Adventure, Focus and Time
About the Guest
One of the reasons we get bored in our marriage is that it becomes too routine. Break out of your rut - try new things, go new places, and you'll find the passion returning once again, according to Dennis and Barbara Rainey.
Dennis and Barbara RaineyDennis and Barbara Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru®. Their 43+ years of leadership enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry in more than 109 countries. Together they have spoken at over 150 Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways and authored or co-authored more than 35 books, including best-selling Moments Together for Couples, Staying Close, A Symphony in the Dark, and Barbara’s most recent, Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife...more
One of the reasons we get bored in our marriage is that it becomes too routine.
Adventure, Focus and Time
Bob: You’ve heard it said that home is where the heart is. Barbara Rainey says home is not where the romance is—at least, not for her.
Barbara: For me, as a wife, one of the best ways for us to have adventure and creativity in our relationship is for me to get out of our house. I know that for some couples that may be difficult because of finances; but I need—or at least, it helps me—to get out of our house to focus on our marriage relationship and focus on romance—because when I’m at home, I’m constantly surrounded by things that I need to do and things that are undone—because my house is my office. It helps me to work on our relationship when I can leave the home.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 8th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’re going to talk today about why focus, time, and a little adventure are all important for romance. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.
Dennis: How is the romantic makeover going at your house, Bob? We've been having a romantic makeover, all week, on FamilyLife Today.
Barbara: You're assuming he is applying what we're talking about.
Dennis: I am assuming that.
Bob: Can we play the theme music as we start here?
Bob: Here is the theme music, and I'm picking today. We're going back to something a little peppier here. Go for it! [Jazz music] There you go! Now, that will get your—
Bob: Oh, stop it! Stop it! We're talking about how you can add—well, how you can turn a—you said it, already, this week—a vanilla marriage into one that's got some cayenne pepper in it; right?
Bob: Oooweee, Baby!
Dennis: Sugar and spice—we're talking about rekindling the romance in your marriage.
Bob: And with Valentine's Day just ahead, that's kind of a good reminder—on the calendar—that we need to make romance a priority—at least, once a year; right?
Dennis: That's what Barbara says to me.
Bob: Barbara is joining us in this—
Dennis: Isn't that right, Sweetheart? [Laughter]
Barbara: That is right—once a year is certainly not enough.
Dennis: That's right. She really does not care if I do all that much on Valentine's Day. It's the other 364.
Bob: You can take Valentine's Day off?
Dennis: Well, the reality is—for her, Valentine's Day—you're expected to do something romantic. But when I bring home flowers any other time—you're not expected to, at that point. And so we're—
Barbara: That’s true. That says more.
Dennis: It does say more.
Bob: Can I tell you what I did one Valentine's Day? This was back when Mary Ann and I were dating—back when I used to apply creativity and things we've already talked about this week. I bought a box of the cards that you used to pass out in second grade—you know, one to every classmate. I wrote a note on each one of them. I mailed them all to her so they all came in the mailbox on the same day. She was actually living with two girls, who were her roommates at the time. It made them very jealous that she had such a wonderful boyfriend who would do things like that.
Barbara: I’ll bet they were.
Dennis: Well, already this week, we've talked about some ingredients for a romantic makeover.
Bob: We've talked about the need for the foundation to be secure—for a man to feel respected and affirmed—for a wife to feel secure and accepted. Then, we talked about the use of imagination and creativity as a way to dress up the romantic relationship. What are some other things we can do that will cause the romance in our marriage to flourish?
Dennis: Well, we hinted at this earlier; but life can become routine. To beat the routine, we need an adventure. I think this is equally important for husbands and wives; but it's the idea of breaking out of the ruts—and the “same old...”, “same old...”—that can so plague a marriage—and begin to add a little risk, and excitement, and some newness to your relationship.
Bob: Now, what are you talking about—an adventure? I mean, that sounds like mountain climbing or—is that the idea that you've got in mind here?
Dennis: I think it can be a lot of things, Bob. It can be as simple as just a little surprise—something that is different than how you have normally romanced one another. It's going to involve giving of yourself to your spouse around those things which would communicate romance, love, focus, attention, and time.
Barbara: One of the reasons I think adventure is important in a relationship is just because of what you said—and that is that we can get bored. But when we think about what we did when we were first dating, or engaged, or even in the newly-married stage, we tried things that were different because we didn't really know what the other person liked. So, we were willing to try different things.
And I think it's important to try to do things, together, that are different—go to a concert, if that's not something that you ever do—instead of the typical: Go to a movie; go out to dinner—which is so predictable. So, I think that what's important about adventure is trying something new that takes you outside of your comfort zone. That's going to spark romance between you, as a couple.
Bob: Our friend, Tim Muehlhoff, tells a story of being newly-married. His wife suggested that they have an adventure on their honeymoon. In fact, I think we've got this story—where we could share it with our listeners. Here's Tim Muehlhoff from one of our Weekend to Remember®conferences.
Tim: I thought I knew a lot about my wife, Noreen. She was a business major at the University of Connecticut. I was a theater major at Eastern Michigan University. She was pre-law; I was pre-unemployment. [Laughter]
But there are things we don't know about our spouses until we get married. We were on our honeymoon in Fort Collins, Colorado. Noreen is leafing through the newspaper. She sees an ad for skydiving. She says to me, "Honey, let's take some of our wedding money and go skydiving!" Now, men, what am I supposed to say to my new bride at that point? "No, Honey, that frightens me.” [Laughter]
So, I go skydiving! I'm going skydiving for all the wrong reasons. I'm up in this airplane; right? —with a woman called the "Jump Master"—which I think is totally overdoing it, "Yes, Jump Master." You know, I'm in this airplane. The Jump Master takes the door off the airplane. I look down—3,500 feet—and I start to panic. I start to pull my chute in the airplane. The Jump Master is saying, "No, no, no, not now, Tim." I'm saying, "No, now! Jump master, now!" [Laughter]
Noreen jumps out first. She's totally detail-oriented. She's looking at her altimeter. She pulls both flaps. She, literally, walks her parachute—a perfect landing. Me, Mr. Theater Major—I'm floating through the air, writing Haiku poetry—you know—"Wind! Mist!”—and my brain says, “Ground! How about ground?” I look—I'm late. I pull both flaps—I, literally, smack the ground—snap my glasses, cut my nose, I have to go to the Emergency Room. I'm in the Emergency Room. The doctor says, "How did this happen?" I say, "Fell." [Laughter]
Bob: So is that the kind of adventure you're talking about—things where you put life and limb at risk?
Barbara: That wouldn't be my idea.
Bob: You don't want to do any skydiving?
Barbara: No, thank you.
Bob: Mary Ann and I were on vacation with the family, at a lake, a few years back. We were out on the lake, and we saw a guy doing parasailing. I thought, "That would be fun!" Now, I don't like heights, particularly; but, for some reason, that just seemed like a fun thing to do. So, we spent a morning and went parasailing. There's something about those adventures that do build memories, and they're just special times in your relationship.
Barbara: Yes, I really agree.
Dennis: And one of the things Barbara mentions in our book, Rekindling the Romance, is that sometimes these adventures will mean that we have to get out of our house to go somewhere else. She likens it to a man living in his office.
Barbara: And what I mean by that is that, for me, as a wife, one of the best ways for us to have adventure and, as we talked about earlier—creativity in our relationship—is for me to get out of our house. I know that for some couples that may be difficult because of finances, but you can trade kids. There are all kinds of creative ways to find different places to go and different things that you can do, outside of your house.
But I need—or, at least, it helps me—to get out of our house to focus on our marriage relationship and to focus on romance—because when I’m at home, I’m constantly surrounded by things that I need to do and things that are undone—because my house is my office. It helps me to work on our relationship when I can leave the home.
Bob: You need a change of scenery.
Barbara: I need a change of scenery.
Bob: And, again, it doesn't have to be a cruise in the Caribbean.
Barbara: One of our favorite places that we have been is a state park. Oftentimes, state parks will have lodging that is a lot less expensive than what you would find, perhaps, in a big city at a fancy hotel. We've gone to this state park several times, where they have little cabins. Then, we can go on hikes, and nature trails, and all that kind of stuff. But the idea is that there are options, that don't necessarily require lots of money, that can take you away and put you in a different location—that increases that level of adventure in your relationship.
Dennis: I can hear someone saying, "I'm not an impulsive person." Now, to be a true adventurer, you don't have to be impulsive. You can plan on your adventure. You can start planning today for something you do a month from now. The issue is to think about what would be a fun experience for you two to go do together to create some shared memories. But then, think about it in terms of—not just a whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River or hang gliding off the rim of the Grand Canyon—but think about it in terms of an adventure, around romance.
Bob: Well, think about the Song of Solomon. Think about the call of Solomon to his beloved when he says, "Arise and come away. The winter has passed, the spring is here. The time of the turtledove is heard in the land. Let's explore the springtime." “Let's go off to a state park.” “Let's go somewhere where we can just get out of the house. We've been cooped up all winter. Let's just get out in the open and enjoy a day together.” That's adventuresome; isn't it?
Barbara: Yes, it really is. I think it's healthy for couples to break out of the routine and the boredom of just normal, everyday life and think of something different. Like Dennis said—plan ahead—but think of something different—that you haven't ever done, or something that you haven't done in a long time, and plan for it, and make it a priority in your relationship.
Dennis: And, you know, it's not just for the spouse who is the most romantic. This needs to be a mutually-shared responsibility in the marriage relationship.
There is another ingredient—besides adventure, and intrigue, and time, and focus concerning romance—that I know Barbara has some thoughts about—that I want her to comment on because she writes about it in the book. That's the subject of beauty. Sweetheart, explain to our listeners what you mean when you talk about beauty bringing about a rekindling of romance in a marriage relationship.
Barbara: Well, I'm talking, in the book, about two different kinds of beauty. I'm talking about internal beauty, as well as external beauty. I think that women, in particular, need to make sure that they stay attractive to their husbands. That means taking care of the exterior, and not letting it slide, and making sure that you are attractive to him—in what he finds attractive.
But it also means keeping your heart healthy. I'm not talking about your physical heart—but your spiritual heart—and growing, spiritually, in relationship with the Lord—and having a heart of peace, and a heart of love, and a heart of compassion—the qualities that God puts into a heart. I think it's important in keeping the romance alive in your relationship—that wives focus on keeping themselves attractive and beautiful to their husbands.
Dennis: I don’t think men are excluded from this, either.
Barbara: No, they are not.
Dennis: I know it took me a good amount of time to finally execute on a request that Barbara made for me to lose a few pounds. I think it’s not just women who need to be exercising their beauty for their husbands; but also, husbands need to be watching their weight and not allowing themselves to become physically undesirable because they’ve become sloppy, in terms of their eating habits and their weight.
Bob: Now, as some of our listeners hear you talk about this, they say, “I’m a long way off from that. Does that mean our romance is going to suffer?”
Barbara: I don’t think it means that your romance is going to suffer because, really, I’m talking about two different kinds of beauty. It’s the inward beauty and the exterior beauty—because we all know that, with age, the exterior is going to fade anyway. God talks about the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. So, I think it’s cultivating an internal beauty that complements the exterior. All of us are going to fade in the exterior; but we still need to take care of ourselves, and we still need to be appropriately attractive.
Bob: A woman, or a man, for that matter, who focuses exclusively on external physical beauty is missing a big part of the picture. Somebody who says—for whatever reason—“I’m a long way away from being physically beautiful again,” —you can be radiantly beautiful by cultivating the right kind of spirit.
Barbara: That’s really true. It’s the kind of thing that’s going to sustain a marriage, over the long haul.
Bob: Dennis, all we've talked about this week—when it comes to romance and the need for a romantic makeover—we're talking about some time. We're talking about—I'm just looking at my schedule, and—
Dennis: —focus. Do you know where you're going to get some of it?
Dennis: I'm about to give you a piece of advice that—for those couples who feel romantically-starved in their marriages—this one piece of advice, right now, that I'm about to give you—I think could potentially give you a couple of hours each week, or as many as four to six hours each week, to be able to cultivate your relationship and rekindle the romance.
Bob: Alright; I'm ready.
Dennis: Are you ready?
Dennis: Turn the TV off three or four nights a week. Just declare the television to be off-limits. Declare those days as a TV-free zone so that you two can cultivate romance in your relationship.
Bob: Now, you’re taking a step back here because I know in the book you say there should be no TV in the bedroom. We don’t have a TV in our bedroom, and you don’t have one in yours; right?
Bob: You haven’t brought one in since the kids—
Dennis: No, no. I would never have a TV in my bedroom.
Bob: And do your children have TVs in their bedrooms—your married children? Do you know?
Barbara: No, I don’t think any of them do.
Dennis: I wouldn’t have a TV in the kitchen, where you eat your meals.
Dennis: Nor would I have one in my bedroom. The reason is—those are both places where relationships occur.
Bob: But now, you’re saying, “Even the one that’s in the den, or in the living room, or wherever it is—leave it off three or four nights a week.”
Dennis: That’s right. I’d also go so far as to say, “Turn off the email.” It will be there tomorrow morning—waiting on you. Just turn it off, and give the relationship a chance to breathe again. You know, without generous amounts of time for that relationship to occur and for romance to occur, how are you going to have creativity, imagination, adventure, or have a chance to appreciate beauty in your spouse? All of those things need time. If you’re going to have that, you have to agree together on where you’re going to find some time for that to occur.
Bob: Now, if you stopped and thought about it, Barbara, if you could add up how much time you think you devote, each week, to your romantic relationship—I mean, all the aspects of it—could you put a number to that? Are you spending a few hours a week? Are you spending more than that; less than that? What do you think?
Barbara: That’s a hard question because it’s not the kind of thing that you—
Bob: —that you keep tabs on.
Barbara: —that you keep tabs on—yes—that’s very measurable because I think about my husband during the day—and I think about what he’s going to need when he comes home, and, “What do I need to do?” and I try to anticipate. So, there are a lot of thoughts that are running through my mind, from time to time, throughout the day. I don’t know how you measure the quantity of those. But I guess, I would have to say what you said, at the beginning. Didn’t you say a couple of hours?
Bob: A couple of hours per week?
Barbara: Maybe. I don’t know—maybe, less than that. I don’t know how long thoughts take.
Bob: Do you think you’re spending about the same—a couple of hours a week?
Dennis: No, 20 hours a week.
Bob: Are you—really?
Dennis: Michael Jordan has to practice. I’m practicing! No, I don’t know how many hours! [Laughter]
Bob: She’s trying to figure out where the 20 hours are going because she hasn’t seen them.
Dennis: That’s right. No, I would have to say a couple of hours a week, probably. Frankly, that’s not enough, especially given the fact that you have weekends.
Bob: So, if you’re looking for a little extra time—you can say, “Goodbye,” to all your friends, who you watch every week, on the sitcom or on the drama show. Just tune them out. Put down the channel changer, and you can invest in one another.
Dennis: If you have any needs in this area, I would challenge you to completely eliminate—
Bob: Are you saying get rid of the TV?
Dennis: No. You could do that, yes, but I’m talking about the sitcoms and drama shows. Eliminate them. They’re not real life. Get on with real life, and don't swap the television for the internet or the newspaper. Swap those for a real relationship with a real person.
Bob: And you can start off by getting a copy of the book, Rekindling the Romance, and—
Dennis: Yes, read that together.
Bob: —Simply Romantic Nights collection.
Dennis: There's a good place to start—right there.
Bob: That will give you some things to do, in the evening, when you're not watching TV.
Dennis: I tell you what—I would challenge every woman listening to get a copy of our book and read Barbara's chapters—Chapter 4 and Chapter 5—on why intimacy is so important to your husband and the power of a woman. Then, I'd challenge every man to also read, in his half of the book, about how to become an irresistible man and 30 ways to love your lover. I think most men—when it comes to romance—most of us really need some practical help in terms of how to spell romance in the language of our wives.
Bob: Well, I'll tell you what—we got a letter, recently, from a listener, who said:
I just finished reading Rekindling the Romance. I have to tell you, this has changed my life and my marriage. I've been married 28 years—most recently, unhappily married. My husband and I have four children, ages 12 to 22.
The early years of marriage were full of family activities but not a whole lot of “us” time. As the years have gone by, there has been less and less time between my husband and me. It got to the point where I didn't care about intimacy. What I now realize is my emotional and relational needs were not being met by my husband. I was beginning to resent that, and I was withholding intimacy to punish him.
After reading Angela's Novella—the short story that starts off your section of the book, Barbara—I was given such an insight into what my husband is struggling with every day. He is in a position as the president of a company and that alone attracts some women. The first thing I did was to turn to God to allow me to love him physically—to desire to be intimate with him.
I now see how I have pushed him away and made him susceptible to desiring sexual satisfaction outside of our marriage. I can honestly say I desire him more today than the day we were married. I know that's God's intervention in our hearts, our minds, and our marriage. Thanks for all the wisdom and words that went into writing your book.
We have copies of the book, Rekindling the Romance, in our FamilyLifeToday Resource Center. Go, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about the book and about the Simply Romantic® Nightscollection that our team has put together—romantic dates for husbands and wives to share with one another, during the coming year. There are other resources available, as well. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY: 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”. When you get in touch with us, ask about the resources we have available to help rekindle the romance in your marriage.
And I should also mention that our FamilyLife Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway spring season kicks off this weekend. Dennis is going to be at the Gaylord National Hotel in Washington, DC, with hundreds of couples from around the area. There are other conferences taking place, in other parts of the country, this weekend, as well.
Next weekend, I’ll be in Hershey, PA, for the Weekend to Remember in Hershey—a couple of days after Valentine’s Day—in the chocolate capital of America. How great is that; right? If you’d like to find out more about any of the upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways, taking place this spring, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information; or call, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Not long ago, I was speaking at a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. I had a chance to speak on the subject of marital intimacy. I talked about some of the things that interfere with intimacy in a marriage relationship. We have the audio CD of that presentation available; and this month, we’re making it available to those of you who can help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
We are listener-supported. Your donations make this ministry possible. So, if you can help us with a donation this month, we want to send you a copy of this audio CD on marital intimacy. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the button that says, “I CARE”, to make an online donation. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make your donation over the phone. Ask for the CD when you get in touch with us. Once again, thanks for your support of the ministry. We do appreciate it.
And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us on Monday when we’re going to hear a message from Dr. Russell Moore about how we preserve purity in our marriage relationship. We generally think of purity as a topic that you need to speak about to singles; but married couples need to be focused on purity, as well. We’ll hear Dr. Moore address that on Monday. Hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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