I want to have a love affair, but its not what you think.

Photo: Anaghim
Photo: Anaghim

When someone says “love affair”, I’m sure that you have a few strange and pondering thoughts.

Your first thought might be “Why is he calling it a love affair? Isn’t it just an affair?”

Or maybe, “I thought that this guy was married.”

Or quite possibly, “Why would someone write and publicly declare their intention to cheat, lie, and otherwise destroy their marriage?”

Well, let me explain.

I am not having nor wanting to have an affair.

I am married, and quite happily married, with no intentions or inclinations of leaving my beautiful wife.

I am not writing and publicly declaring any intentions to break my marital vows.

Rather, I am doing something completely the opposite.

I am declaring that I want something more, something that will expand and invigorate my marriage, my relationship with my daughter, and my relationship with God.

Let me explain where this idea started for me.

This is an excerpt from Daughters in Danger by Elayne Bennett.

The whole book, which I will review soon, is built around the notion that parents, pastors and leaders need to help this generation of girls to thrive in today’s culture. To do that it requires that we step up, there are things that we need to do so that our girls do not fall into the cultural traps that lead to their destruction.

One of those things that we can do is have a healthy relationship, a healthy marriage.

Bennett explains that there are not a lot of good role models in the modern world, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. History has some strong role models for us, some that lived in the White House even.

Among the role models she shared, this paragraph hit my spirit with great power.

“Another great presidential romance was that of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Though Reagan’s second, the marriage was Nancy’s first and only. Their relationship so defined their lives that when Reagan died in 2004, the BBC headlined one of its lead accounts “End of a love story.” The late Charlton Heston once described the Reagans’ relationship as “the greatest love affair in the history of the American presidency.” And a former NBC White House correspondent told the BBC of the Reagans’ periodic good-bye kisses, “We would turn aside because we felt that there was something very special, private and wonderful going on between them.””

I love that one line, “the greatest love affair in the history of the American presidency.”

It wasn’t an affair, the breaking of marriage vows, the cheating on a spouse with someone else.

This love affair was between a husband and wife.

The fact that they were the First Family did not play a factor. I’m sure if they did not live in the White House, their love would have been just as potent and evident to those that lived next door.

A love affair, what a way to describe how Ronald and Nancy felt about each other. So radiant and alive with emotion towards one another that people around them knew and understood exactly what was going on. How powerful the Reagan connection that the media decided that they did not need to capture that moment because it was too sacred.

When was the last time you ever heard of the media treating a relationship of celebrities that way?

What kind of relationship was this?

How do I have one?

Bennett started that paragraph with the word, another.

There was a first example of presidential love that was larger and seemingly more real than the rest. That was the relationship of President Harry Truman and his wife, Bess.

Photo: liz west
Photo: liz west

During World War I, Harry wrote to his wife from France. A quite outdated idea for us in the technological wonder years.

“Over the next forty-plus years, [after Harry had returned from France and married Bess] Truman would write more than thirteen hundred letters to the woman…described as the “idolized love of his life.””

That being his wife Bess.

What is this love that propels this man to woo and win the heart of the woman that is already his?

Most of us that have won the girl’s heart tend to stop fighting for her, or do anything to keep her, or let her know how we really feel, especially once the vows are exchanged and rings placed on fingers.

A biography writer, David McCullough, described Truman’s affection for his wife this way.

“His devotion to Bess appears to have been total.”

And that was not the limit of his devotion.

“Truman was likewise devoted to his daughter, mother, and obviously, to his country, a natural extension.”

How did these men love in such a powerful way?

What was behind it all that their entire world was wrapped up in the outpouring of love that they had for their wives?

Because I want that.

I want that for the most selfish reason, I want a life filled with a vibrant and overwhelming love.

I want that for the best reason, because my breathtaking and beautiful bride deserves to be loved in such a way that it is oozing all over the pages of her life story.

I want that for another great reason, because I want my daughter to see an example of real and tangible love, the kind of love that transcends situations or circumstances, and is rooted deep within our hearts.

I want that for a spiritual reason, because I want my heart and soul to be so overcome with love, so that I can expose people to the reality that God is Love, and His love looks like this.

 

The problem I am faced with is how.

How do I love that way?

How do I go about fostering a love affair with my wife?

How do I create such an emotional draw to this amazing woman that I would write some thirteen hundred letters, or show her such powerful, yet delicate love that the media would give us that sacred moment?

How do I demonstrate how much I care about the mother of my child so that my daughter can see and understand that love is not a synonym for sex, but is something much more real and powerful?

How do I do this?

While I have no concrete answers, no laid out plan to achieve this goal, I do believe that there are ways of moving towards a love affair with your husband or wife.

One of the best first steps towards a love affair with your spouse would be thinking about it.

Simply foster the idea of a better love life.

Not a better sex life, though that is a part of it, but a better love life.

Think about the ways that you could express your love. Imagine all the things that you could do that would show how much you care.

Make up plans within your mind of how you can show your spouse a good time, something to thrill their heart, excite their soul, invigorate their spirit.

Even as I am writing this, notions and plans, ideas and possibilities are flooding my mind, causing me to smile at the thought of showing my lovely wife.

I can feel that great love affair coming to life, even within my mind.

Maybe one of the best things that can be done to grow this kind of love in a marriage is to start thinking about it.

But I wouldn’t limit ourselves to just that.

If we want to have a real love affair, if you and I desire to have a real and tangible love in our marriages we have to do more than just think about what we can do to show love.

We need to think about why we love.

Why did Harry Truman love Bess so much?

What was it that Ronald Reagan saw in this Nancy lady that caused him to pour out such love and devotion over this one woman rather than any other in America?

What is it about your spouse, your husband or wife, that you love?

It could be the way they do their hair.

It could be the way that their laugh is infectious.

It could be the way they make you feel safe and secure, regardless of the chaos all around you.

For me, I love my wife because she was, is and and continues to be the greatest friend that I have ever had.

I can go to her with any problem, any secret, any shame and know that she will listen without judgment, but with open arms of grace.

I can share with her any and every thought that I have and she will not refuse me or reject me, but will be attentive and consider what I have to say.

That is just scratching the surface.

But even that, that drudging up of old feelings, real reasons for why I love my wife, stirs in me the desire to love her more, to trust her more, to share with her more, to open myself up to her even more.

Maybe, if we are to have a love affair with our spouses, maybe we need to go back to the memories. maybe we should frequent the old love letters, the old pictures, the original reasons that we were drawn to one another to fuel our love as we grew old.

It is not the sign of a couple that is running out of steam that does this. Rather it is the couple that is wise that returns to the familiar drinking hole to rejuvenate, to add kindling to the fire that is already burning.

I would be a fool if all I did was think about wanting to grow my relationship with my wife into a love affair.

I would be a fool if all I did was reminisce, think back on the old days.

Thinking is great, but it must push us to action. It must compel us to action.

Thinking about giving my wife a bouquet of flowers is not expressing love towards her. I have to actually go out of my way, spend money on her rather than myself, and give them to her for her to enjoy if I am actually going to show her my love.

I need to go and make those dinner reservations. I need to go and buy her that diamond pendent or whatever piece of jewelry she really wants.

Actions have to be taken to express what we are feeling.

After there have been thoughts about why we love our spouse, after we have thought about what we can do to foster this great love affair, we have to go and do.

It may be different from one couple to the next, maybe not jewelry, maybe not a fancy dinner.

But there has to be an acting out, a physical reaction to our emotional state, especially if we really want to have such a vibrant and real love relationship.

There is no rule or set pattern on what or when or how to express or show this love, but the rule is it has to happen.

Love must be shown.

 

I am not having nor wanting to have an affair.

I am married, and quite happily married, with no intentions or inclinations of leaving my beautiful wife.

I am not writing and publicly declaring any intentions to break my marital vows.

Rather, I am doing something completely the opposite.

I am declaring that I want something more, something that will expand and invigorate my marriage, my relationship with my daughter, and my relationship with God.

Thinking about what I can do to show love to my wife helps me do that.

Thinking about why I love my wife helps me do that.

Showing her that love helps me do that.

 

I invite you, in the midst of your relationship, in the middle of your marriage to consider this.

Start a love affair with your spouse.

Foster a relationship that is so strong, that is so potent that the world will see your love for one another.

The question I ask is how?

 

How would you foster a love affair with your spouse?

What will you do to keep things going strong?

Let me know in the comment section below.

 

Shalom.

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