When most people think about “desire” in marriage, the spotlight of their focus is on sexual desire. But expressing desire for one’s spouse begins far before the physical act of making love.
Have you ever felt like your spouse only showed desire for you when they “wanted something?” How did that make you feel? Or put another way, has your spouse ever said to you that the only time you show focused desire for them is when you want to jump in bed or get your way?
Our challenge to husbands and wives is to learn how to create focused desire for one another throughout each day. Notice we didn’t say you would necessarily “feel” that desire…at least, not at first. But desire can be cultivated by intentional choices of expression to your spouse. It’s the continual deposits of affection that create acceptance, value, honor, respect, and connectedness.
Here’s why this is so important: unless we make the conscious choice every day to move toward our spouse, we will naturally begin to drift from our spouse. We will become disconnected emotionally and relationally. That drift eventually turns into a rift creating two lonely people under one roof.
After a while, our children pick up that we are divided. This can create insecurity for them because we aren’t united. They may assume a “divide and conquer” mentality in their approach to each parent.
In addition, our hearts become vulnerable to someone else’s focused desire for us. They give us time, listen, affirm, encourage, empathize—and the table is set for an affair.
Ted Huston, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He evaluated 168 couples over 13 years of marriage. Dr. Huston found that the happiest married couples maintained the same level of affection they had for each other in their first two years of marriage.
So what was affection like when you dated? When you were first married? Initiate a conversation around those memories and see how much you both can recall. Enjoy the memories without blaming one another for the desire drift you’ve experienced. Talk about what the two of you can re-instill into your marriage.
Ask your spouse, “What are two or three things I can do for you on a regular basis to show my desire for you?” Listen carefully, and then follow through consistently. If you need to set up daily repeating reminders in your smart phone or on your computer—do it! Whatever system needs to be in place for you to establish focused desire for you spouse is worth it.
Lovingly describe to your spouse how you would like to be shown affection. What are two or three things they can do every day that can make you feel more desired? We know this can seem like buying yourself a Christmas gift, wrapping it up, and having your spouse give it to you. You’d rather have them do it all perfectly on their own. But as we have learned in our marriage, having clear and precise communication can save hours if not years of misunderstanding and hurt.
Over time as you show focused desire to each other, you will experience a growing love and passion for your spouse as you build your marriage.