A Word About the ‘Spark’ In Marriage

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.

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash


  • Annette

    What about a couple who have been married 40 years and there is no sex and no affection and no closeness other than they live in the same house? The wife goes to church and she is active in serving in an area. She is in a supprt group called Grace Alliance. She is active as a BSF Children’s Leader. She has a rich prayer life, and loves Bible reading and study. The husband works. He has stated he is done with church. He will never join another church. He hates to read. He will not read anything unless made to. He will not attend counseling of any type. He does not always do what his primary doctor advises. He cannot communicate about any deeper level of conversation below work and the weather and politics; and on occasion he will talk about the children and grandchildren.
    At this time in life, I know more women who are in marriages that are not good and a few women who are in what they express as good. Most of my neighbors, friends, BSF, and church women are not in reallly happy or healthy marriages. Some examples: serious health problems, addictions, neglect, and different forms of abuse.
    My point in the above paragraph is to address all the women (and there are men too) who took vows and plan to keep the vows, but they are in very sad marriages. Don’t forget them. I’ve known women who sit quietly in churches never talking about what their lives are like at home because of shame and embarrasement. They feel isolated. Some situations in marriages don’t change. I’ve known women who stay married many years, the situation never changing, but they lived out their vow and commitment.
    Please encourage, comfort, support, and help those whose situation may never change.

    • Lauren Washer

      You’re right. Some situations in marriages don’t change, and I am so sorry for this. I can only speak from my own experience, which is what I was seeking to address in this post. This is not the place for me to offer counseling or advice, but I can tell you this: God sees women in situations like these, he loves them, and he desires to comfort them with the gift of his presence. I’m reminded of the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. Perhaps this story of God’s ministry to a neglected and rejected woman can offer hope and support to any woman who might be feeling as you’ve described.