If you google, “How to reignite the spark in your marriage,” you’ll find multiple websites offering top ten lists and creative ideas to help put red-hot passion back in your relationship. Some of the tips are helpful, and applying them might create positive results. Sparks are fun and exciting after all! But as 40-somethings, and after sixteen years of marriage, my husband and I are no longer dependent on fleeting flickering sparks.
A marriage that lasts requires more than a sexy flame.
Yet the fire analogy is helpful. Think about what draws us to a fire. Dancing flames. Unpredictable patterns and colors. We can’t turn our eyes away from a fire’s beauty and its glory mesmerizes us. But the embers—the non-flashy red hot coals at the base of the fire—these hold the most heat. The glowing bits of heat tucked away beneath the wood aren’t noticeable until the flames die down. Embers are constant, though. They continue to burn well after the flames disappear, and can actually create another fire if left unattended.
If we’re looking for fiery passion in our marriages, it might be more helpful to think about embers, not sparks. And if we’re in Christ, we already have what it takes to keep the fire burning.
We have kindness, goodness, and gentleness. Traits which will say, “Sure, I’ll stop doing that thing that drives you crazy so you know I care about you.” Or, “Yes, I’ll serve you in this way if it’s important to you.”
We have humility, compassion, and grace. Traits which will receive rebuke, admit wrongs, confess sin, repent, receive—and extend—forgiveness.
We have patience, selflessness, and joy. Traits which enable us to say, “I will gladly put your needs before my own, because this is how Christ served and loved me.”
Sparks and flames will flicker and fade, but when you go through the fires of suffering and sorrow, you realize the spark you thought was necessary isn’t a spark anymore. It’s a slow-burning, red-hot fire. It tests and proves and causes you to come out more beautiful than you were before.
Sparks shoot out every now and then, and you’re grateful when they do. But you’re more interested in the steady and hot fires of commitment, sacrifice, and love.