One Small Move That Reignited the Passion in Our Marriage

Don’t put passion on the back burner with some vague idea that it will reignite itself when your circumstances are different.

Life gets busy. Day after day we can let the little things slip through the cracks. But, with a little intentionality, you can bring passion back into your marriage.

I heard him walk through the front door, but I never even looked up.

By the time my husband, Matt, came home that evening, I was so frustrated, so frazzled, that his coming home hardly mattered. I kept sautéing the onions and peppers without so much as a glance in his direction. I just ignored him and tried my best to tune out the squabbling of our four young kids hungrily sitting around the kitchen table.

I kept my eyes down, stirring those vegetables as if my life depended on it. And that’s when I felt him come up behind me and slip his strong arms around my waist.

I knew I should have felt cared for, but mostly what I felt was annoyed. Couldn’t he see I was trying to make dinner? Couldn’t he do something about the kids who were now throwing their napkins at each other across the table? Couldn’t he do something?

I shrugged him off.

Without saying a single word, I let him know that I wanted him to leave me alone. He got the message all right, and I saw his shoulders slightly drop as he stepped back. He stood silently behind me, watching as I sautéed away.

But then, out of nowhere, I had the wildest idea come into my head. What if . . . what if instead of brushing him off, I twirled around and leaned back into him? I suddenly had to know.

What if?

And then, right in that crazy kitchen moment, I turned off the stove, whipped around, and pressed my body deeply into his. And stayed there for a minute or more.

I don’t know who was more surprised, him or me. He stared into my eyes, wondering what in the world had gotten into me. How could I explain it? That I was merely curious as to what might happen? That this was an impromptu experiment by an otherwise weary and worn-down mom of four?

How could I have known that one small move like this could start a much-needed, much-desired fire?

Igniting Passion

In all honesty, the last thing on my mind that evening as I stood over the skillet was passion. He wasn’t expecting it, and I wasn’t looking for it. We were in that “survival” stage of parenting when you find yourself in a bit of a blur as you go from one task to the next, trying to keep ahead of the cascading monotony of daily chores, milk spills, and utility bills.

Deep down he probably wished we had more sex, and I wistfully wanted more romance. But neither of us thought to ask the other, as we were both doing what we could to keep up with the basic demands of the day until there was little left for the night. So we quietly kept our disappointments to ourselves and hoped something would change when our season changed.

Maybe that’s where you find yourself—waiting for a new season. Hoping things will get better or hotter when there’s more money, less stress, or better health, or when the kids are older.

But here’s what I’d say: Don’t wait. Don’t put passion on the back burner with some vague idea that it will reignite itself when your circumstances are different.

When I say “passion,” I don’t use it as some sort of euphemistic reference to sex (although sex typically plays a part in there somewhere). What I mean is that strong feeling of physical desire and closeness for each other—an intense longing.

Now, you may be asking yourself what place passion has in a Christian marriage. Isn’t that a rather worldly, self-focused pursuit? A way of thinking better suited for chick flicks and romance novels? Something you leave behind not long after the honeymoon?

God didn’t leave passion to the world, and neither should we. The desire we have for our husbands is a beautiful part of how God designed us as women. To desire your man is to live in harmony with who you were created to be.

Just think: God could have kept our marriage mechanical, but instead, he gave us that extra spark.

So, as believers, let’s not be shy about seeking for passionate Song of Solomon moments in our marriages. And we don’t have to wait for our husbands to make the first move.

The {Passion} Experiment

Regretting having pushed away my husband’s show of tenderness, I spontaneously decided to do the reverse. Rather than lean away from him, I spun around, wrapped my arms around him, and pressed into him even harder than he had embraced me.

What had come over me?

Just minutes earlier, I’d felt resentful and ridiculously so. I was mad at him for coming home later than I’d wanted him to. It was the end of another hard day, and I felt overwhelmed by the many needs of our children, having been surrounded by them all day and yet feeling terribly alone at the same time.

Instead of rushing into my husband’s arms as he walked through the door, letting him know how glad I was to have him home, I communicated the exact opposite—as if he was the last person I wanted to see right then, as if I’d be just as happy if he turned around and went back to the office.

Having given my full attention to dinner prep and kid control, I had convinced myself that I legitimately had nothing left to give. Rather than warmly greeting the man I’d vowed to love, sizzling vegetables had become my priority.

And, besides, I felt dull and unattractive standing there in my floral apron in front of the hissing pan. For most of us, that’s about the furthest thing from feeling alive, warm, and sexy, isn’t it?

For this spur-of-the-moment experiment, I had to overcome my self-pity, self-doubts, and self-focus (I know, that’s a lot of “self,” isn’t it?) and turn my attention to what was best for us both, right then. And what began as an almost mechanical act—a forced decision more than a natural impulse—quickly grew into something magical.

Only a few seconds into it, and I was feeling the heat as much as he must have.

But the surprising response didn’t stop with that moment. The effect on him was far greater, far broader than I could have anticipated. Maybe you’re thinking, No, wait, let me guess . . . he wanted to take you to bed after dinner and have sex.

Yes, I think that’s fairly safe to say! But the outcome was so much bigger than that. He felt close to me—wanted and welcomed and, well, like a man.

He also became noticeably energized and ready to dive into what was needed in the situation. I went back to our dinner on the stove (with face flushed, I’ll admit it!) while he entertained the kids until the meal was ready.

Strange to think that I had felt so drab—both undesiring and undesirable—that evening, having no idea how quickly things could heat up between us once I made a definitive choice. Right there in the middle of the kitchen on an ordinary weekday night, I started a small blaze.

Your Flirtation Experiment

Our embrace in the kitchen that night rekindled a passion for my husband that I’d pushed down so deep that it had nearly been forgotten.

What is one small way you could heat things up in your marriage relationship? A sensual touch, an unexpected flirtatious squeeze, or a lingering kiss?

Try it out and see if it doesn’t set off some sparks!

*This article is an excerpt from the new and popular Christian marriage book, The Flirtation Experiment, by LIsa Jacobson and Phylicia Masonheimer!

A 52-Week Devotional for the Deeper, Richer Marriage You Desire

An intimate, loving marriage is so much closer than you think

Imagine if, at the end of the year, despite your busy schedules and all the demands on your time and attention, you and your husband were more in sync, more connected, and more in love than ever before. Sounds amazing, right?

That kind of marriage is what is waiting for you as you read through the fifty-two weekly devotions in Loving Your Husband Well. Each entry includes a specific theme, related Scripture, a powerful devotion, thoughts for further reflection, practical ideas, and a prayer, all designed to help you love, cherish, and serve the man who shares life’s journey with you.

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