Suzie Davis, Marriage Expectations & Irritants

couple-hearts

An interview with author, Suzie Davis.

How can couples get past a romantic or sexual mismatch?
First, I think sex and romance are two different things. Many women move into marriage with an ideal — much of that borne out of the romance we see in media — it’s very easy to expect and hope a man will act a certain way forever.

But the truth is, when you add a couple kids and a career into the mix, things can get a little whacked out and crazy. Then you get disillusioned and think, Well, maybe I don’t love him. Or, she doesn’t make me happy. Or, he doesn’t give me flowers anymore.  We’ve bought into this lie that romance looks like what we’ve seen at the chick flicks. And the truth is that romance, as God defines it, is incredibly different.

We need to take a third-party perspective and look in on our marriage as if we’re viewing a story — because there is a story going on — and it’s not about, Does he bring me flowers? It’s about the ups and downs of a lifelong love affair. One of the most incredibly romantic things I’ve seen is how my parents have continued to love each other over the past 50 years. Now that’s romantic. Now does my dad always bring my mom flowers?  No, but you know what? They’ve stayed together and their love has endured through good times and bad. That is the picture of a romantic love affair.

What other obstacles are you seeing?
Today we have exposure to a lot of different people through a lot of different venues,making emotional affairs, very attractive.

We need to remember that God designed us to be attractive to men. So, let’s say, you’ve been married ten years and you left in a fight this morning. You get dressed and go to work and you’re all cleaned up. Your coworker comes in and he’s looking good and treats you nice and smells good. You know that’s the kind of situation where it’s easy to become more disenchanted with your marriage and more attracted to the wrong man.

Easy. It goes over.
Good for you. Now, either your wife has trained you to say that or you’re a really good man. Men are inherently different than women. They communicate differently. Communication style can be such a huge problem in marriage. There are millions of everyday irritations that can get in the way of a marriage. It can cause women to feel like they’re going crazy and conversely, I think for men too.

What can help is getting some boundaries in place; practical safeguards like, I’m not going to lunch alone with my male coworker because it puts me in a situation that might cause problems for my marriage. And that, Jim, sounds old fashioned, but we’re in a day and time where the lines on marriage are so blurred that we need to become extra diligent about protecting our marriage — and realize it’s worth protecting.

Shifting back to romance,  children tend to get in the way, don’t they? 
Absolutely. Listen, when you get married and it’s just the two of you, there is leisure time for your sexual life.  You put a lot into your relationship. Then when you start having kids, it’s as if they start driving the relationship. And they shouldn’t, but many times they do. Not only do they drive when and where you’ll go on vacation but when and if you’ll go on a date and when and if you’ll have sex.

If you want to have a good marriage, and if you want to have a healthy family, it has got to be husband first, kids second — not in intent, but in practice.

Any practical suggestions?
Scheduling intimacy certainly doesn’t sound romantic, but it works.  I suggest scheduling romance, a weekly date night and occasionally scheduling a trip away.

Get more — Free! e-book — Les & Leslie Parrott's, The Good Fight

When our kids were little, we’d send the kids over to Grandma’s and we had our date night at our own home. Things slowed down. We remembered why we love each other. It was a reminder that our marriage is a priority — even over the kids.

I believe that when you put God first in your life and you put God first in your marriage, you can actually get to the point where you continually feel that you’re married to the man of your dreams and you will want to stay married to him for the entirety of your life.  That is doable.

We mentor engaged couples — pre-marriage mentoring — and of course most of those couples go forward with pretty idealistic expectations.

Marriage often turns out to be a little harder than they thought.
No one marches down the aisle thinking they won’t make it. Marriage is one relationship that is meant to endure a lifetime, till death do us part.

I think that’s part of it — this longevity of marriage — marriage is the one relationship that takes a lot of my energy — and of course I receive the most joy from it — to be able to really love the man I’m with and be the kind of person I need to be for him and for us.

What kinds of things drive women crazy?
This is a test question. Does the toilet paper go over or under when it’s on the roll?

Easy. It goes over.
Good for you. Now, either your wife has trained you to say that or you’re a really good man. Men are inherently different than women. They communicate differently. Communication style can be such a huge problem in marriage. There are millions of everyday irritations that can get in the way of a marriage. It can cause women to feel like they’re going crazy and conversely, I think for men too.

How can couples get past those irritants?
One of the things I’ve done in my marriage is make sure I have girlfriends around me to meet and pray with and encourage me to love my husband the way I need to love him.

Women need girlfriends to talk things out. They need encouragement and they need to remember that men and women are very different — there are certain things that are inherently male and certain things inherently female. We need to realize that those things probably aren’t going away and we need to be a lot more grace-filled when we’re dealing with them.

What would you say about the spiritual component in marriage?
The spiritual component is primary. A recent Baylor University survey revealed that 99% of couples that pray together end up staying together. Prayer is one of the things that can seal that until-death-do-us-part union.

Copyright © 2009 by Jim Mueller, President and co-founder of Growthtrac Ministries.

Rate this article

About Jim Burns

bio-burnsJim Burns, Ph.D., is a renowned youth and family expert, an acclaimed author, and the founder of HomeWord, a radio program that reaches more than a million people across the country each day. In partnership with Azusa Pacific University, he established and now provides leadership for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family, a research and training institute offering biblically based resources for parents and youth. Under Burns, the center has become the largest provider of Christian parenting and youth seminars in the United States. His passion is communicating to adults and young people practical truths to help them live out their Christian lives. Burns is a three-time Gold Medallion Award-winning author and has written books for parents, youth workers, and students. He also speaks in person to thousands of people each year around the world. Burns and his wife, Cathy, and their daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi, live in Southern California. For more information about Burns, visit homeword.com.
See Jim's Books

Share
Tweet
+1

older

3
Aug
2009
12:59pm, CDT

Mitch Temple, Marriage Myths

newer

3
Aug
2009
12:59pm, CDT

My Frustrations About Him