make time for your own. As WebMD explains, “When both partners have space to nurture their individuality, they have more to give to each other.”

Secret No. 7:  Men Learn From Their Fathers.  This is one of the reasons you should get to know his father, if you want to know how your husband might act in his relationship with you.  Pay attention to how they are with each other and how his father relates to his wife as it could predict how your husband will relate to you.

Secret No. 8: Men Let Go Faster Than Women.   While  you may still want to talk about last night’s argument, your husband may have already forgotten about it.  Women tend to remember negative experiences longer and may have lingering feelings of stress, anxiety, or sadness, while men are less likely to dwell on unpleasant events and tend to move on more quickly.

Secret No. 9: Men Don’t Pick Up on Subtle Cues, like tone of voice or facial expressions, and especially things like sadness on a woman’s face. If you want to make sure your husband gets the message, be direct.

Secret No. 10: Men Respond to Appreciation.  Appreciation is one of a man’s most important emotional needs.  According to WebMD, “Studies show that fathers are more involved in care-giving when their wives value their involvement and see them as competent.”

Father God, help me to show my husband how much I appreciate him.

[i] Ibid.

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Like a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters. Song of Songs 2:2 (NKJV)

Maybe the man in your life was raised as a traditional, stoic, man’s man who has a difficult time sharing his feelings with you.  If so, WebMD[i] gathered several relationship secrets from psychologists who study gender roles.

Secret No. 1: Men Will Talk About Feelings.  Your husband may find it easier to talk about feelings indirectly.  You can ask him what he would do during a romantic weekend, or what he thought the first time he met you. His answers will tell you how he feels and at the same time bring you closer.

Secret No. 2: Men Say ‘I Love You’ With Actions.  Because some men are not used to expressing their feelings, they may feel more comfortable showing you their feelings through actions.  When he fixes things around the house, takes out the trash, or holds your hand he is telling you, and showing you, that he loves you.

Secret No. 3: Men Take Commitment Seriously.  Even though men have a reputation for being afraid to commit, the evidence suggests men take marriage seriously. They may take longer to commit because they want to make sure they are ready to make this lifetime commitment for good. As an example, in a survey of currently married men, 90% say they would marry the same woman again.

Secret No. 4: He Really Is Listening.  Women often acknowledge they are listening by saying things like “yes” or “I see” every now and then. It’s your way of saying, “I’m listening.”  Just because some guys don’t do this it doesn’t mean they’re not listening. They may prefer to listen quietly and think about what you’re saying.

Secret No. 5: Shared Activities Form Bonds. One of a man’s most important emotional needs is recreational companionship.  It’s not just fun to have you participate in sports, exercise, or watching TV; those activities strengthen their relationship with you more than by sharing thoughts or feelings. For many men, activities like sports and sex make them feel closer to their wife.

Father God, help me, as a husband, to show and express my feelings for my wife so our love may be strengthened every day.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/ss/slideshow-secrets-guys-wish-you-knew?ecd=wnl_spr_082115&ctr=wnl-spr-082115_nsl-ld-stry&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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My beloved has gone to his garden, To the beds of spices, To feed his flock in the gardens, And to gather lilies. Song of Songs 6:2 (NKJV)

 

Robert Preidt, HealthDay reporter, writes about a study of married couples conducted at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh which found there is no emotional boost with more activity in the bedroom.[i]  The couples in the study were randomly assigned to either double the amount of sex they had each week or to have their usual amount of sex over a three month period.

According to the researchers, people who had more sex were not happier than those who had their usual amount of sex. Instead, the study found, the couples who had more sex actually had a small decrease in happiness.  As they dug deeper into the data, however, the researchers found that one reason why simply having more sex did not make couples happier was because it seemed tied to a drop in their desire for, and enjoyment of, sex.  It wasn’t that having more sex led to lower desire and enjoyment of sex; it was because they were asked to do it instead pf initiating sex on their own.

Lead investigator George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology, said that despite the findings he believes couples tend to have too little sex, and that boosting the amount of sex in the right ways can be beneficial.

Study co-author Tamar Krishnamurti also believes that the desire to have sex decreases much more quickly than the enjoyment of sex once it’s been initiated.  As he explains, “instead of focusing on increasing sexual frequency to the levels they experienced at the beginning of a relationship, couples may want to work on creating an environment that sparks their desire and makes the sex that they do have even more fun.

The key conclusion then is not for a couple that would like to see positive changes in their relationship to simply increase the amount of sex they have but rather to make sure they both have an enjoyable sexual experience thus increasing their intimacy.

Father God, you created sex for us to enjoy.  Help us to maintain our experience enjoyable for both so we may be drawn closer together and our intimacy may strengthen our relationship.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/sex/news/20150508/think-more-sex-will-make-you-happier-think-again?ecd=wnl_men_051515&ctr=wnl-men-051515_nsl-promo_2&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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Go forth, O daughters of Zion, And see King Solomon with the crown With which his mother crowned him On the day of his wedding, The day of the gladness of his heart. Song of Songs 3:11 (NKJV)

A short sidebar in Psychology Today[i] explained that the most lavish wedding ceremonies aren’t always the most auspicious.  Many young people hear of the royal weddings, full of pomp and ceremony, or watch the wedding ceremonies of the rich and famous and imagine that the bigger the wedding the happier they will be.

Two recent reports, one by a two Emory University economists and another that two psychologists produced for the National Marriage Project, investigate the power of one of the most important rites of passage – a couple’s wedding.

The studies found that couples who reported having more guests at their wedding also reported, on average, higher levels of marital quality, even when they controlled for factors such as education, religiosity, race, and income.  They also observed that higher wedding attendance was associated with lower odds of divorce.  The benefits of having more witnesses at one’s wedding may be partly due to the psychological consequences of making such a public declaration of commitment, that is, that we strive to maintain consistency between what we say and what we do. These couples also likely have more friends and family who see the relationship as something worth supporting or rooting for.

At the same time, they don’t break the bank in the process of having a large wedding.  Spending more money on weddings and rings, however, was not associated with more stable marriages. In fact, those who spend the most on their weddings were, on average, at greater risk of divorce. The economists speculate that an expensive wedding might place a high degree of stress on a marriage before it’s even off the ground.

The most important lesson from these studies is that the power of the big day is far more likely to lie in the connections and the commitment than the spectacle.

Father God, help us to think wisely about how much we spend on our wedding day and instead invest on a lifetime marriage.

[i] Psychology Today, May/June 2015

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Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Song of Songs 8:6 (NKJV)

While we should not depend on romantic feelings, it does not mean that we should not have them.  We don’t have to live in a bland, boring marriage.  You can , break out of your relationship rut, reconnect with your partner, and fire up the passion that brought you together in the first place.  Kara Mayer Robinson, writing for WebMD,[i] gives several suggestions to rekindle the fire in your relationship.

Focus on the positive.  Focus on the positive qualities that attracted you to your spouse.  With the passage of time people tend to fixate on the negatives.  Instead, make a list of what you fell in love with and another list of good things you’ve discovered over time.  But don’t keep those thoughts to yourself, publicly brag about those amazing qualities your partner has, tell him/her all those things that you like and appreciate about them, embrace his/her positive qualities and let him/her know you’ve fully got his/her back.

Do something crazy (or new).  As Robinson explains, one study found that couples who added variety, doing new things together, felt better about their relationships than those who stuck with routine, mundane activities.

Touch.  Researchers have found that affectionate touch boosts the body’s feel-good hormones.  Touch does not have to be limited to sexual intimacy.  Hug your spouse, hold hands, be playful with touch, whisper sweet and adoring things into your spouse’s ear. “Affection is a way to make love all day outside of the bedroom.”

Talk. Don’t spend time trying read your spouse’s mind? Instead, be open and honest.  The goal is to show more and see more of each other.

Identify your relationship’s strengths, then build on them. Know what works well in your relationship and do more of it.

Envision a future together that inspires you. Whatever your dream may be, you can create a plan now to start making it happen.

Father God, help us to keep the fire in our relationships bright and burning hot and may we never allow it cool down or die.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/rekindle-romance

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