We know marriage is under attack, but even Christians who are committed to marriage may have only "functional marriages" and no longer relate to their spouse as lovers.
My friend Dr. Doug Weiss wrote a great book called Lover-Spouse, which I read years ago. I'm rereading it as Valentine's Day approaches. It's so good I asked Dr. Weiss to record a podcast to share his ideas that can help you improve your marriage on godly principles. Here's what he said; plus, you can listen to my podcast and also dive into the book yourself!
Me: Dr. Doug Weiss, in your book Lover-Spouse, you say that the goal of the book is to totally shift the way that you think, feel and behave in your marriage. What do you mean by that?
Dr. Weiss: I was a pastor and I would marry people. And there's something about when you say "I now pronounce you husband and wife" that all the lover stuff, all the creating time, the playfulness, the romance, could evaporate very quickly, because now, they both defined what their role is. I'm a good husband, if I do 1-2-3. I'm a good wife, if I do 1-2-3. It's usually things they're naturally good at. So they're always a good wife and always a good husband. But they move from relationship to functionship, and they lose that spark over time. They lose the loveliness in the past and really for marriage, like, "Wow, I just want to be with my best friend, my lover." And that disappears into "Did the kids get this? Did the cat get that? Did this get paid?" And I really think the paradigm we use for marriage has had an influence on that.
Me: You talk about how Christian marriages were designed to be different, to be passionate and fulfilling, long-lasting until "death do us part." So how does the paradigm shift happen?
Dr. Weiss: Well, you realize that when you walk down the aisle, you're not saying, "I'm going to be your husband." What you're saying is, "I'm going to be your lover. I'm going to be that person for you, your cheerleader. I'm the person you could be sensual with, playful with. I'm going to romance you. I'm not going to forget about you. I'm going to hear you. I'm going to see you." Those are the kind of values that we were making, because that's really what we're signing up to be. We're the only person who can be that person's lover, and when we refuse to be their lover, and we just go to work, and we just clean the house and we go to function, both people ache and get dry oftentimes, which leads to dysfunction, pain and acting out in all kinds of ways, from food to overworking to pornography to all kinds of crazy stuff because the ache for lover isn't being met by the spouse.
Me: On TV, you see ads aimed at men, about their libido being less and they talk about if you buy this supplement or whatever, that they will be better in the gym and better in the bedroom. Now, part of the aging process is slowing down. How does a Christian couple turn that around?
Dr. Weiss: Well, you know, if there was an ad for women, it would be, "Guys, you want to turn on your wife? Share your feelings with her, pray with her, take her on a date. When you say something, actually follow through and do it. And you can raise the arousal of your wife to really want to be with you." Right? You can have the highest testosterone level possible. But if you are not engaging your wife spiritually and emotionally, you're not going to have a partner who wants to connect with you, because you're not doing the complete work of sexuality, which is romance, a spiritual-emotional connection, thoughtfulness and loving them outside the bedroom as a soul, as a person—not just as someone who takes care of things for you.
Me: One of the reasons I wanted to do this podcast around Valentine's Day was to give people a resource that would help them walk through it. And the way the book is laid out, it's very easy to understand. But explain why people should buy this book as well as how to buy it from your ministry.
Dr. Weiss: Sure. Well, the first thing is when you walk down the aisle, you make kind of four promises to forsake all others. And that's not just not committing adultery. Look at your entertainment, look at the way that you either share your heart or not, love, honor and cherish. You can evaluate those and see how you're really doing with your spouse. And you can incorporate the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to be a lover, wants to love your spouse and wants to deal with that. And also there are some roadblocks—whether it's family of origin stuff, sin behaviors—that can block you from being the best lover and how to deal with that. A great thing to do is a devotion for both of you to have the conversations on "How am I as your lover?" If you're the kind of person who would answer, "When I think of the word 'lover,' I don't think about you. I wish I did," then this is the perfect book to solve that problem. Because you want your wife and your husband to go, "When I hear the word 'lover,' I think of you," and that's the way it should be.
Me: This book is important every day of the year. But what's one idea people can do to make Valentine's Day a little bit more special?
Dr. Weiss: I would ask this question of your spouse: "If I was your lover—" and let them finish the rest of that sentence, and let them tell you what their heartbeat is so that you can walk that dream out with them. I've never seen couples, when they answer that question, miss it. It's like they were made for each other once we can expose that dream.
Me: How can people order your book?
Dr. Weiss: They can go to drdougweiss.com. And they can call my office at (719) 278-3708. And there's lots of marriage materials here for people.
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