I was reflecting recently about how many affairs happen between people who work closely together. The boss has an affair with his long-time female assistant. The female newscaster has an affair with the male newscaster who works in the same studio every day. The pastor has an affair with his long-time secretary. I realized something profound. These people ended up having an affair because a super strong emotional bond was created as they worked together as a team over many years.
There is great bonding power when a man and woman work side by side as a team toward a common goal. As they fight together through challenges and adversity, they bond. As they work side-by-side over many years, they develop a history of shared experiences and memories that only they know about…and that creates a special bond. The power of team is highlighted in the well-known verse in Ecclesiastes Chapter 4: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Thought for you: How can you take this knowledge of the “power of team” and use it to foster an even deeper bond between you and your husband? Can you intentionally begin working together on some common projects or goals? Think about it…because the “power of team” can create a super strong glue for your marriage.
One of the things that will bond you together with your husband is….laughter! When you share a common funny experience, it is very bonding. I still vividly remember an incident several years ago when my husband and I attended a Seattle Seahawks football game. I remember clearly and think back on this incident fondly because we bonded through belly laughter! You see, there was a very vocal young man behind us who was actually quite funny. He wasn’t crude, just extremely loud, and some of the things he yelled tickled our funny bones! My husband and I would look at each other for hours afterward and burst out laughing about one of this guy’s funny comments. When I think of periods in my marriage where my husband and I laughed a lot, those memories bring very warm feelings. Those shared moments of laughter connected me with my husband. Shared laughter is very bonding.
Do you play and laugh and flirt with your husband? Do you try to find humor in daily life? Do you take yourself seriously all the time or can you laugh at your own little mistakes? Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” If your marriage feels kind of dried up, perhaps it needs an infusion of laughter. Maybe it’s time to start flirting with your husband like you used to. When is the last time you pinched his tush? Maybe you need to watch some funny TV shows together. My husband and I laughed while watching “The West Wing” on Netflix. Neither one of us had ever watched this show when it first came out. It’s an excellent political drama, but the characters are sometimes so funny! We also watched old episodes of Frasier and laughed out loud together often. Aaaah. Shared laughter. It’s good medicine for your marriage!
We all would like to feel more emotional intimacy and connection with our husbands, but often we end up drifting apart as the years of marriage pass by. This is especially true when children come on the scene. You get super busy and absorbed with the kids and your husband feels unimportant, unvalued, and un-needed.
However, there is one simple step you can take to begin changing that dynamic. Start asking your husband for his opinion! Ask him his thoughts on the right number of activities for the kids. Ask him his thoughts on how to best arrange the living room furniture. Ask his opinion on what is most important to him in terms of cleaning and tidying the house. (You might be surprised that most men would prefer you focus on keeping the home tidy rather than clean).
By asking your husband for his opinion, you’re communicating that he matters. You’re communicating that he is a needed and valued team member. You’re communicating that he is respected by you! He needs that respect. He’s wired to crave your respect. That’s why God gave a clear instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33. It simply says “The wife must respect her husband.” So, start respecting your husband by asking his opinion and truly considering his thoughts and desires. You will find that he likes being around you more, and you will develop a powerful sense of “team” in your marriage.
One way to bond with your husband (and your children) is to share fun, wacky, or unique times together. When we laugh together, we bond. When we share a silly or wacky moment together with others, then we bond. When we share a unique adventure or event, we bond. Sharing those fun moments brings a smile to our face….and that smile is very healing for relationships! In fact, the Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
To obtain this good “medicine” for your marriage and your family, you need to be intentional. Get out your calendar and make a note at least every other month to plan a special, wacky, or unique event! Let me give you some examples of things our family has done together.
We have all dressed up in our PJs and gone to Dairy Queen for ice cream. We have hosted costume theme parties where the entire family gets dressed up and comes together for dinner. We have had dinner with a “lights out” theme, where we could use no appliances for cooking and we had to eat by candlelight. We did a caveman dinner where all the food had to be eaten without utensils, even pork ‘n beans!! Be creative. Be silly. Laugh. You will bond and create warm memories.
Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could stop spending energy trying to hide all our flaws, fears, and failures? Most of us are in “hiding”. You’re afraid that if anyone, including your husband, was to discover your flaws, they wouldn’t love you anymore. Satan has convinced us that we need to hide who we really are. He whispers into your ear that your husband will look at you with disgust if he were to discover the real you. Satan tells you your husband might even leave you.
Satan is a liar. I know from experience that the opposite is true! When my husband revealed all of his flaws (and I mean ALL) on our first date, even though I was shocked by his transparency, I found it completely refreshing and heart-warming. It made me feel like I could trust him to be honest in the future…that he wouldn’t hide stuff from me. We gained a kind of deep intimacy on that first date that some couples never experience in decades of marriage! How wise to live out Proverbs 28:13 in your marriage, which says “Whoever conceals his sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
So, my challenge to you is to take a baby step forward in being “real” with your husband. Tell him that you’d like to be able to share with him a deep fear or failure from your past. Tell him that you need to be able to trust him to handle this revelation with tender care. I believe you may discover a rich new level of intimacy with your man. Also, by you going first, he may feel more comfortable revealing more of his true self to you in return!
I wish I had known about the blessings of a fire pit a long time ago! I had no idea that a fire pit could pave the way to more intimate, deep conversations than we routinely have in our marriage. But I’ve discovered it’s true! There’s something bonding and safe about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams in the flickering light coming from your backyard fire pit. Maybe it’s because it’s quiet and peaceful at night and, when sitting in front of the fire, we tend to talk in soft voices. Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath…” Well, maybe it’s that soft conversation in front of a fire that breaks down our defenses and helps us to open up.
We’ve built a fire pit in our backyard at our last 2 homes. They cost less than $100. We thought a fire pit would be fun for the grandchildren to toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs. But it turned out that my husband and I enjoyed it just as much…for different reasons than the grandkids! As the sun goes down, we light the fire, and then my husband asks what the topic of the night should be. Sometimes, we talk about our dreams for ministry. Some nights, we talk about our concerns for our children and we pray for them. Other nights, we talk about our dream vacation ideas. Try building or buying a fire pit. You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!
P.S. Obviously, if there is a risk of wildfires in your area during dry summer months, you might want to use an inexpensive gas firepit as opposed to a wood-burning firepit that could toss embers and start a fire! 🙂
I’ve learned something since the covid pandemic started in spring of 2020. When the stay-at-home orders first hit, my husband and I had nothing better to do in the early hours of the morning than pull up 2 chairs in front of the fireplace and start quietly talking about God, family, priorities, hopes, fears and dreams. We held our cups of coffee and talked for 30 or 40 minutes as night gave way to dawn. Sometimes we talked. Sometimes we’d enjoy quiet moments of just being together. It was…special. It was intimate. It was bonding. It was precious.
Since then, we’ve engaged in that kind of special moment from time to time, but with no real regularity. Life got busy again. We both went to work, even though we do a lot of our ministry work and preparation at home.
But this morning, I decided to be more intentional. Good things don’t usually happen unless we put in a little effort! So, even though it was a little chilly on a May morning in Bellingham, WA, I told my husband I’d love to join him for a sunrise chat in our backyard as birds were beginning to chirp and the sun was beginning its slow rise for the morning. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was quiet. We had a soft and lovely conversation, sitting there bundled in jackets and enjoying the first rays of sunshine on our faces. It reminded me that Jesus told his followers to seek out a quiet place from time to time because their soul needed that rest and refreshment. Mark 6:31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”
I encourage you to think about carving out time for a peaceful, quiet, morning conversation with your husband. I think you will find it is bonding. I know it will refresh your marriage.