A Marriage Made In Heaven

“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.” – Mark Twain

Life as you no doubt have learned, is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. Wives are not perfect. Neither are husbands. We all have our imperfections. But in an unforgettable marriage, the husband and wife have learned to accept the imperfections in each other. Over time, they have stopped trying to make each other in their own mold and have learned to celebrate their differences. Or in other words, they have learned to love each other for who they really are. That was the purpose and the motivation behind the Unforgettable Love Story series we finished this week.

If you missed any part of this series, I encourage to go back and listen to any you missed. You can find them at northstar.cc. I would like to summarize some points we covered in the series. 

First, is that love is an unconditional commitment, not a fleeting, fickle feeling. When you hear couples say that they are “falling out of love,” I always wonder if they really grasp the meaning or implications of true love. Love isn’t a fairy tale feeling, but a commitment, a choice each of us make. Love isn’t a fairy tale story with a happy ending. Love is a story without end. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT) reminds us that, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  Marriage needs commitment to each other and to God to flourish and deepen.

Second, every wife needs love and every husband needs respect. There will be times when your spouse is doing something that is unlovable or disrespectful. Loving them and showing respect during those times is not easy, but it is important that we do it anyway. God gives us His best when we’re at our worst, and He calls us to do that for each other in marriage. People usually need love most when they “deserve” love least. Ephesians 5:33 says, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” 

Third, your spouse’s needs have to come before your own. In each of us there is some level of selfishness. Let’s be honest. So we tend to look at every relationship, including marriage, as an avenue to getting our needs met. But as we have seen in this series, marriage is laying down your own rights for those of our spouse. This requires mutual submission and serving your spouse even when they’re not inclined to reciprocate. Mutual submission is modeled by how Jesus served us and even died for us when we were undeserving. “…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

And fourth, a marriage takes three. The third member of a marriage is God Himself. He created marriage not just to be a man and a woman, but rather, a man and a woman in a growing relationship with each other and with God. The more you love God, the more capacity you will have to love each other. Marriages that put God at the center of their marriage are happier than those that don’t. They focus on God for the source of their happiness rather than their spouse. Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

My hope and prayer is that this series will enrich your marriage/relationships and your walk with God in some way. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you view as the most important theme for the Unforgettable Love Story series?
  2. What do you want the legacy of your marriage to be?
  3. What is the one thing you plan to do or not do as a result of this series?
  4. How can God be a bigger part of the marriage/relationship going forward?

Be Content

“…thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment.” – Song of Solomon 8:10.

There is a popular Bible story that I think illustrates contentment in a less than an ideal situation. It is the story of Leah. Her story starts in Genesis 29. Jacob’s uncle, Laban, had two daughters. Leah, the eldest, had eyes that were “delicate.” Rachel, with whom Jacob fell in love, was Laban’s younger daughter; and she “was beautiful of form and appearance” (Genesis 29:16-17).

Jacob made an agreement to serve Laban seven years for the opportunity to marry Rachel. Laban deceptively gave Leah, instead of Rachel, to Jacob.  When this switch was discovered, Jacob was of course a little irritated. Laban said it was customary to give the older daughter away in marriage first. So, in order to have Rachel for his wife, Jacob had to give Laban seven more years of service (Genesis 29:26-27).

This cruel deception was her father’s idea, and her new husband, Jacob, clearly “loved Rachel more than Leah” (Genesis 29:30). Meanwhile Leah was married to a man who didn’t choose her, love her, or want her. But in fact she was loved and her plight did not go unnoticed. Genesis 29:31 tells us: “When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, …”  God noticed Leah, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren” (Genesis 29:31). The Lord showed Leah she had value in her society and was indeed loved—if not by her father or by Jacob, then surely by her heavenly Father.

Leah gave birth to three sons in a row, hoping she would win Jacob’s love: “Now at last my husband will become attached to me” (Genesis 29:34). But after the birth of each son, not a word was heard from Jacob. Then came a turning point. Three times she’d turned to a man for love. This time she turned to God. “When she gave birth to a son she said, “…”This time I will praise the LORD.” (Genesis 29:35).

At last, on her fourth son, Leah realizes an eternal truth; nothing and no one but God can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. People will always let us down; God never will. So we must praise Him, for that is where our contentment and fulfillment may be found. Leah found it. God loved her. She could not control Jacob’s heart. And she learned that even her children could not replace that longing for Jacob’s love. But in praising the Lord, she learned to be content in whatever state she found herself.

Your spouse may not be perfect, or even all you wanted, but God is. Can you praise God and find contentment in Him? Because really He is what you are looking for.  You can find contentment in your marriage, your children, and your life if you look to God to sit on the throne of your heart.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss some of the values of a lengthy and close acquaintance before marriage. How can couples who married without it now compensate for it?
  2. What can we learn from Leah? What would you have done in her situation?
  3. How did Leah eventually find contentment? 
  4. Pray and ask God that you find contentment and trust in Him? 

Hang In There

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” –  James 1:12.

As a pastor, I often look at a person or couple and say, “hang in there!” Likewise, people tell me to hang in there as well. In that phrase I intend or receive a word of encouragement and hope. Galatians 6:9 essentially says the same thing, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Paul is telling us that it is possible to become weary at doing good, and that includes our relationships and marriage. 

To “hang in there” we need perseverance. It is what makes life worthwhile in spite of adversity. It usually requires a level of courage we may not know we even possess. And it calls us to lean on and draw strength from the Lord when we are facing challenges that have left us weary and discouraged. We may be to the point we feel like giving up. But God hasn’t given up on us. At the proper time, we will receive the crown of life.

But sometimes it seems like things are just not working out. Happily ever after. Yeah, right. No one told you you’d be as miserable as you are. You started well, but now you’re living with a broken heart, feeling trapped in a difficult marriage without hope, and you don’t even want to begin to think about the future. Hope has taken the last train out of town, and you are resigned to facing some tough days ahead. Is this my marriage? Has it really come to this? You’re not able to run away from the reality that your marriage is empty.

My answer to that situation will not be popular with today’s culture and can seem like pie-in-the sky dogma that you would expect from a pastor. That answer is to not give up on the marriage. Don’t stop trying. Don’t stop praying and searching for a way to turn your marriage around. Miracles happen, and people change. I’m seen some pretty dire situations fixed through prayer, hard work, and determination. Where people work even harder to get the marriage on track and over time do exactly that.

That’s all fine and good but you tell yourself, “I’ve done this all before and have gotten the same negative result: Nothing really changes.” You are tired, frustrated, becoming cynical, and leery about ending up even more disillusioned.

I would encourage you to continue hanging in there because even then, God wants your faithfulness. Even in lonely times, God’s message is unchanged, “be holy as I am holy.”

Mature marriages result from two people developing the skills and selflessness needed to address the hard issues in their relationship. These marriages are a result of honest work and sacrificial love and are filled with transparency, humility, and honesty. They, indeed, have a depth of maturity that serves as a positive model. Along the way, at some time and in some circumstance, they chose to hang in there.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you ever feel like you can’t hang in there any longer? What made you feel that way?
  2. Do you believe that God can fix/heal any situation? Do you believe some situations will never get batter?
  3. Do you believe you owe it to God to hang in there?
  4. What can you do this week to demonstrate your commitment to your marriage? 

Commitment And Trust

“If you had started doing anything two weeks ago, by today you would have been two weeks better at it.” – John Mayer.” 

Do you believe commitment and trust are synonymous when it comes to marriage? If you talked to married people, you would probably get the following answer to what’s the difference between commitment and trust: Commitment is our intent to stay in a relationship with our spouse; trust is the practice of doing so.

That answer makes sense to me. Committed spouses will build trust over time. Commitment is built by paying attention to “little things” to show their love and concern. To set up a firm foundation in any marriage the husband and wife need to feel a sense of obligation to each other. God designed marriage to bring a couple deep-seated joy and contentment. He intended for a man to “rejoice in the wife” and for “husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.” (Proverbs 5:18; Ephesians 5:28) To create that sort of bond, a couple must be committed. And their marriage relationship will grow. They will form a bond the Bible describes as being so close that it is as if the two people were “one flesh.” (Matthew 19:5)

Conveying commitment isn’t showy, but subtle and and often behind the scenes. But we still have to do it. 

Trust is built in very small moments in which one person turns toward their partner when they’re in need. When our partner responds positively, by “being there” for us, that builds trust.

Once we are “there” for each other over and over again, we can also begin to trust each other in the face of anger or upset. Having a ground rule that says, “its okay to be angry, I am not going anywhere,” is a very important building block to trust. Marriage should be a top priority both in spending time together and in carrying out the commitments of daily life.

Commitment means investing time in any relationship. Or putting your spouse above other things. It also helps build trust because you are creating evidence that you are reliable, that you can be counted on and trusted. The ability to rely on each other as a team is real trust in the relationship.

When you are fully committed and it is shows in your relationship, it can be a powerful force. True commitment in a healthy relationship takes time to get to know each other, demonstrates a commitment to certain values, accepts each other’s personal standards and involves faithfulness. Such a marriage will be healthy and successful.    

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you view the difference between commitment and trust? Which of the two values do you identify with the most?
  2. If you had to choose one or the other in a relationship which one would you choose and why?
  3. Can a lack of trust in a marriage or relationship be fixed? If so, how?
  4. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What does it mean to trust the Lord with all of your heart? We all have areas where is it easier to trust Him and also have areas where it is more difficult. How does this apply to marriage?
  5. What can we do this week to build trust in a relationship/marriage?

Committed For The Long Haul

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.” – Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

Do you ever think about the meaning of the words in your wedding vows? “For better or for worse . . . in plenty and in want . . .  in joy and in sorrow . . .in sickness and in health . . . as long as we both shall live.” The words may have been different but the intent was probably the same. Whether you have been married for a short time or for decades, when we get married we make a commitment in that moment of time, with God and friends and family listening. My question is this: Were those just empty words of tradition from the past? Or do they represent a genuine promise of commitment that had meaning then and continues to have meaning today? I believe the level of commitment is instrumental in determining both the longevity and quality of any marriage. 

“Till death do us part” can sound so romantic – but it can also sound ominous. Regardless of whether one marries in a secular or religious ceremony most couples still believe that they are making a permanent commitment. Unfortunately, the divorce rate tells us clearly that intentions are not always enough. 

What happens between the solemn pronouncement of wedding vows and the decision that we have irreconcilable differences? Certainly, this is not a “one size fits all” situation. But I believe that somewhere along the way one or both spouses got bored or tired of trying to make it work. In other words their commitment dissolved.

But here’s the thing: commitment is a mindset, a way of thinking that will enable you and your spouse to navigate through the still waters and the storms of a marriage relationship. Commitment means you’ve promised to stay and work it through, not just today but forever.

Commitment is a decision that comes in two stages: first making the commitment and then keeping the commitment. We make the commitment when we get married.  Keeping the commitment is a different story. Keeping the commitment means that we do loving things for our spouse, speaking kindly and respectfully, and deciding over and over to pay attention to the relationship. it also means that we commit ourselves to God and seek His grace and wisdom in the relationship.

Commitment is also a choice to give up our rights. Although this might at first sound limiting, it actually brings great freedom and depth. Once committed, all one’s energy goes into making this commitment work. No longer are other possibilities a distraction. 

Couples who understand the essence of making a permanent commitment realize that it’s much more than just a decision not to simply let things evolve. It’s a commitment to do the daily work of keeping the commitment alive. It may mean turning off the TV or taking a nightly walk in order to listen to each other’s concerns. These simple actions, and many more, are the stuff of commitment. They are the actions that keep a marriage vibrant, interesting, and exciting. It means being vigilant so temptations or doubts do not surface.

Honor the commitment each of us made when we got married. And every day re-commit to making the marriage all that God intended it to be. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is commitment an overused concept? If so, why?
  2. How do you define commitment in marriage or in relationships?
  3. Do you believe commitment will enable you to: sacrifice for the sake of your marriage, be more satisfied with your relationship and enjoy longer-lasting marriages? Why or why not?
  4. What disciplines are needed to help maintain your faithfulness and commitment in marriage? 
  5. In what areas of marriage do you feel God is calling you to pray and work on going forward?  Spend some time praying.

Being a Leader

“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity….” – 1 Timothy 3:4. 

Perhaps you have heard the story of a man in heaven who sees two different signs. One sign said: “ALL THOSE MEN WHO HAVE BEEN DOMINATED BY THEIR WIVES, STAND HERE.” That line of men seemed to stretch into infinity. The second sign read: “ALL THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN DOMINATED BY THEIR WIVES, STAND HERE.” Only one man stood under that sign. The man went over and underneath the sign stood one man. He asked the man, “what’s the secret, how did you do it? That other line has millions of men and you are the only one standing in this line.” The man responded, “my wife just told me to stand here.”

No this is not a devotional about who should wear the pants in the family. If the marriage is to deepen with time, the man has to take the lead in some key areas as the song by Sanctus Real says so eloquently. Doing nothing or deferring to your wife doesn’t eliminate our responsibilities as husbands and fathers. 

God placed ultimate responsibility with respect to the household on the shoulders of the husband. But being the head or leading does not mean the man lords over his wife and demands her total obedience. God never viewed women as second-class citizens. His Word clearly states that:  Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Scripture does more than assign leadership in a marriage to the husband, however. Those same passages you just read also provide a model for that leadership. Firs , we must love our wife unconditionally. Secondly, serve your wife. Jesus is our model for this type of leadership. Jesus did not just talk about serving; He demonstrated it when he washed His disciples’ feet. The Son of God took on the very nature of a servant when He was made in human likeness (Philippians 2:7).

One of the best ways to serve your wife is to understand her needs and try to meet them. Do you know what your wife’s top three needs are right now? What is she worried about? What troubles her? What type of pressure does she feel? Learn the answers to questions like that, and then do what you can to reduce her worries, her troubles, her pressures.

My prayer for each husband reading this is reflected in the lyrics of the Lead Me song:

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I’m called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won’t You lead me?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do would you rate your ability to lead? Is it something that comes naturally? Why or why not?
  2. How would you rate yourself as a servant in your marriage?
  3. What practical steps can you take to better lead your marriage?
  4. Pray and ask God to help you be the leader in your marriage.

Analysis Paralysis

“I’m tired of being inside my head. I want to live out here, with you.”  Colleen McCarty.

Early in the engagement, most of us sit down to think about what we want to accomplish in our marriage. It would be refreshing to talk, pray, trust God, and dream big together. It would be the stuff of Hollywood movies; a marriage that starts strong and yet deepens over the years. However, somewhere between the dream of what you want your marriage to be, you begin to wonder if you have all the right stuff to bring the dream to reality. Have you ever found yourself endlessly obsessing over an issue, unable to move beyond it? When dealing with a problem or potential opportunity, do you ever have dozens of seemingly unanswerable questions swirling around your brain? If so, you may be suffering from one of the most common afflictions known to modern man: paralysis by analysis. If you had a good friend they would have told you that you are overthinking the situation and that you need to trust God. 

It is easy for people to overthink the situation, at least when it comes to relationships. Too often we spend a significant amount of time and energy mulling over our situation. But sometimes, all the thinking and talking falls flat. When we spend so much time analyzing these aspects of our relationship, the paralysis can cause us to do nothing. If you want a deepening of your marriage doing nothing seldom works.

Sometimes we spend so much time focusing on our problems and analyzing our issues that we fail to integrate real, actionable change into our lives. Thinking deeply about your marriage is fine, but it takes action to bring about real and actual change. If we want to improve the situation, then we need to do something. 

Love is articulated though action. Thinking about a relationship is most useful when the other person inspires us to demonstrate new behavior. Ideally, godly servant-minded thinking should spur intelligent action. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to start a whole life together as a unified couple when both people have spent so much time trying to “find themselves”.  It is a deepening marriage where we learn more about the spouse after we are married and do something to make improvements as a result of the knowledge. 

Don’t fall prey to analysis paralysis. Take the steps necessary to change your marriage for the better. That’s a great place to start. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think it is wrong to think through a subject? Why or why not?
  2. Does thinking about a relationship lead to action?
  3. In the area of relationships, do we tend to take too much or too little action? Why do you feel that way?
  4. What steps can we take to ensure we don’t suffer from paralysis by analysis?
  5. Pray and ask God to give you the wisdom on when to take action and when not to.

The Course Of True Love

“The romantic love we feel toward the opposite sex is probably one extra help from God to bring you together, but that’s it. All the rest of it, the true love, is the test.” – Joan Chen

It was William Shakespeare who said, “the course of true love never did run smooth.”

Shakespeare was right. True love will have some bumps. Especially when you consider the radical mind bending unconditional love exemplified by Jesus. If you don’t learn to show your spouse unconditional love, your marriage will not deepen. Without true love,  marriage will never deepen because it is dependent on a shallow and fragile root system.

That’s why it’s so important for us to learn to love our spouse unconditionally. It is not easy. Giving your spouse unconditional, unwavering love requires grace, patience, affirmation, encouragement, respect and time. Even when you don’t feel like showing love, or your spouse is trying to be unloveable at that time, you continue to love unconditionally. It is a sure way for your marriage to experience a deepening.   

Jesus Christ demonstrated how to show true love. He loved us not because we were lovable or worthy of that love, but because He is the personification of true love. Romans 5:8 describes godly love in action: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

That love requires us to be concerned for the well-being of others over our own wants and desires. God even gives us His Spirit to enable us to exhibit true godly love toward others. As the apostle Paul explained:  ”…you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:9-10).

Remember that God is the author of unconditional unselfish love. If you want true love, go to God for it, for He can give you the power and desire to put into practice the little things in marriage that constitute true love. He can help you develop more outgoing concern for the needs of your husband or wife rather than concentrating solely on your own feelings and desires.

True love comes to those who are willing to make their personal wants and desires secondary in giving of themselves to their marriage partner.

Don’t expect true love overnight. True love grows as a husband and wife learn how to better meet the needs and desires of the other. True love matures through living experiences and through feeding the fires on a  daily basis.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is true love more than acts of kindness? Why or why not?
  2. What is the expectation of love in marriage or in a relationship?
  3. What must you risk in loving your spouse sacrificially?
  4. In unconditionally loving our spouse, what is the worst pain we face? What will you have to give up?
  5. Pray and ask God to help you love your spouse unconditionally.

Deeper Connections

“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock,the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman.“ – Proverbs 30:18-19.

The couple has gone on several dates. When reflecting on the experience so far, it is common to hear one of them say, “I definitely think we made a connection. It is not something tangible, but it is there.” Making a connection is important when dating but deepening that connection and understanding of your mate becomes all the more important once you get married.  Growing that connection infuses relationships with new spirit and life.

But as I have said several times in the Unforgettable Love series, dating is one thing, and marriage is something else. That is because once we are married life happens. Responsibilities and time commitments grow. As a result, the close connection God wants married couples to enjoy can become neglected and strained.

Don’t settle for a week connection. Talk about your schedules, and time commitments. Find time to spend together to just talk. Talk about your individual lifestyle preferences. Talk about your daily joy and disappointments. Talk about even the little hurts, so these small things don’t build up into big things that will come between you. Talk about possible solutions to any big areas of disagreement.

And finally talk about your spouse’s needs. They may need you to be reliable, to be honest, dependable, and on time. Let your spouse know that, no matter what, you will always care for and value him or her. Be genuinely interested in doing what’s best for your spouse and your marriage. They may need you to give more time and energy to your relationship. They may want you to respond differently: they may want you to simply listen without judging, criticizing, or problem-solving. They may have a need to know that you care about his or her thoughts and feelings. They may need you to understand why they reacted in a certain way by asking questions so you can better understand what’s bothering your spouse, and why. They may need you to understand your spouse’s perspective on the issue and to clearly communicate yours. They may need you to avoid defending yourself or blaming your spouse. They may need you to be willing to be open to doing things differently.

There are numerous other examples I could give, but my goal was to give you food for thought, not to be all inclusive.  Here’s the bottom line.  If you want a deeper connection with your spouse make sure you are communicating and in that communication you know his or her needs.    

  Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think you have a good understanding of your spouse’s strengths, weaknesses, desires, and aspirations? If not, what can you do to find out more about these aspects of his or her character and personality? How can this knowledge deepen your connection with your spouse?
  2. How would you describe your “long view” of your relationship? Where do you see yourselves in five years? Ten years? Twenty?
  3. There is a famous saying: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Does this maxim apply to marriage? If so, how?
  4. Do you ever feel that you’re simply too busy to deepen your connection with your spouse?

Where’s The Fire?

“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?