“To keep the fire burning brightly there’s one easy rule: Keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart — about a finger’s breadth — for breathing room.” – Marnie Reed Crowell 

To Build a Fire” is the title of a short story by American author Jack London. It describes the plight of man in 75 degree below zero weather in a classic man verses wilderness race to build a fire before the cold overwhelms him. He ultimately fails. Building fires is sometimes easy and sometimes not so easy depending on the environment and the materials. I’ve started many a fire with good old Kingsford charcoal. You spray and get that wood or charcoal briquettes good and wet – I’m not much of a Boy Scout, but you just throw a match on it, and it lights right away. The fire starts quick and burns out quickly as well. Starting a fire is one thing, but keeping the fires going in a marriage over the years requires much more than lighter fluid. 

It requires you to be active, and to basically say, “you know what? We’re going to keep this thing burning.” We are going to proactively focus on this relationship, and along the way develop and use a few fire starters. Because fires, whether they be real fires in a grill or fires in the human heart, the passion and romance go out when they are not tended well and fed with fuel. If you are wondering why there isn’t much romance in your marriage, take a step back and ask how much fresh fuel have you brought to that fire?

There are many things that can extinguish the fire in a marriage. Neglect, indifference, and stress are just a few. But there is one that has the potential to be the most powerful fire extinguisher you have ever seen. It can squirt on a fire so quickly. It is the lack of or loss of respect for your spouse. There are others, but while these can extinguish a fire, they can also add logs to the fire when done right.  Let’s review a few of them briefly. 

Let’s start with acceptance. The second need of a woman is for acceptance. Our spouse needs to know that we love them for who they are and not what they do. They need to marry them all over again. Another is nurturing the special connection we have with your spouse. We need to set aside the quality time to reconnect emotionally with our spouse. When we connect we cultivate a fire that has warmth for hours. In addition, we need to become a student of your spouse and what their needs are.  Not what their needs were years ago. School is always in session. And don’t forget respect. We need to respect our spouse in a way that leaves no doubt as to our true feelings. And we need to work at it. We need to make romance a priority, an action item on our daily to do list.   

Our spouses have given us a lot of great gifts over their lifetime, but none greater than themselves. Recognition of that fact, coupled with working constantly on cultivating the fire of romance, is what deepens the marriage in the way God intended marriage to be.   

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does keeping the fires burning in your marriage mean to you?
  2. Is this something that you proactively do or something you react to when needed?
  3. What do you see as the biggest fire extinguisher in your marriage/relationship?
  4. What is the best lighter fluid or fire starter?
  5. How do you show respect to your spouse?