You don't want to be stranded in a snowstorm with me. I can't build a fire to save my life. But my husband, now HE is the one you want to be stranded with! He uses a little flint to create a spark, but then he feeds it patiently with bits of fragile tinder, giving it the next level of fuel at just the right time, until he uses wood to create a flame and provide toasty warmth and glowing light. I could have a lunchbox full of matches and produce a thousand sparks, but I can't take the spark to a flame. Alone at a campsite, the best I can do is create a lot of smoke and come close to passing out from all of the blowing and fanning I do in hopes that my fire will catch on.
Intimacy is like making a fire, but it takes a LOT MORE than a spark to get it going. You have to thoughtfully add tinder, so you don't smother the growing passion that wants to ignite. Have you been there? In intimacy, it IS possible to ruin a good fire. Camping provides good pointers for building that spark of passion into some burnin' love.
Gather fuel in advance, so you're ready to put it on at the right time ... this means preparing the way with loving actions, but also thinking ahead so you're ready.
- Is your bedroom a wreck?
- Do you have to move a laundry pile to get to it?
- Is the dog growling in defense of his territory?
- Do your kids have a habit of walking in without knocking?
- Do your kids get up repeatedly after being put to bed?
- Do you have something to wear when "fire building," other than a pair of old sweats and a Hanes t-shirt? :)
When we camp Jeff sends the kids out to gather fuel, even if we aren't cold yet and it's not dark yet. His readiness pays off on dark nights and cold mornings!
Don't douse the flame by smothering it. Nothing ruins a fire like a soggy paper plate or a handful of leaves. If a cold wind blows, it can snuff out fragile flamse before it takes hold. When encouraging a spouse nurturing flames of passion, beware not to "throw cold water" on the first sparks, leaving a pitiful plume of smoke where flames could've been. A sarcastic remark, a cold response, a thoughtless laugh, or a preoccupied attitude can be the wind that snuffs out the flame. When nurturing flames, it's no time to say, "Hey, did you remember to send the check to the cable company?" ;)
Plan ahead if you know it's cold and you need heat. :) Jeff often takes along a little dryer lint as a "secret weapon" to start a fire quickly. We take wood with us, and we always gather kindling in readiness. In desperate times we've been known to add a little artificial fuel ... sometimes it takes a little something more flammable. If life's forecast is frigid, think ahead about how to add warmth. And if you see sparks, but you're not "ready" to nurture flames yet, be smart enough to say ... "Could you give me a few minutes to 'gather a little fuel' and I'll be back to add to the flames?" Okay, you don't have to say THAT, ;) but you get the idea. Take 5 minutes to change your train of thought from things like homework, deadlines, dishes, feedings, etc, etc ... so you're ready for some "flaming" instead of "fizzling."
Song of Solomon 8:6-7 says love...
"It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away"
There's something comforting and relaxing about a campfire, especially when you build it together. But it takes some knowledge (of each other), some patience (with each other), and some work (committed to each other) if it's to catch on. If there's a spark between you and your hubby today, would you be ready to nurture that blaze?
What can you do today to get ready to help build that flame?