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The Fallible Caregiver Series: My Plan to Redeem Intimate Love

In my marriage now, I see 3 options. I see myself standing before 3 roads that fork off into very different futures.

  1. I leave my wife in search of greener pastures.
  2. I stay with my wife but find a mistress on the side.
  3. I stay with my beloved and fight for our marriage.

Thankfully, I’ve been trained well, and certain truths are drilled into me. Options 1 and 2 are not options for me. Option 3 is my only option because I deeply love that dang girl. It’s because I love God and believe He brought us together and He’s working out a plan much bigger than us.

It’s because I took vows and want to be the kind of man who keeps his word even to the detriment of his own happiness. Bottom line, I just really love my sweet wife who gets repeatedly thrashed by f#@king cancer.

Romantic and intimate love

In this article, I want to share my game plan to redeem our romantic and intimate love.

Choosing option 3, however, sets me before another fork in the road. One road is called Lazy Lane, and the other is called Redemption Road.

Taking Lazy Lane means I just continue on with life as it is. It’s such an appealing option because Redemption Road will require much from me (and her). It will call for uncomfortable discussions, intentional effort (i.e., work), financial output, allocated time, and the potential pains of disappointment, frustration, and failure. Redemption Road is so damn risky!

Options 1 (separation/divorce) and 2 (affairs) lead to destruction and are fairly easy to see. But here is what we don’t see. Within option 3, Lazy Lane also ends in destruction too. It leads to the death of love and genuine life. Laziness creates inaction; inaction leads to stagnation, and stagnation sleeps as a life well wasted.

We come now to this last point. If we are people with noble hearts and we care at all about love, then the only option available to us is to honor our vows, get off our asses, and fight for the one we love—or even once loved.

What does redemption road look like?

Redemption Road will look different for each couple, but below is my game plan for my marriage. And over the next couple of months, I will be very intentional in making all these ideas a reality.

  1. My Heart. My own heart needs some work. I’ve allowed harmful thinking (toward my wife) and I’ve built secret rooms in my heart that need to be confessed to God and torn down.
  2. The Little Things. I need to get back to intentionally practicing the little things (e.g., hugs, kisses, eye contact, flowers, compliments, etc.).
  3. Counsel. I will find a local marriage counselor and make an appointment.
  4. God. It’s been over a year since we moved from California to Oregon and we still have not committed to a home church or made new friends, yet we desperately need both. That changes this month.
  5. Date Nights. I suck at date nights because Lazy Lane is so, uh, lazy. It’s so easy for us to just crash on each side of the couch and stagnate in front of the TV. No more. I will schedule at least 2 date nights a month for dinner at a restaurant other than Taco Bell (which I love).
  6. Less TV. We’ve gotten comfortable with too much TV. I will designate at least one night a week as no TV night. We never watched TV in bed that first year of marriage. We talked and did, um, other stuff. We connected with our hearts each night and didn’t stay up so late.
  7. Get Aways. If money allows it, I want to book a hotel room one night a month so we can break free of the daily grind and connect again outside the house.
  8. Marriage DVDs. I thought about reading a marriage book together, but the reality is we’d start but not finish it. But I can get us a DVD series and we can commit to watching it together. I love authors, John and Staci Eldridge, so I will buy their series, Love & War: Finding the Marriage You’ve Dreamed Of.
  9. Body-to-Body Time. Frankly, we need to practice being naked together again. I’m thinking the no TV night should also be a no clothing night.
  10. Toy Store. Okay, ya, I’m still very much a guy! A new adult toy store opened up nearby, and I think it’s time for us to check it out and drop some cash.

It takes time and practice

So that’s my plan. It will require at least 2 elements to succeed. First, it needs to be enacted in baby steps. Trying to do all this in a short time will likely lead to overwhelm and then abandon. Second, we need to practice lots of grace for each other and for ourselves as we struggle through Redemption Road.

I will print this plan out and post it somewhere we will see it every day. I will schedule things on our calendar, so we know where we’re going. For this to work, we both need to commit to the goal of out serving each other.
I’ll repeat the last piece of advice I’ve mentioned before: The grass is not greener on the other side; the grass is greener where you choose to water it.

What other ideas would you add to this list? Share in the comments.

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