When was the last time you told the story of your first kiss? I bet you had a smile on your face. Kisses do that. They make us smile and swoon. They put butterflies in our stomach. They make our hairs stand up a little taller and our blood run a little faster. Simply put, kisses have a special kind of power.
A kiss can turn a toad into a prince. It can wake a princess from eternal slumber. A kiss is art. It’s poetry. It’s candy. It’s life. It’s death. A kiss is the only appropriate response to finally lifting the Stanley Cup or finally returning to earth after a terrifying flight. A kiss seals the deal. That’s why we end weddings with a kiss, as of to say, “Okay, now it’s official.”
Where does the power of a kiss come from, I wonder? Maybe hormones. Kissing releases oxytocin, which is the same hormone that is secreted when breastfeeding. Oxytocin is responsible for the comfort and connection that forms between mother and child and may explain the way kissing bonds us to another. Kissing also releases dopamine, which triggers the same part of your brain that is stimulated by cocaine. Those butterflies in your stomach, they come from epinephrine and norepinephrine, which increase your heartbeat and send oxygenated blood to your brain. Some studies have even shown that kissing can cause a reduction in the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, so kissing could help lower your blood pressure and prevent heart attacks.
So, kissing is great because of science. But that can’t be it, right? I actually think it would be really sad if science explained the magic of the kiss. Thankfully, there doesn’t seem to be an accepted system for how to define, collect, classify, and interpret the data of kissing. Sheryl Kirshenbaum explores this in her book The Science of Kissing and ultimately suggests that, for the most part, scientists aren’t exactly sure why we kiss. I’m glad they haven’t figured it out. Perhaps the power comes, at least in part, from the mystery.
Surely you remember your first kiss. Do you remember your last kiss? Do you remember it with the same kind of nostalgia? Unlikely. For all the magic and art and poetry that’s wrapped up in a kiss, I fear that in most long term relationships, the kiss has become mundane. I know I take for granted the kisses I give and receive at the end of each day. And it’s been way too long since I’ve simply made out with my wife. I need to change that. Do you?
Too many couples come into my office lamenting that the passion is gone from the relationship. That the fire has died. It’s a common story: Life gets hectic. Work is stressful. The kitchen is a mess. Kids. I get it. But I don’t think we have to become victims of that story. And it definitely doesn’t mean that we have to stop kissing. It’s time that we reclaimed the kiss from the domain of parking teenagers and put it back into its rightful place as the official symbol of marriage.
Start simple. John Gottman suggests that couples share a six-second kiss each day. He likes to say, “A six-second kiss is a kiss with potential.” But you don’t necessarily have to attach it to sex. In fact, don’t. Let the kiss speak for itself. I mean, if it leads to sex, great, but don’t make that the goal. Just try connecting with your partner with a 6 second kiss.
Do you accept the 5 day Challenge?
(Article by Peter Edgar)
Do It Yourself, here’s how!
We live in an era where anything you need can be bought, but every single item comes with a price tag.
This has led to homemade gifts and products becoming increasingly special; not only because it requires a bit of craft and skill, but because making something yourself will cost you precious time – something that we all need a bit more of.
In this article, we want to give you a few romantic DIY ideas to spoil your partner with. Our readers have requested this type of info so there are obviously a few people who are willing to get their hands dirty and produce something special on a tight budget!
Create a love bottle
Tie a ribbon around a glass bottle. Take a sticker and write ‘love bottle’ on the sticker and stick it to the bottle. Take coloured cardboard or pretty paper, cut it into 10cm x 10cm pieces, and write little love letters or a nice note on each paper.
Wrap each paper with tissue paper and put the notes and candy in the bottle. When your partner needs a bit of a pick-me-up or a thoughtful note, he can take a paper and a candy out of the bottle.
Cut strawberries down the middle and place the pieces on a baking tray. Pour melted chocolate over the strawberries to make delicious strawberry hearts.
How about creating your own scratch card that gives your husband the chance to win one of three bedroom spoils? Take an A5 cardboard and write “Your bedroom lottery” on it. On a separate card, write out the instructions: “It’s your lucky day! Here you have three chances to win a bit of pleasure. Each week, you can scratch open a square and a prize will be revealed!”
On the A5 cardboard, draw three hearts (about 5cm x 5cm) next to each other. Write three ‘favours’ – one in each heart. For example: “An hour long sensual massage”, “A striptease in the bedroom”, and “A blindfolded experience”. Paint over each heart with the following concoction: Two parts acrylic paint (mix equal amounts of black, white and silver paint) and one part dishwashing liquid. Now your hubby has his own personalised lotto scratch card!
Make your camping spot romantic
Are you happy campers? If you’re going camping for the weekend (especially if you’re going away to celebrate an anniversary or a special occasion), then try to make your camping spot as romantic as possible.
How about a homemade chandelier? Take a hula-hoop and cover it with old pieces of cloth (such as linen). Now take strips of ribbon of approximately 1m long and tie them at various sections of the hula-hoop so that they can all be bundled together at one point. Take a strip of fairy lights and twist it around the hula-hoop and voila! Now you’ve got your own chandelier to hang outside your tent or caravan to create a romantic atmosphere.
The coin date
Take a coin out of your purse. Ask your husband to choose a number between 10 and 20 (this is the number of times that you’re going to flip the coin). Get in the car and drive to the main road of your suburb or town. “Heads” means that you’re turning left and “tails” means you’re turning right. Keep flipping the coin to determine the route that you will be travelling. If your husband chose the number ‘17’, then your journey ends after 17 turns.
This is where you will stop the car for your date. You might have to tap into your creative sides to come up with a workable plan for your date. If there’s only a petrol garage in the street, then you can buy Twinkies and coffee for a coffee date. If there’s a pawn shop, spend a bit of time hunting for bargains, if there’s a park, sit on the swings and play together. Keep a bottle of champagne and two glasses handy in case your journey comes to an end in a quiet suburb – then you can sip champagne together!
Additional sources: youtube.com, pinterest.com
By – Annelize Steyn
Remember the 2008 Jim Carrey movie called “Yes Man”? In this movie, Jim Carrey’s character was caught in a web of negativity until he went to a self-help seminar that taught him the power of saying yes to everything.
This 180-degree shift opened him up to a wealth of positivity, great experiences and even a new romantic interest.
What would happen if you applied this type of enthusiasm and positivity to your marriage? If you became extra conscious about how often you say no to your partner? To spring clean your marriage, we’re inviting you to eliminate the word ‘no’ and witness the transformation that takes place between you and your spouse.
When writer of the blog Unveiled Wife, Jennifer Smith, asked God what she should give up for Lent in 2014, she was expecting to have to forego her favourite food or an electronic device. The message she received from God, however, was to give up the word ‘no’, which led her to realise how often she said no to per husband.
Jennifer quickly realised that when her husband asked her for a favour, extended a sexual invitation, or shared an opinion, her go-to answer would be ‘no’. When she committed to giving up the word ‘no’ for Lent, she blogged about how tough it was to break the instinctive habit of saying no all the time.
Jennifer asked God to help her on her journey of becoming a Yes Woman and she started to see results almost immediately. One of the things that Jennifer and her husband struggled with was sexual intimacy. Around halfway into Lent, Jennifer started to notice that not only were they having sex more regularly, but the sex was better, too!
Within a short amount of time, Jennifer’s husband reported that he felt more respected, that their relationship felt less strained, and that his wife was generally a nicer person, making it easier for him to be vulnerable with her.
While it’s easy to assume that becoming a Yes Woman simply resulted in Jennifer making more sacrifices, Jennifer says that it was an immensely rewarding experience for her as well. She wrote on her blog that it was beautiful to see what an impact she had on her husband and how her intention to do better positively impacted their marriage. This made her more loving, caring, happy, and it felt that she was serving her husband in Christ.
Can it work?
Yes, if you really want it to! And if you initiate the change. If you become a Yes Woman and your husband remains a No Man, then it can easily start to feel as if you’re being used. Obviously you don’t want him to abuse the situation and the goal is for him to turn into a Yes Man as well.
One of Jennifer’s blog readers, Amy Hatley, commented that she once heard a pastor’s wife saying that in the 20 years she had been married, she had never refused sex. From listening to the pastor’s wife, it was clear that this woman wasn’t a doormat, but that she was trusting that he wasn’t taking advantage of her to get his needs met. It also led her to trust that her husband seeks the Lord in all his decisions.
How do you do it?
- Start by accepting the challenge of committing to saying yes for ten days. Invite your husband to do the challenge with you.
- Decide to make your marriage your top priority for the next ten days. If, for example, you have to choose between a social event and spending time with your partner, choose your partner.
- Write the word ‘yes’ on your ring finger to serve as a constant reminder.
- Remember that requests and expectations should be reciprocated. Don’t abuse the situation and don’t make selfish requests.
- Say yes without hesitation if your partner asks you to cook a special meal or to take out the trash. Say yes to sexual advances and to any requests that requires your time.
- Say yes to the challenge of putting your own needs and agenda on the backburner. It may seem hard at times – especially if you like being in control – but trust your partner’s intentions and judgement.
- Say yes to spontaneity. Activities that get planned on a whim can add a bit of spark to your marriage.
- Say yes to your partner’s preferences. By now you know that you and your partner don’t always agree on everything and you can appreciate the value of compromise, but it can still be hard to give in sometimes. Make it a priority to give in.
- In her book 52 ways to wow your husband: put a smile on his face, author Pam Farrel encourages women to find areas where they can let their husbands take the lead. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have an opinion, but that you can let go of taking charge and even challenging opinions in certain facets of your lives.
- Saying yes to everything may start to feel a bit forced after a while. Switch it up with comments like ‘good idea’, ‘that sounds good’ or ‘let’s do it!’, even if you suspect that what’s being suggested probably isn’t a good idea. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.
Take in the power of positivity, the value of elimination (of the word ‘no’) and investigate the impact this has on your marriage. We predict that the mutual benefit you receive will keep the 10-day yes challenge going long after the period is up.
Additional sources: www.imom.com, www.blessedarethefeet.com.
The internet is full of guidelines and tips on how to have a successful marriage, but some of this advice isn’t practical (and can even be considered questionable) from a Christian point of view. Here are a few principles that Christian couples can safely implement to lay the foundations of their marriage:
- Read the Bible together. Most parents will tell you that finding time for daily Bible study with the kids can be a big ask. If you have young children at home, then you probably already try to make time to read the Bible with them each evening. Set aside time for you and your husband to do Bible study together once a week. Take one Bible to church so that the two of you can read together. By reading together and discussing what you read afterwards, you will be able to stay connected with each other and God.
- Eat together at the table. Trying to get everyone at home at dinnertime can be a challenge in itself, but whenever possible, unplug the television and get everyone eating around the dinner table together. This will help you stay in touch with each other’s day-to-day lives and broach deeper, family-related topics.
- Keep your marriage problems to yourself. Don’t discuss any marriage related problems with anyone besides your therapist. Many women think it’s okay to gossip to their hairdressers about their husbands, or vent a bit to their girlfriends during a lunch, but remember that these people also have husbands and friends (and juicy stories travel). You will probably forgive your husband for whatever transgression you were discussing, but your girlfriends will remember and that type of negativity can linger.
- Pray with your partner. Some partners find this easier than others. If your partner isn’t comfortable praying out loud in front of you, offer to do the praying. Not only does this bring you and your marriage closer to God, but it also increases the intimacy that you and your partner will experience.
- Choose your friends wisely. Stay close to friends who have the same outlook on marriage and faith as the two of you. Friends who have different opinions about marriage and faith can have a negative impact on your relationship and your relationship with God.
- Take divorce off the table. Divorce isn’t an option. While there are certain instances where divorce is the only option (God never intended for you to be ruined by a partner), remember that you made a promise to your partner in front of God to stay together. If you are experiencing financial hardships, infidelity, or any type of crisis, the two of you – together with God – have the power to overcome the challenge.
- Have daily contact. In today’s fast paced life, it’s very easy to become disconnected from your partner. Make a point of booking weekends away, spending time together during the week, and creating enough communication touch-points throughout the day. Also make time for sex, even if it looks like something that never really fits into your weekly schedules. Don’t let any gap between you and your partner continue to grow.
- Never go to bed mad. Sometimes you’re still raging by the time bedtime rolls around and you reckon it would be wiser to have a glass of wine and go to bed early. Some relationship experts say that it’s often wiser to sleep on an issue that’s causing conflict, as you will feel fresher and perhaps be able to look at the situation from a different perspective the next morning. If at all possible though, try to avoid going to bed mad or announce a ‘timeout’ in love (Ephesians 4:26).
- Mentor a younger couple. You may think that you and your partner aren’t experts in marriage and that you continue to make mistakes as a couple, so how on earth could you mentor a younger couple? The truth is that you are exactly the type of couple that should be guiding other, younger Christian couples. No marriage is perfect and helping other couples in a discrete, safe and trusting environment can greatly enhance and benefit your own marriage, too.
- Discuss the division of tasks in your relationship. While some couples effortlessly fall into comfortable routines regarding household tasks, many others experience some sort of challenge about the division of tasks within their relationships. Discuss what each of your expectations are and how you can find a mutually satisfying middle ground.
These are only a few of the principles that Christian couples can use to lay the foundations of their marriage, but there are so many more. Focus on these 10 principles and you’ve got the hard work taken care of.