Joyce was solid and reliable. She had been the cashier at Register 5 for more than a decade. Today, a woman in her 20s was purchasing a small, heart-shaped birthday cake, a bottle of champagne, raw oysters, and condoms. Joyce fought to keep her eyebrows from arching high in response to the young woman’s low-cut blouse, bright red lips, and romantic merchandise. Joyce steadied her voice when calling, “Have a nice day” as the customer hustled out of the store, her tall stilettos tapping loudly on the shiny, tile floor. Joyce watched men turn and stare at the young woman’s retreating figure, as if their eyes were welded to her.
Disdain filled Joyce’s thoughts, followed by repulsion, then envy. With her sturdy build and hair in a practical bun, it had been a long time since any man had been captivated by her walk, or smile, or kiss. Jim still kissed her, but they were brief, friendly pecks that conveyed attachment based on time – lots of time. Almost four decades, three children, two homes, and five dogs later, their physical attraction had softened to fondness. In the early years of their marriage, her breath would catch, her eyes sparkled, and her body tensed in anticipation of Jim’s feverous displays of love. As best she could remember, their had been 16 years ago, which resulted in their bonus child, Justin.
Joyce didn’t know if The Respect Dare would help bring the zing back into her marriage, but as she turned to greet the next customer, she felt an overpowering longing for Jim to look at her with anything like desire. DARE TO RESPECT pp. 31-33: “Joyce”
Healthy marriages provide connections that are emotional, spiritual, and yes… physical.
For this reason a man will leave his father and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Mark 10: 7-8
What begins with strong passion early in marriage can fade under the pressures of children, work and household responsibilities.
Oftentimes it takes more than a quick makeover, new lingerie or chilled champagne to revive a lasting physical connectedness that can sustain husbands and wives through the roadblocks of life. The Bible gives us a hint about ways to improve this important aspect of marriage:
However, each of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33
There are several Christian bloggers who tackle the delicate topic of sex in marriage like To Love Honor and Vacuum and Hot Holy & Humorous, but beneath the physical, there needs to be a strong foundation of love and respect.
Our modern culture is sending messages to women that undermine the critical elements of loving and lasting marriages. Unmarried women have sex and married women avoid sex. What God designed as beautiful, sin has tarnished.
Want to find out how Joyce’s journey continues, and learn how to revive the spark in your marriage? Join a “Dare to Respect” book study, or a small group that accepts the challenge of The Respect Dare!