2.1 The Skill

Filling Your Love Bank

One of the differences between dating couples and people who have been married for a while is the amount of time they devote to enjoying each other. This is certainly not our intention going into marriage, but rather is the fallout of being part of a culture that expects you to go to work, feed your children and vacuum the floor. Yet we can change that. What is more, it is my experience that the change is not as difficult or time consuming as we allow ourselves to believe.

This week start by telling stories as a group about times you enjoyed together... go back in history, or as recently as this morning when you paused to hug before life grabbed you by the arm and threw you out the door. After a warm glow has descended on the people in the room, give them paper and pencil and set them to work. Make four lists... things that are mutually enjoyable to do together that take one minute, that take 5 minutes, that take an hour and that take half a day or more. If people have a blankness about them give them some ideas to start from.

Tell a joke

Long, lingering kiss

Sit on his lap

Play a favorite song or sing it

Dance in the living room

Watch a funny You Tube

Look at your photos

Hold hands

Look at the sky

Look at your sleeping children

Appreciate each other

Make love

Smile deeply



Light a candle and sit together

Sneak some chocolate

Walk outside

Look at your garden

Find something growing

Neck massage


Read the Word

Read a funny book

Lay on the hammock

Leave a romantic message on each other's phone

Write a loving email to each other

Go out for ice cream

Make brownies together

Shower together

Play slap jack

Have a staring contest

Play charades

Draw a picture with one pencil and two hands

Then challenge them to make a plan for when in the week they are going to do these things. Offer a prize for anyone who accomplishes 21 things in a week. As the marriage group progresses, take breaks for them to quickly do one of the sixty second things on their list. The more you do this, the more they will develop a habit. The Book Conjugial Love begins with the word, "Delight" and frankly, happiness is the carrot that drew most of us into this covenant to begin with. It is merely the relentless roar of more urgent things that stifles that original and essential goal.

Being in a room where married couples are enjoying each other, laughing and smiling is good for you. Too often we are in the presence of sit coms where marriage is devalued, or at parties where the men talk over here and the women gather over there. The simple magic that happens when we are in the sphere of marriage delight fills a void that many of us are hungry for. Show in no uncertain terms that enjoying your spouse is nourishing and easily available. 



2.2 Quote

For if a person's truth is to be truth it must receive life from good, that is, through good from the Lord; and when it does receive life in that manner, that truth can be said in a spiritual sense to be multiplied. The fact that good is the only source which enables truth to be multiplied may be seen from the consideration that nothing can be multiplied except from something marriage-like. Truth cannot enter into marriage with anything else than good. 

Secrets of Heaven 5345


2.3 The Story

Cable Knits
Where are your sweaters? You probably know. Some people store them in the attic, or in plastic bags in the basement. Others hide them in cedar chests or in boxes under the bed with the dust bunnies.
I have never noticed anyone who, in a flurry of spring cleaning, chucks all the winter garb. Experience tells us that no matter how sweltering August may feel, frosty mornings are in our not too distant future. 
So we take the challenge head on and buy sweaters... maybe even a handmade Irish cable knit, or an apricot cashmere for special occasions. We need to have a strategy for retaining body heat in January so we may as well make it pretty. 
Marital heat has a way of escaping too, when the wintry blasts scour through the rafters. I have  neighbors that know how to get ready. On the anniversary of the death of their daughter they prepare a special day.... canoeing in a river, volunteering at Ronald McDonald house, building a play structure for their grandchildren. Instead of letting the painful memories chill them to the bone, they bundle up, plan ahead and fill the emptiness with good things. 
My family of origin had a secret weapon too. One of the struggles we trudged through was an income that hovered a little above the poverty line. I have almost no memories of buying new clothes, and certainly none of vacations involving anything more expensive than gas to Aunt Muriel's house in Maine, but whenever he could find a candle to light and a dessert to serve, my father would say, "We're havin' a party!"
It worked, by the way. When he said those four words, with a smile I can still render up, I was suddenly transported to a celebration in our own dimmed livingroom with nothing more than people and Boston cream pie.
John has his own version of the warmies. When we are doing something that we actually agreed we enjoy doing, but I am too caught up to notice, he says, "Does this count?" It can be as ordinary as chopping vegetables together, or singing in the evening by the piano. It may be as spare as looking up at the clouds on a brisk fall afternoon, or the sweetness of two girls curled up reading on the couch.
It may not be angora, but it keeps us warm. 



2.4 Activity with Your Children

Hide heart shaped stickers in hidden places around your house. Each person can have a different color to hide. Then when people find them, behind the door, inside the cupboard, under a plate, inside a shoe, it will be a reminder to them that someone loves them and is thinking about them.


2.5 Prayer

Oh Lord,

The seasons of your love for us are ever new and ever the same. It takes different forms, like the changing of the seasons, but it is as constant as the sun. Thank you for that enduring presence, that keeps us alive whether or not we choose to face you in praise, or turn away from you in our hearts and actions. You have always known that we will turn away from you, but you will never reject us. We are blessed by your love.



2.6 Ideas

Watch funny You tubes together. You can start with this one