So back in October I chased a bear.
Now when I say I chased a bear I mean that in the most literal sense. I loudly and passionately chased a bear in the mountains of Tennessee. Let me tell you how I got to this moment.
Alex and I have been married for almost 7 years. Very early in our marriage Alex found out that I wanted to see a bear in it’s natural habitat. Since he found that out he has made it his mission that I would see one. He has taken me to Gatlinburg, TN on multiple occasions with no bear sightings. When we went to Colorado last year He googled and found the campsite that had the highest bear sightings and we camped there for two days- no bears. When we went up north to Maine, we kept our eyes open for a possible bear- nothing. So when I say that Alex has driven me all over this beautiful country for years to see a bear- it’s the honest truth.
So this October we decided to go to Gatlinburg with some friends on a vacation. I was hoping that maybe this trip we would be successful and I would see one. I had often wondered what that moment would look like when I actually saw this creature. Well here is what happened.
We were driving back to our cabin and the sun was very bright. Alex and Andy were in the front seat and Penny and I were in the back. We were all talking when Alex turned the corner and the sun blinded him. I looked up and crossing the street was a black bear. My brain processed what it was but I could not get the word “bear” out of my mouth so I start screaming like a crazy person. Andy saw it and yelled bear! Keep in mind- Alex is still blinded and Penny has no idea why everyone is screaming. Andy starts yelling at him to go, I am frantically trying to open my car door (yes, the car is moving) but I could not get it to open. We pull up to where it had crossed and Andy lets me out of the car. We both go running down the street along the tree line after this bear! I am still making random squealing noise because words still haven’t come yet. Andy sees it in the woods points it out to me and I dropped to my knees with arms extended as I violently scream, “COME BACK BEAR!” At this point the bear takes off never to be seen again!
In my mind my first encounter was going to be a peaceful quiet moment. However when it came it was wild and loud and beautifully chaotic.
The next morning when I was spending time with Jesus He asked me this question.
What if you chased after me like you chased that bear?
Can we just take a moment to let that question sink in? I have been all over the country in search of this one thing. I have been passionately looking and waiting for the moment I would see this bear. WHAT IF I search for Jesus in this passionate way? What would my relationship be like if I put in that much passion in my pursuit of Him?
Then He branched off the question concerning Alex. What would your marriage look like if you pursued Alex with that much passion?
Now I want to take this time to let you know that Jesus was not scolding me. I did not feel guilty in that moment. I felt encouraged to turn that passionate pursuit that is inside of me outward and upward- outward to my husband and upward toward Jesus. I do not want to be passive about them and passionate about a bear.
So today we are going to talk about how to passionately pursue our spouses. What does passionate pursuit even look like and how do we go about doing it?
Before we dive into this topic, I want to encourage you that without that upward relationship in place your outward relationship will always be lacking. You have to spend time with Jesus to be able to pursue others the way we are created to do. We have to turn that passion upward for outward to work effectively.
So let’s take a moment to talk about the difference between being passionate and being passive in your marriage.
A little disclaimer here- I am not talking about sexual passion (we will get to that later). Right now I am talking about how you can pursue your spouse in a passionate way.
According to dictionary.com
Passion– a strong and barely controllable emotion
Passive– accepting what happens without active response or resistance.
So if we are going to be passionate we should have strong emotions about our marriage and our spouse and take action steps to convey those emotions to the one we love. We should not just sit back and let life happen with no action on our part.
I ask several couples what passion in their marriage looks like.
One lady said-For me passion and honor go hand in hand. I feel more passionate towards my husband when he honors me in a loving way. It is usually in the small things like- opening a car door, always let me speaks first and really listening to what I have to say, acknowledging my presence when we are in a crowd or when I walk into the room, or watching a show I want to watch. A big one for me is I know he does not speak negatively about me to other people. He treats me like God’s daughter and because of that I feel passionate towards him. Because of that I want to be just as passionate toward him because it is a two way street.
Her husband resonated her same thought with-You always put her first-always. It could be as simple as just doing something so she doesn’t have too. Regardless of how you are feeling you should always have a servant’s heart toward her.
One couple told me that they feel passion in their marriage when they minister together. They feel united when they get to speak life into people that have lost their hope. Knowing that they are doing what they were created to do together ignites passion for them.
One lady told me that she loves the date nights that she and her husband share alone. She loves to have his undivided attention and spending that time together is passionate for her.
Her husband’s response was very unique to me. He said that he does not feel like he is very passionate so he is very intentional about speaking her love language. He knows that when he does acts of service for her she feels love so to make up for what he sees as a weakness he speaks her language fluently.
To me passion in marriage is when you do things simply because you know your spouse would like it- whether it is cooking his favorite meal, going to a two day metal music festival with him, when he takes you all over the country in search of one animal, or decorates for the holidays even though decorating is not his favorite thing to do.
I ask Alex what passion look liked to him. He said that passion in marriage is when you turn a detour into an adventure. In those moments when life just does not go your way, you always look for a way to turn them around for the best.
Being passionate in your marriage does not have to be hard or expensive. Your spouse needs to know that they are your number one priority. They need to be pursued everyday. You cannot become passive when it comes to your spouse. A happy marriage is not found it is formed- everyday. As I have read and reread what these couples told me I see a formula forming on how to have a passionate marriage.
PUT YOUR SPOUSE BEFORE YOURSELF.
It is really easy after marriage to get passive. A lot of people try so hard when they are dating only to stop the pursuit after there is a ring on the other person’s hand. That is when you are just getting started. Do not look at marriage as the final destination but as the beginning to something awesome. When something is maintained its grows and thrives the same is true with relationship.
So how do you start this passionate pursuit? How do we put our spouses first?
- Start with baby steps
- Learn your spouses love language and speak it fluently
- Find a way everyday to honor and respect them (there are so many resources available to help with this one)
- Speak only words that build them up not tear them down
- Say things like “I love you” and “I need you”
- Never speak negatively about them to others
- Treat them as if they are a gift from the Father (spoiler alert- THEY ARE)
- Find a common interest and or a ministry that you both like and dive into it together
- Be consistent
- You are in this for the long haul. This is not something that you can ever stop doing.
- It does not have to be hard or expensive. The little things add up just like the big things.
- Don’t give up
- There will be times that your spouse will not response to your pursuit the way that you want them too- chase them anyway.
- Nothing worth having is gained easily or without a few set-backs. You got this!
- Don’t wait on them to earn it, do it because it is the right thing to do.
Think back to how you won your spouse over to begin with- maybe it’s time to pull out those old habits and make them a way of life.
I want to end this with an encouragement. You may be having some seriously hard problems in your marriage that seem like they can never be changed. You may be reading this thinking all this pursuit and honor will not help with this big problem. Test this! It’s funny how when you get serious and consistent in putting your spouse first other things start falling into place as well. It seems unbelievable but it is true. If you do this and do not give up other areas will start to heal. Just give it time!
You should pursue your spouse by all means necessary even if it means driving them all over the country to see a bear. If you consistently and passionately pursue your spouse your marriage will be wild, loud, and beautifully chaotic!
We believe in you and we are praying for you!