Back to Basics–Love Extinguisher #3 Physical Neglect

After our little 2 week long hiatus, today we continue the second collection in our “Back to School–Back to Basics” series.  The rest of this week we’ll be going over the remaining Love Extinguishers.  To understand what a Love Extinguisher is, you could read the Basic Concepts article to get a more indepth explanation.  Briefly, to help you envision the idea, think of your marriage like a campfire. There are actions that can quench the fire of love, and those actions are Love Extinguishers.  BUT there are also actions that stoke the fire of love and make it hotter–those are Love Kindlers.  When you make the decision to love, you choose to act in a way that is likely to kindle feelings of interest and passion; so you decide to act in a Love Kindling way.  When you get married and do not make diligent efforts to keep stoking the fire, life, bills, and children intervene and you begin to gradually take your spouse for granted and act in a Love Extinguishing way.

Today, we look at the third behavior that can put out the fire of love:  Physical Neglect!   This extinguisher involves disregarding your spouse’s physical needs by becoming the sort of spouse who:

  • Outlaws Tender Touches (Hugs, Kisses, Touches)–when infants are left in a sterile orphanage and given plenty of food, but not touched, they died. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7982860  When they were just touched and hugged by surrogate grandparents, not only did the babies thrive, but the older surrogate grandparents did as well!  http://www.benbenjamin.net/pdfs/Issue2.pdf
  • Withholds Sexual Fulfillment–when a person marries, their only moral outlet for their sexuality is with their spouse.  When a spouse purposely withholds sexual fulfillment as a way to manipulate or punish their spouse, it’s not only an action that extinguishes love, it’s cruelty.  God created us as sexual beings (Song of Solomon, Prov. 5:18-20) and He specifically told us that in a marriage our body is not our own, but our spouse’s to share ( I Cor. 7:4).  If you are withholding sex as a way to teach your spouse a lesson, you are KILLING your marriage.
  • Abandons Physical Attractiveness–The two most common complains we hear are “She only wants me for my wallet” and “He only wants me for my body.”  Well guess what folks, both are partly true and there is nothing wrong with either one.  Men are created to be VISUAL beings, and that means that part of what he likes about his lady is that he finds her physically attractive.  Now this does not mean it’s kosher to want to leave your marriage if she puts on a few pounds after the kids, but rather that a part of the mix of what drew him in like a magnet was the way you look!  So you used to fix your hair, throw on a complimentary outfit, and maybe put on some lipstick before he came over?  And now, with 2 toddlers you don’t do your hair, haven’t worn makeup in ages, and LIVE in sweats?  Guess what?  You’re extinguishing your spouse’s love for you and they probably don’t know how to tell you without causing a big fight!  It’s okay for a man to want a wife whom he looks at and thinks “YOWZA!!”  and likewise the same goes for women.  Fellas–did you used to wear a little cologne and dress up to take her out on the town….and have a muscle or two from working out to impress her?  And now do you sit on the couch with a beer gut, in a tattered work shirt and no shower for a few days and wonder why she isn’t “turned on”?  You are putting out the fire!  Tend to your spouse’s physical need for attractiveness!  And that doesn’t mean being physically perfect or going on a crash diet, but rather, work with what you’ve got.  Fix your hair–wear clothes that fit you well and compliment what God gave ya–take a shower or bath and smell “purdy”–do what you can to LOOK GOOD.
  • Refuses to Care For Your Spouse’s Body–This one actually hit home with me just this week.  As a young couple you rarely think that one day one of you is going to need to be “cared for” but during your lifetime at least one of you will have some sort of medical issue.  That means that the other one is going to have to take care of their spouse’s body.  Maybe it’ll mean that you aren’t diabetic, but you have to go on a sugar-free diet for your spouse who IS diabetic.  Or maybe it will mean you have to deal with symptoms of a chronic illness that will never be cured.  Or maybe, like with me, it will mean that you HATE to exercise, but your spouse needs it, so you have to do what you hate.  The point is that if you refuse to care for your spouse’s body–if you don’t champion their physical dignity and privacy in places like the hospital or care facility–if you don’t cooperate with medications, diets or orders from the doctor that your spouse NEEDS–you will be throwing buckets of water onto that blaze of love and extinguishing the fire.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll go ahead and continue our “Back to Basics” by going over all our Basic Concepts.   The first week of September, we examined the Love Kindlers.  Then we had two weeks off while Dear Hubby was in the hospital….but this week we’ll continue the Love Extinguishers.  The first week of October we’ll look at the Seven Steps to End an Affair, and for the second week of October God willing, we’ll review the Seven Steps to Rebuilding After an Affair.  We hope you’ll join us on this journey to get “Back to the Basics”!!

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