Careful Not to Capture a Heart

Is it possible for a husband to cross a line with another woman without intending to? The short answer is: Yes. 

To put it bluntly, it is easy for a man to begin capturing another woman’s heart without even 

realizing it. You think you’re just having an enjoyable conversation with a coworker, but she may see it as the only attention she’s had all week. Before you know it, your conversations move from friendly chatter to intimate subjects. 

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

We’re not suggesting you can’t have friendships with other women, but we are warning you that it’s easier than you think to capture the heart of another woman outside of your marriage. 

So, if you spend a lot of time around other women at work and at church — how can you make sure you never cross any lines with them? Here are some danger signals to look for in other women: 

    • Flattery 

    • Intense eye contact 

    • Inappropriate gushing 

    • Excessive reference to your importance 

    • Wanting to talk about intimate topics 

    • Touching your arm or rubbing your back during conversation 

    • Talking more about you than about her husband 

    • Performing as if you’re her audience 

Think of it this way, if this woman invited you into her house and you were alone, would the 

topics and conversation stay the same as they do in public and/or with an audience? If she is suggestive in her conversation, confiding about her husband not meeting her needs, causing you to sympathize with her or pity her, watch out. Does she tell stories that have a suggestive tone or lead you to see her in that light? Does she make references to her body or inferences about her bedroom? 

I know this may sound extreme, but it is best if you do not encourage touch with a woman other than your wife. If a woman is touching physically, it’s a good indication she is touching emotionally. If you are accessing the emotions of a woman other than your wife, you are entering a major danger zone. It is as intimate for her as preparing for sex—it is that serious. No matter how appealing the attention of another woman is to your manhood, an innocent friendship can quickly take you by surprise and lead you down a path that you’ll soon regret. 

A word of advice: Trust your wife’s instincts in this area. If she suggests that another woman is 

behaving inappropriately, your wife is probably right. Most women have radar, an innate alertness to nonverbal communication and an ability to translate body language into emotional facts. Your wife probably is able to see these things clearly, so don’t criticize or blame her warnings on insecurity. Regard it as a gift from God that will keep you out of danger. 

Most likely, you’re a “good guy with good motives” and you may like to give a hug to a gal once 

in a while. Unfortunately, you have no idea what condition that woman’s heart is in. If a woman isn’t having her emotional needs met by her husband, she could easily become set off by the touch of another man—by your warmly touching her. This is also true when dealing with single women. Coupled with affirmation and care, your touch could unintentionally start a forest fire.

*Our book, Guard Your Heart, can help equip you and your spouse with the tools to protect your marriage. It's available in our online bookstore!

Do My Parents Have to Approve of my Future Spouse?

You think you’ve found the one for you, but your parents don’t approve. What should you do? We’d say: Listen to your parents.

When parents don’t approve, there’s usually a good reason. It might be because of heartbreak they’ve gone through or seen others go through. Their own experience or the experiences of others that they have witnessed across a lifetime will give them pause if they see potential difficulty because of something they sense in this other person. They don’t want you to have to deal with that kind of pain; they want you to experience the joy of a great marriage. 

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels

Your parents are in your life for a reason—to guide, protect and teach. True, you may not have the greatest relationship with one or both parents, but if they are really unraveling over a potential spouse, it’s generally because they see or sense something in the person that isn’t right. Never marry someone to get back at your parents or to rebel because they don’t like him or her. You’ll only be hurting yourself. Instead, pull back and try to find out the underlying issue that is causing their concern. 

We would offer one caveat, however, because of situations we sometimes see in counseling. If there is something unhealthy in a parent’s relationship with you, then you need to be very careful. For instance, if a man’s father dies, his mom may turn to him for lots of help. That’s fine. However, if his mom fails to make a healthy adjustment to the loss of her husband, she may resent any woman her son brings as a potential wife because she’s afraid of being “replaced.” That would be a warning sign. He would need to take his mom’s emotional state into consideration and not follow her opinion completely. If the motive of the parent is to control or undermine, then you need to be cautious. 

Outside of that, if your parents are godly, wise, healthy, and nurturing, then you need to really listen.

*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!

Falling in Love All Over Again

No one gets married thinking their love for their spouse will fade. We go in believing those butterflies we felt when we first fell in love will last forever. But the truth is every married couple experiences times where they don’t feel as “in love” as they used to. Or the marriage relationship may begin to seem more ho-hum than they thought it should.

That’s why practicing celebrating love is so important to your marriage! Celebrating Love is one of our 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love.

Photo by  Brett Meliti  on  Unsplash

Celebrating love is all about reveling in the emotional, physical, and spiritual connections that bond you to your spouse. It’s a kind of love that protects you from drifting apart and enables you to fall in love and feel discovered all over again. It’s not always about occasional gifts and surprises. Celebrating love rejoices daily in the marriage you have and helps you feel cherished and captivated by the other. It is a reflection of God’s celebrating love as seen in Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord ... will rejoice over you with great gladness... He will exult over you by singing a happy song.”

Without celebrating love, your relationship will stagnate, and you will drift apart emotionally. But when you cultivate celebrating love in your marriage, you will reconnect with the heartfelt love you discovered when you first fell head over heels for each other. Celebrating love means growing deeper in love year after year, rediscovering what you almost forgot about each other, appreciating again what may have lost its shine, and displaying affection and appreciation for all that you find in each other. Celebrating love prompts you to exult with Solomon: “This is my lover, this my friend” (Song of Songs 5:16, NIV).

Celebrating love usually isn’t something that “comes over” you. You don’t just sit around and wait for the old, warm feelings of love to well up again. You cultivate celebrating love intentionally. One of the primary ways to inspire daily celebration in your relationship is to purposely put each other first. Move your spouse to the top of your to-do list, just a bubble behind your love for Jesus.

This means you must make spending time together a priority, just as you did when you were first dating. We’re not just talking about “quality time.” Sometimes you need hundreds of hours of “quantity time” before you can enjoy real quality time with your spouse. You need frequent periods of time away from the kids and other responsibilities. Find enjoyable activities—everything from hobbies to foreplay to conversation—that will rekindle intimacy of heart and spirit. Give your spouse priority access to your time instead of just the leftovers.

Priority time for your spouse means occasional date nights and getaway weekends. These events should be scheduled in your calendar ahead of time, because if you wait until the last minute, you may have trouble fitting them into your busy life. (You may find our book 40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate helpful in planning dates!) But priority time also means smaller time slots each day, such as having dinner together, taking a brief walk, spending time talking, playing a game, or watching a favorite program together.

Priority time for what? Among all the enjoyable things you may do when you set aside time to be together, make communication a priority. Sure, you may spend a couple of hours in silence watching the ballet or a movie. But make the effort to fit periods of meaningful conversation into your time together. By meaningful we mean something more than how you liked the movie, what the kids did today, or how the economy is faring. Talk about the two of you—your goals, your dreams, even your disappointments and your hurts. Try to learn something new about your spouse every time you enjoy uninterrupted conversation.

Meaningful conversation also means what you say through your body language. When you talk together, put down your phone and turn off the TV. Make eye contact and give undivided attention. Make physical contact through an occasional affirming touch. Draw out your spouse with questions that demonstrate your interest in what he or she is talking about. Ask God to help you focus directly on your spouse.

Lavish on your spouse the honor and pleasure of putting him or her first among your earthly relationships. It will prompt a daily celebration that will help you soar above the knotty problems and humdrum of daily life.

When Work Travel Creates Distance in Your Relationship

Some careers require a lot of travel and sometimes that can mean not as much time with your spouse or kids as you’d like. Or if you’re the one at home, you may be feeling a little neglected. But just because you are physically distance while one of you is traveling—it doesn’t mean you have to grow distant in your relationship.

We hear from truck drivers and from people who fly across the country every week. They’re separated from their spouses and from their kids for lengths of time. And you know what they tell us? They say that one of the most important things to do is to connect emotionally to your spouse and your kids on the telephone every evening.

Photo by Roman Carey from Pexels

Photo by Roman Carey from Pexels

That means connection— not only sharing data about what you did that day, but also sharing emotions and feelings. In fact, one person told us that he would make that connection by saying to his son, “If you were here right now, I would be tickling you and chasing you around. Then I’d carry you up to bed and tuck you in. I will do that again when I’m home on Thursday, okay?” 

Help your spouse to stay connected. Encourage him or her to call home when the kids are still up. Send e-mails. Write notes. Always be available.

If you’re the one traveling, make sure your spouse and kids know that you can be reached at any time. If you have a cell phone, tell them to call any time. If you’re in a meeting, you will call right back. If you don’t have a cell phone, leave as many phone numbers as you can. Your spouse and kids need to know that you are available to them anytime, anywhere.

*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!

The Greatest Kind of Connection

Your husband, like every Christian husband, needs to be growing spiritually. He needs spiritual connection—with God, with you, and with other believers. This need came in #5 for men in our survey of 700 couples for our book, The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women. Your husband desires spiritual connection with you and others — and he needs your help and support to meet this need!

If husbands are going to take the Bible seriously, then they know that one of the key dimensions of their spiritual life is the spiritual leadership they must provide. (Eph. 5:25-31) And if you could read the hearts and minds of most Christian men, you would find that leadership—real servant leadership—is the biggest challenge they face on a daily basis.

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Servant leadership is a two-sided coin. On one side is the great honor and opportunity that kind of leadership offers: honor in being entrusted with such a high call and opportunity to help meet our family’s deepest needs. However, the other side of the coin is that servant leadership is a very tough job!

This spiritual responsibility weighs heavily on your husband when he recognizes that you and your children are relying on him to take the lead.

Your Husband Needs Your Help

Many women are ignorant of the role they play in the spiritual connection between husband and wife. They haven’t seen it modeled by their own parents, or they haven’t learned it in their churches.

Other women try to play Junior Holy Spirit. They so desperately want their husbands to be the spiritual leaders in the home that they try to shame them into action.  

Still other women struggle because they aren’t doing so well in their own spiritual lives. For these women, husbands who are spiritually on fire are more like a guilt-producing reminder than an inspiration.

In my life, Barb isn’t the Junior Holy Spirit, but God does use her consistently to help me when I struggle. But that’s because I trust her, and she does it with honor and respect for my role in our relationship, and without a critical spirit.

Meeting Your Husband’s Need for Spiritual Connection

If your husband is going to experience spiritual intimacy and connection with God, which in turn will produce spiritual intimacy and connection with you, he must be grounded in four basic areas. If any of these areas is missing or inadequate, it will be reflected in both relationships.

Personal Time in the Word

Since the Word of God is a believer’s spiritual food and drink, your husband needs to be reading the Word of God daily. Many husbands are on solid ground in their personal Bible reading. If your husband is, reinforce him. Let him know that you love his thirst for the Word. If your husband is not reading the Word, realize that you don’t want to irritate the situation by nagging. What you can do is pray for your husband to have a thirst for the Scriptures. You can model your own thirst and share with him what you are learning.

If you and your husband do not read the Bible together, talk with him about starting that habit. Some husbands will take the suggestion and run with it. Others may be hesitant. If that is the case, suggest that you start by including a Scripture reading as a part of your mealtime. Or you could suggest that you read a passage together before going to bed. Do whatever seems like a natural first step for you.

Prayer

Consistent prayer is one of the most elusive spiritual disciplines for men. Let me offer you a good hands-on way to approach prayer. This will help you in your own prayer life, but it will also be helpful to your husband. It is the acronym ACTA. 

A is for adoration. Pour your adoration and worship on God for what he is doing in your life.

C is for confession. Lay open your heart for the surgery God needs to do in your life. He is always faithful to forgive. 

T is for thanksgiving. It is honoring to God when you come to him with a thankful heart for all the blessings he has given to you and your family.

A is for asking. Make your petitions known to God. He already knows them, but he wants you to tell him your needs.

Fellowship and Worship

The need for spiritual connection extends to the entire family of God. We need each other, and your family needs to worship God and grow in relationship to others in the family of God. This is best done in the local church. Does that mean you should never miss a Sunday service or a Wednesday-night prayer group? No. That would border on legalism. But if we are not worshipping and fellowshipping on a regular basis with the people of God, our spiritual growth will diminish. You and your husband need to be in a strong Bible-teaching church that is presenting the Word of God week in and week out. You need it. Your husband needs it. Your kids need it.

Spiritual Intimacy in Marriage and Family

When a husband and a wife are both studying God’s Word, praying, and in fellowship, then spiritual connection in the family is the natural out-growth. When a husband and a wife are sharing what God is teaching them in the Word, the family will benefit. When a husband reaches out and takes his wife’s hand and prays with her, whether in crisis or in calm, then spiritual intimacy in the marriage is the natural outgrowth. When a husband assumes his God-ordained role of servant leadership in the home with his wife and his children, the family will flourish.

Spiritual intimacy and connection in a marriage is the greatest kind of connection of all. If you are living it, rejoice. If you are seeking it, never give up. Keep at it. If you are just getting started, welcome to the journey. God is at work in you