My wife and I have been married for over 35 years.  Some who look at us may think that we have one of those storybook marriages.  Whatever they see, is in my opinion, the grace of God in action.  Debbie and I were both raised in broken and dysfunctional homes and as a result were both “damaged goods” when we got married…broken physically and broken emotionally.  On the bright side, we both had recently come to know Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior who specializes in putting broken lives back together.  

We shacked up a few months before we got married.  I just showed up one day with my toothbrush and the rest is history.  Let me be transparent with you.  If we would have known then what we know now concerning the destructive seeds that are planted when couples shack up, we would never let this happen.  You see, it is difficult to "keep love alive" in a relationship if you are not doing it God's way. In chapter 13, verse 4 of the New Testament book called Hebrews, we find these words, "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge."  This is telling us that God, who is the Architect of marriage, wants to bless the marriage relationship but He will also judge all sexual activity outside of the marriage union.  You see, the Bible is our "blueprint" for marriage, instructing us how to keep love alive. 

Do you want to keep love alive in your marriage?  Here are some principals from the Bible that will help husbands and wives to do just that: 

(1) Husbands: Your wife needs to be nurtured and cherished by you.  She needs to communicate with you.  She needs you to be someone who she can talk with.  Next to your relationship with God, she wants to feel as if she has first place in your life. The wife needs to be cherished and nurtured…"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame." (Song of Solomon 8:6 NIV)  The seal was commonly a sign of ownership and an indication of great value. Shulamite, Solomon’s bride, asks to be a seal on her husband's heart because in being near his heart (the source of his affection) she felt secure in his love. She asked to be a seal upon his arm because she felt secure in his strength to encircle and protect her. 

(2) Husbands, generally speaking, the wife needs to communicate; she needs to have the freedom to talk with you…"  On five occasions King Solomon refers to the Shulamite as his sister, “You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart With one look of your eyes, With one link of your necklace.” (Song of Solomon 4:9 NKJV) The word “sister” was an affectionate term for one's wife found in ancient Near Eastern love poetry, emphasizing closeness in the relationship.  "Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove's eyes." (Song of Solomon 1:15 NKJV)  The expression "my love" can also be translated, "my companion" or "my friend."  In other words, the Bible is teaching husbands and wives to work on being friends.  Solomon’s wife says of her husband, "His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, And this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!" (Song of Solomon 5:16 NKJV)  One thing that jumps out at me from this book is that Solomon and his bride the Shulamite, were friends.  I don’t care what Hollywood says, you’ve got to be friends before you are lovers.  If you are not friends you are just lusters.

(3) Wives:  The husband needs physical intimacy.  Wives, if you were asked, "What is the #1 need of a man?"  The top rated answer given by men is sex.  When it comes to sex, generally speaking, the husband is the initiator, but there are times when the wife should initiate lovemaking.  This is the point in chapter 7 of the Song of Solomon where Solomon’s wife says: “I am my beloved's, And his desire is toward me. Come, my beloved, Let us go forth to the field; Let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see if the vine has budded, Whether the grape blossoms are open, And the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.” (Song of Solomon 7:10-12 NKJV)  Here Solomon’s wife takes the initiative in lovemaking and I don't think I need to elaborate. 

(4) Wives, your husband needs to be admired and respected.  In 5:9, the daughters of Jerusalem (Shulamite's girlfriends) ask her, "What makes your beloved better than the other beloveds?"  Shulamite answers: My beloved is white and ruddy, Chief among ten thousand. His head is like the finest gold; His locks are wavy, And black as a raven. His eyes are like doves By the rivers of waters, Washed with milk, And fitly set. His cheeks are like a bed of spices, Banks of scented herbs. His lips are lilies, Dripping liquid myrrh.  His hands are rods of gold Set with beryl. His body is carved ivory Inlaid with sapphires. His legs are pillars of marble Set on bases of fine gold. His countenance is like Lebanon, Excellent as the cedars.  (Song 5:10-15 NKJV)   In other words, "He is the best of the best."  This is not just love in its infancy—this is not "love at first sight."  This is more than a “Child, don't he look fine!!!”  Though Solomon’s wife focuses on the physical and the external, she accomplishes exactly what a husband needs.

Wives, your husband needs your affirmation.  He flourishes as you build him up.  This is illustrated in the words of the song My Guy sung by Mary Wells:  “As a matter of opinion I think he's tops, My opinion is he's the cream of the crop…” 

Husbands, your wife needs to be nurtured and cherished.  She needs to communicate.  She needs you to be someone she can talk to.  She needs you to make her feel secure.  Wife, your husband needs physical intimacy, a.k.a, “sex”!  He needs to be admired and respected--this is what the Bible calls reverence and respect

Much of the Bible Points material comes from the sermons of Pastor Chuck Brooks who serves as pastor-teacher of GraceWay Church, 2001 North Rolling Road, Baltimore, MD.  You can listen to or download many of Chuck’s sermons at www.mygraceway.org or keep up with the events sponsored by GraceWay on our Facebook page.