Marriage: Five Roles of a Lifetime Valentine
What is a lifetime valentine? For me, it’s synonymous with success in marriage. It is best described as a satisfying, growing friendship for life. Let’s break that down. Satisfying means enjoyable and fulfilling. You want to be a part of it! Growing. There’s a willingness to listen to your mate’s needs and keep making changes; to build into the relationship and not take it for granted. Friendship. That’s the fun, laughter and kindness lived out each day. Finally, for Life. It’s a deep commitment and that’s not a word commonly used to describe enough marriages these days.
Success as a life-long valentine is when young love stays the course over the years and becomes the most beautiful kind of all… ‘Old love’. Two people whose lives and histories are so intertwined that they are inseparable yet still passionate for each other. Two have become one.
It’s not something you attain like a trophy on the mantel saying to friends, “Look, we have our successful marriage now”. No, it’s an authentic living, breathing relationship with great times where you feel so close and hard times when you can feel desperately distant. But underneath, there’s this solid and vibrant core that keeps drawing you back together like a gravitational pull.
I have observed over the years that there are five dynamic roles that are in play in becoming a lifetime valentine and having a successful marriage. Why not sort out how you are measuring up against this challenging but doable list?
The first role of a lifetime valentine is that you become a Close Friend. This relational intimacy is the thrust of the friendship. It’s like explosive rocket fuel that propels the companionship forward daring to go where no man has gone before! You delight in playing together. You value being and staying friends so you are willing to spend money, time, and effort on growing closer. You feel like you “fit together” like pieces of a puzzle, so comfortable that you actually look forward to being together. Yes, you actually hang out like you did when you were dating. It’s as simple as walking side by side willingly sharing each other’s space. So please, keep dating your spouse. Don’t let the routine of life or the business of schedules squeeze this out. A regular date night keeps you close and connected. It gives you a chance to have some fun together. And don’t ever forget those simple romantic gestures of love along the way like holding hands, an unexpected card, a text of affection or just a compliment. This is what it is to be Close Friends.
The second role of a lifetime valentine is that you become a Trusted Confidante. Emotional intimacy is the bond of your friendship. It takes some getting used to. Risking our inside thoughts and emotions isn’t an automatic for most of us. Some men would rather have bamboo shoots jammed under their fingernails. You begin by just listening well to each other, trying to get who they are. And in time and with some work, the relationship can become this amazing safety zone where you feel valued and respected. You start to feel heard and know you are believed in. It’s the place of deepest trust where we truly connect with each other. We encourage each other’s dreams and cheer on each next step. It is anchored in those times when you talk face to face when you share openly and honestly. It starts with simple, short, but regular little moments of disclosure. Finally, you have no fear to be yourself or to share your opinions and perspective. You begin to know way down inside that you are priority in your spouse’s life, in their schedule and in their heart. This is what it is to be Trusted Confidantes.
The third role of a lifetime valentine is that you become a Passionate Lover. Sexual intimacy becomes the mutual expression of your friendship. Much like riding a bike, you start with some help and encouragement. No one really gets it right at first. Then you move to training wheels. In time and with practice, balance and growing momentum, you develop the unique art of riding well. And like biking, you can have a big grin on your face every intimate stage along the way. Finally, you both have the freedom to give yourself completely and receive your spouse fully. You are drawn back to your spouse because when you are connecting flesh on flesh you create a closeness that bonds you like nothing else can. It’s about experiencing shared pleasure where both are anticipating sex, initiating sex and enjoying sex. Great sex is an entire experience that begins with a joint eagerness and continues with flirting and seducing. You need to make sure your spouse feels wanted. It’s about celebrating your love by putting in some creative effort – like candles, clothes, candies, or music. Hello people. Do something! Effort not only equates with expressing how much you value each other but it also heightens the experience! This is what it is to be Passionate Lovers.
The fourth role of a lifetime valentine is that you become a Soul Mate. Spiritual intimacy is the foundation of your friendship. Why? To braid God into your lives and marriage creates a 3-fold cord that cannot be broken. God makes the non-negotiable difference in any marriage where He is the acknowledged head. Displayed centrally in our home hangs a specially made picture we value so much that reads, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We surrender our lives to Jesus and choose to walk this path together supporting each other’s spiritual journey. Spiritual intimacy is finding shared meaning and a common value system in God’s Word. You individually discover His destiny for your life and then see how you might intertwine your purposes with your spouses to make an impact on this world together. With spiritual intimacy, the heart of it is spending time praying together. It is there that you find in each other a very special place—a place where your hearts and spirits can deeply connect. You find that God draws you together. Keep trying new faith-motivating activities together: read something inspirational, praying with or for each other, or agree to give some of your resources to make a difference. This is what it is to be Soul Mates.
The final role of a lifetime valentine is that you become a Life Partner. Intentional intimacy is the anchor of your friendship. You’re not just committed to your mate, but to the idea of marriage itself. It’s choosing to be loyal and exclusive to one person. You display a trust and faithfulness by being fully open on all your activities and relationships. You have made your choice and have promised to stay committed. And you do. You learn to keep your promise in a world that doesn’t know how. You are married for life, far more than a romantic, sentimental and foolhardy notion. No, for you, it’s a covenant before God and others. You know you are going to be there for each other. It is living and facing every day life arm in arm. This isn’t something you always feel—that would be nice. But it is a decision—a promise you make. You put boundaries around you lives to make each other unique. And when something threatens the marriage you are the first one to stand up and fight for it. This is what it is to be Life Partners.
So there you have it…The 5 Roles of a Lifetime Valentine. How are you doing? Why not read this together with your sweetheart in preparation for a great Valentine’s date and discuss how you are doing in each role. Get delight out of building a lasting love relationship.
I would welcome your comments on how you are doing as Lifelong Valentines. What’s working for you? Share your views or contact me through www.DoingFamilyRight.com.
©Dr. Dave Currie – January 2015
Feature image used with permission: © www.fotolia.com/© Romolo Tavani/image#60165980