Marriage is a lot like a fire.  If you leave it alone, eventually it will go out. If you stir and stoke it, the fire stays hot and bright. What are some tips I've learned through the years about how to stoke the fires of your marriage?  How can you rekindle romance?

My wife and I've been married almost 36 years.  We're not experts but we've learned a few things along the way.  Here are some tips we pass on to you about rekindling romantic love:

1. Regularly repeat your vows.  Do so in your own heart, maybe even with your spouse.  One couple I know does it annually.  Regularly, say in your own heart and, when possible, to one another, "I love you.  And I do promise and covenant, to be your loyal and faithful spouse.  In plenty and in want, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live."  Remind yourself that the door to your marriage is locked from the outside.  It renews commitment.  It increases real, authentic, eternal, romantic love.

2. Have weekly date times.  Let nothing interfere with them.  Write them into your calendar like you'd write any other appointment.  This way, you know you're never farther away than one week from being able to talk about anything.  You courted your spouse before marriage to win his/her heart.  Keep doing it!  Remember what wooed your beloved to begin with.  Keep doing it!  And during this time, talk, talk and talk some more.  Make sure you're communicating about all that's most important to you.

3. Pray together.  Worship together.  Read God's Word together.  Develop a spiritual heart together.  It cements love.  It connects the heart and soul.  There have been studies that show that when prayer takes place between a couple, it causes sex to be more intimate and meaningful!  That makes sense.  If sex is the way to express unity and commitment, prayer is what causes unity and commitment to occur.

4. Make sure you say "I love you" at least once a day.  One couple I know won't begin the day without saying it.   They also make sure it's the last words spoken before they fall asleep.  By the way, they have a great marriage, filled with romantic love!  Proverbs 18:21 says that life and death are in the tongue.  Truer words could not be written!  Therefore, tell each other you love him/her, over and over again.

5. Make a concerted attempt to speak kind words throughout the day to your spouse.  Begin when you wake up.  Continue throughout the day.  Write a text.  Send an e-mail.  Make a phone call.  Just speak words of life, blessing, hope and kindness.  Believe me, it warms the other's heart more than you can ever imagine.

6. Practice non-sexual touching.  Too many of us men, give our wives a back rub, a foot massage or an arm tickle thinking in the back of our minds, "Maybe this will pay off for me later on!"  Avoid this temptation.  Touch, rub, massage just for the sake of caring for your beloved.  If something happens later, be surprised!  That was not your intent.  You touch just for the sake of expressing love.

7. Remember this truth: great sex in the evening begins early in the morning!  It begins with your first word, touch and/or act of kindness.  Romantic love is the culmination of positive, previous encounters you've had with your beloved all throughout the day.

8. Finally, if you can say this with conviction, say to your beloved: "If I had to do it all over again, I'd choose you.  I'd want to marry you again."  Say it with a pure heart and be ready to throw back the sheets!  Nothing warms the heart more.

I hope this helps.  Sex is a good gift from God.  When rightly used within the proper parameters of a marriage, it's the ultimate way humanly possible of expressing the kind of covenant God made with us in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.  Oneness, unity, closeness, intimacy all occurred because of the Father's love expressed on Calvary.  Sex in a committed marriage between two spouses is the closest identification we have with this reality on earth.

To God alone and always belongs all the glory!

If you like to read the insights from the daily Bible reading in Mark, please click here.