When we first began to court our spouse, we looked on them with consistent eyes of love. If there were flaws, we overlooked many of them. We made time for each other, and found excitement in being together. We were starry-eyed and hopelessly devoted.
After the vows have been said, the real test begins. Our families expand with children that require much care from us. Demanding jobs and long hours exhaust us physically and emotionally. We work hard to obtain financial security for our families. How can we hope to keep romance alive, when there is barely time to pray together as a husband and wife?
In today's society, it's easy to understand how marriages can fall apart so quickly. Many marriages feel like two roommates or business partners living together, trying to keep their investment afloat. Intimacy between a married pair has quickly become an afterthought.
However, when we grow comfortable with dead romance in our marriage, it begins to become the new normal.
Before we know it, our spouse is no longer our standard of beauty anymore. We've shifted our focus to pornography or started to take notice of the opposite sex again.
How can we shift our focus back to our spouse, the one person that God has created to be our standard?
First of all, we need to take our concerns to the Cross. God wants to help with the intimate details of your marriage, but we need to be honest with Him about our feelings, both good and bad.
It is important to remember that we don't ask God to change our spouse, but to change our own heart. This can seem like an odd concept for some, but we do this so we can gain a bigger perspective than our own, a kingdom perspective.
For me, this was a real struggle in the beginning. After my husband's infidelity, the last thing I felt like doing was asking God to change me. I had been faithful during our marriage, why was I the one that needed changing?
Initially, it was a bitter pill to swallow, but it became easier. When my husband and I were at odds, I asked God to help me to become a more compassionate and understanding wife. To be a cheerleader and asset for my husband. To love him according to God's will.
And eventually, our relationship did improve. God gave me a bigger perspective that allowed me to love my husband better. Everything I've gained is far better than everything I lost.
By praying for God to change me, my husband was also able to love me better.
The first changes that need to happen should begin with our own humility and surrendering ourselves to God's plan. God can show us where we need to grow and develop according to His will.
Secondly, your spouse needs to become your standard of beauty.
Many people claim to have a "type" or preference when it comes to the opposite sex. This concept needs to be reworked. Your spouse is now your type. They are the gold standard.
If they are overweight, skinny, tall, or short - however they are right now, this is your ideal mate.
Loving your spouse means finding beauty with them exactly as they are, no conditions.
For example, my husband is a decade older than me and has always been self-conscious about our age difference. One of his biggest fears was that I'd grow disinterested with him and regret that I'd married an older man.
Obviously, he couldn't have been more wrong. He's highly intelligent, well-read, and so lovable. I love being the younger wife to my older husband! We balance each other out well with our age difference. He reminds me to be wise, and I remind him to be playful.
Media, advertising and pornography has attempted to reprogram our brains into believing a new definition of beauty.
Satan is ferociously persistent in devising schemes meant to separate us from God and our spouses. He will whisper lies to us about how the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
He will do everything he can to play upon our weaknesses and insecurities. He will put situations in our path designed to exploit where we're not in right standing with God.
We need to rely on Jesus and the truth of God's word to resist the enemy's temptations that seek to steal our happiness and damage our marriage.