- Make hot cocoa and look at picture albums.
- Bundle up and take a short walk.
- Go window shopping at a local mall or town.
- Buy a plant.
- Bake cookies together (clean up together, too).
- Read Song of Solomon out loud.
- Have an indoor picnic—and don't forget the marshmallows.
- Spend the night at a motel or inn.
- Play a favorite board game.
- Make love by candlelight.
Excerpted from Lists to Live By for Every Married Couple, ©2001, compiled by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens, John VanDiest. Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers Inc.
Truth and Consequences
"We've been having this same conversation for the past two years," my wife, Jana, said, having listened to my frustrations about my father who had turned down our request for a loan. "Every time you talk about your family, your face gets red and you pound the table. I don't know what to say any more. I think you need to see a counselor."
I felt hurt, even betrayed. But my wife's truth-telling launched me on a journey that invited the presence of Christ into a back corner of my soul. She had exercised an unpleasant kindness; she had served me by telling the truth. And it cost her something. She had to endure my angry response and then my sullenness. But Jana's insistence that I had a problem with my anger was a beautiful expression of her love to me, no matter how difficult it was for me to accept.
There isn't a pain-free way to tell the truth, but the alternative is a marriage built around a series of covert compromises. Truth may initially douse the fires of passion, but over time it creates new possibilities for genuine intimacy—the intimacy that comes with being fully known by another. The gust of God's grace now blowing through our marriage is experienced in a little more transparency, a little more honesty, and, consequently, a little more intimacy.1