Keeping romance alive is a challenge when you're juggling never ending duties, exhausting schedules and the emotional demands of both a church family and your own home. Inspiring fresh feelings of romance takes commitment and creativity, but you can do it. Here are several principles that work well for ministry couples.
Call "time out" on church business. Date night or bedtime is not the opportunity to rehash a committee meeting or critique a sermon. Make some days (and nights) off-limits for discussing ministry issues. You make wedding vows as well as ordination vows, so give your relationship the attention it deserves.
Maintain a regular schedule with a weekly lunch or breakfast to discuss family "business" and a date night for fun and relaxation. If regular dates seem impossible, take a hard look at your calendar and make the necessary adjustments.
Ministry families have full schedules, but most have the advantage of being flexible. Maybe you can make time for an afternoon rendezvous when the children are at school or at a sitter's home.
Come up with new ways of showing interest in your mate. Surprise him with your "good taste": After the toothbrush and mouthwash, rinse your mouth with a weak solution of vanilla or almond extract in water. Or try some of the flavored lip-glosses that teenagers love.
Pamper her with a foot rub. Vacuum her car and leave a new music tape on the driver's seat. Start a piggy bank "savings club" and keep filling it with loose change to splurge on something you know she loves but rarely buys herself.
Send love notes, write a message in lipstick on the mirror or give him a quick call at the office to say all you can think about is seeing him tonight. One missionary I know reads his wife a different love poem each day. She feels adored — for the price of a book of poetry.
Some use special lighting effects — tiny Christmas lights strung across the ceiling, a colorful lava lamp, candles. Some couples like to be "wet and wild" and invest in a tub for two when remodeling their bathroom.
It helps to dedicate the bedroom to rest and intimacy alone. Store bedroom clutter in a hall closet and keep your bedroom free from laundry, bills, sermon notes and the like. Make it an attractive place to recover, relax, sleep and make love.
Our bodies are great gifts to each other, so wrap them beautifully! Ladies, find out what kinds of bedtime clothing your husband prefers. (For all that Victoria's Secret has to offer, some men love flannel gowns.)
Instead of dreaming about some mythical Mr. or Mrs. Right, enjoy the real person in your home. Refocus your attention on him or her alone.
Romance will not fade, and the flame of your marriage will not grow dim if you regularly invest small acts of tenderness and consideration. Making room for romance will keep the one you love the true love of your life.
Having a regular date night doesn't mean having to spend a wad of money. With a little creativity, you can enjoy a regular night out with your mate -- even if money is tight.
Both spouses have jobs in more than half of ministry homes. How can they keep their lives in balance? In most ministry couples, it is the minister's spouse who is asked to be flexible. But more often, it is easier for the minister to adjust his schedule.