Has your marriage become disrupted with feelings of distance, coldness, bitterness and abandonment? Have you checked out and put your marriage on autopilot?

If so, this was not God’s original intention. God‘s vision for marriage was to be an oasis of favor, a haven of joy and love. A union where two have become one and are in hot pursuit of one another.

Intoxicating Love
If you ever want any indication of God’s intention for marriage just thumb through the pages of Songs of Solomon, and you’ll see multiple expressions of love and affection between Solomon and his wife. Here are some examples…

Song of Solomon 4:10
“Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices.”

Song of Solomon 1:16
“You are so handsome, my love, pleasing beyond words!”

Song of Solomon 1:2
“Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.”

These are shining examples on what love should look like in a marriage. Love is not just a by-word or something you know by mental ascent, “Well, my spouse comes home every night, they take care of the kids and pay the bills.” No! There’s more to married life than the fundamentals of survival. Love, as described by Solomon, is a real intoxicating experience where affection and compliments are common place.

Similar to many married couples, when my wife and I were first married, we were smitten for each other. It was common for us to share love notes, random acts of affection, plan the most adventurous and romantic vacations. We would just enjoy each other’s company. Then “DEM KIDS” came into the picture.

It is true that each child brings an abundance of joy and love into the home. However, as you are nursing and raising them, you may not even noticed the subtle ways you and your spouse begin to drift apart. Your marriage becomes more of a bro-mance than a magnet for romance. Here are some practical ways you can reinvigorate your marriage and usher back in the warmth and romance:

1. Return to your first love.
Revelation 2:4, – “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did first.”
Jesus shared a complaint that reverberates into the lives of many married couples of this day. The sad truth is that we have a tendency to become lukewarm with our love and passion for each other once the newness of our relationships wears off. If you want to return to the budding romance you once had, you need to revisit the actions you engaged in when you first met.

Recently, my wife and I dusted off the dvd of our 15 yr old wedding video and watched it with our kids. It was amazing! I recommend that every married couple crack open their wedding album or watch that old wedding video at least once a year. We smiled and laughed at all the typical wedding moments like the Cha Cha Slide, Soul Train line and 80’s dance battle. We, also, got emotional by our thoughtful and intentional vows. We couldn’t help but reflect on the actions that got us to that point. The random bouquet of flowers “just because,” date nights at our favorite restaurants and our public displays of affection.

I encourage you to take time with you and your spouse to reflect on those first acts. Make renewed commitments to applying some of the actions in your daily routine. You will reignite a spark that will hopefully set your marriage ablaze.

2. Be affectionate. 
Song of Solomon 1:2, “Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.”
Affection leads to connection!  We are not robots that spew out daily logs of information to each other or machines that complete tasks and household errands. We need deeper, meaningful interactions that turn into lasting memories. We need to feel the warmth of an embrace, the tender caress of a loved one and the affectionate gaze of our spouse. It makes us feel wanted and secure in our marriage.

Unfortunately, this typically takes a nose dive when the kids arrive. But don’t allow it. Studies show that although children may be grossed out by their parents public displays of affection, it signals to them a feeling of safety and fortitude. The strength of your family is anchored by the strength of your marriage.

3. Be an ocean of compliments. 
Song of Solomon 1:16, “You are so handsome, my love, pleasing beyond words.”
Let your words spring forth life and lift the esteem of your spouse. Be a sanctuary of encouragement. A place where they can feel refreshed, recharged, refueled and ready to take over the world.

Unfortunately, criticisms weigh heavier than compliments and we tend to meditate on what’s wrong with us rather than what God is doing in us. A loving spouse is there to remind us of the big picture and the greatness in us to accomplish big things. Choose to be a lifter today and tell your spouse how beautiful they are inside and out.