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Congratulations to Cindy Bultema who won the copy of Lysa TerKeurst's new book from the weekend giveaway!
How many of us watched the doppler radar maps in the last week? I heard every state in the US had snow last week, except for Hawaii. That's amazing! Watching a cold front approach gives us warning we need, so we can run out to buy .... milk and bread of course! Rent a movie, bring in wood, get a full tank of gas, and plan to snuggle up and warm up to fight off the cold. No one wants to just fail to act and turn into an icicle!
There's no doubt icy conditions can be as dangerous or more dangerous, though, than snow. It's often develops gradually, almost silently, and its appearance can even be deceptively beautiful. It begins so small, but it ends so treacherously.
Icy conditions in marriage are the same. A "cold front" may move into a relationship with clouds forming from disappointment, hurt, confusion, or insecurity. When it's sudden, it can be like what the Weather Channel called "February Fury," but most of the time it's rather gradual. At some point one spouse decides to "ice over" instead of warming up. Have you ever been there? It's not always a conscious decision. If you find yourself guarding your "space" in bed at night, maintaining and invisible boundary while in worship together, resisting eye contact, answering with the fewest words, or only talking about things you could talk about with your cable guy, the doppler map would classify you as under icy conditions. In 20 years of marriage, I know what it feels like to be the spirit of winter herself or to feel like I need to grab my long johns. Sometimes a cold front builds over time as we ignore issues between us and accumulate a season of pain.
So if you know you're there, how do you take a step to change the climate? Icy conditions usually indicate a bigger issue: you're going to have to communicate to get to the nitty gritty. Don't think it's worth it? How do you feel about you on a beach with a blue sky and warm sand between your toes? I LOVE that image! I'm there! Now hold that thought ;) Here's how to start:
- communicate ... someone has to go first
- get out that extra blanket of kindness, understanding, patience, and forgiveness
- touch each other ... again, someone has to go first. MOVE OVER on the pew, reach a hand to your loved one, just take one step into their space, or act like your bed is a double ;)
- think about love languages and then express love so your loved one gets the message (gifts? words? touch? time?)
Many of us admit we are anxious for the warm sunshine and fresh wind of spring; that's what prolonged icy conditions leave us longing for. If we're experiencing a frosty climate in our love relationships, it's time to melt the cold, bringing back the safety and peace that comes when one goes first to help restore the warmth.
Two excellent resources to encourage you in pursuing a peaceful marriage this week:
- Melanie Chitwood of Proverbs 31 is hosting a conference call for Thursday 3/18 and 3/25 focusing on "Building a Marriage that will Last a Lifetime". Find info about how to participate here.
- Tracie Miles (also of P31) is hosting 2 weeks of a marriage challenge about Loving, Respecting, Admiring our mate. Check out the description here. And notice the picture on Tracie's blog header.
Now if conditions in your marriage are icy, go ahead ... make eye contact (and hold it there), hold hands, move over in bed, smile at each other, and wrap your partner in the same grace that covers you. Enjoy watching the clouds part as the Son's warmth moves in! The beach is waiting ....