Glad you’re here because I’m anxious to introduce you to Miss Esther. She is one of those godly women that you just NEED to know. She’s walked with the Lord for a long time and has a lot to share about being a wise woman in ministry – and in your family life.
When we started talking about intimacy in marriage and things of that nature a while back on the blog, I immediately thought of Miss Esther. She and I first met about 15 years ago when we traveled with a group called Aspiring Women. Together with wonderful women like Twila Paris, Terry Meeuwsen from The 700 Club, Stormie Omartian and others, we ministered to God’s women in tons of different cities. It was a wonderful experience for me, as a young woman, to be around women who’d been around the block longer a bit longer than I had.
Miss Esther always had wonderful words of wisdom to share with me, and when I became engaged and was entering a season of marriage, she didn’t hold back with her advice regarding intimacy and passion. I’ve always loved her candor so I thought you might have fun meeting her. You can always learn more about Esther and her ministry at http://www.estherbministries.com/
Tell us about your husband and how long you’ve been married.
On Aug 28, 2011 we will be married 53 years. Bob is a composer of traditional church music and has served in ministry since college days as a minister of music, college professor, Director of Church Music for the FL Baptist Convention and now, in retirement says, “I am driving Miss Esther.” But his great delight is grandparenting, gourmet cooking and being a Master Gardener graduate from Clemson University Extension.
Melody Burroughs Reid lives in Greenville SC. She is extraordinary mother to her three daughters. Anna Esther is a Pharmacy student at Samford University. Caroline, is a freshman at Samford University; Frances is a junior at Southside Christian. Melody (our first-born) is a student at Gordon Conwell Seminary pursuing Marriage and Family counseling and the MDIV degrees.
David Burroughs lives in Birmingham, AL and is President of PASSPORT Camps. David and Colleen are parents to twins Milligan Charlotte and Walker Lloyd, who are 6th graders.
What are you enjoying the most about your marriage in this season?
Porch time on the deck by the chiminea and/or the screened in porch, with a cool beverage or hot chocolate/tea, downloading our day. Sharing about our kids – and that might lead to praying for them. This time is an example to your children that your relationship comes first, after Christ. This gives them security.
Reading at leisure. We enjoy movies, cooking together, and walking our Little Missy. In former days when we traveled, we were in such a hurry to “get there and get back.” I wanted to stop and look. It didn’t happen. These days he stops at junk and antique places, gas stations whenever I say “Oh look!”. . . .of course our age needs several necessary rest stop breaks….I love it.
What you are enjoying the least?
More time together! He is always home . . .and so am I. In retirement we have so much more time and so much less money. Go ahead and laugh. Really, my great shock in Bob’s retirement was that he was always home. I am still speaking and traveling. Bob drives us to events, and as he says, he can work in a hotel room on his computer (he is still writing music) like he could at home. And besides he is great at the book table…he can sell anything. Yes!
How have you managed to keep passion ignited in your relationship?
All our married life we have had date nights. We love dining out, enjoying a quiet conversation and good food. Or we fix a lovely 3 course candle light meal dinner. . . at home. At our age we look so much better in candle light, enjoying time to look into each other’s heart. . . . a cherished treasure. Yes, we did this even when our children were young. They ate early and we ate later. It worked. And this will say volumes to your children about how you honor and value each other. Intimacy is way more than making love. . . . it can be shared walks, sacred moments, and picnics in the park, shared books, even grief.
Even passion takes work . . . planning surprises for each other, leaving sticky notes on pillows, capturing your man (make arrangements with his secretary) to secretly pick him up and take him to lunch or on a picnic in the park. I could say more.
What is some practical advice you would extend to wives who are struggling in the issue of intimacy and find that it is difficult to keep up with their husband’s need?
The word of God says through Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 7: 3-4 It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them. MSG
That is pretty clear counsel. Let me suggest you talk together about what pleases you, and satisfies you. Honesty is a great gift . . .clears the air and helps you grow in intimacy. Girls. . . sex is a great gift God gave us for pleasure . . . not just procreation. Intimacy is the gift of joy in each other. Let me also suggest that you read books together concerning intimacy.
What about women who are struggling with the opposite? What advice would you give to a wife who might feel rejected because she has a higher drive than her husband?
Since your body belongs to him and his belongs to you…. be gently aggressive, wear something alluring, send him a card telling him you are waiting . . . for him to get home etc. etc. Be honest and say, “I need you.”
If you could narrow down a list, what would be the top three things that you’d encourage wives TO DO to keep a fresh marriage, and three things NOT TO DO to keep from quenching it?
1. Stay in the Word and personal Bible study, together and individually. The Holy Spirit is the best counselor and the only real change real agent.
2. Get help. Every marriage needs counseling at some point on the journey. You will be given tools to work on your marriage that will help. Marriage is work. Work makes it work.
3. Pray together often. Prayer is the most intimate part of marriage; you are invoking the presence of Holy God. This simply means the three of you are working on the marriage.
And not to do these three things will most certainly quench the growth of your marriage.
Finally, many wives are discouraged because they feel that no matter what they do to try to keep their marriage fresh, nothing is changing. What encouragement can you offer?
My dear friend and mentor, the late Marge Caldwell, always told me, “Treat him like you want him to be and he will become that.”
If you are working on yourself within the marriage, you will change, and sometimes that causes the partner to change in reaction to your changing. If this still does not change him, you are still growing in being who God created you to be. That should give you a sense of God’s presence and His delight in you, making you a better and sweeter partner in the marriage. Read 1 Corinthians 13 every day.
Thank you Miss Esther! You’ve given us a lot to think about and put into good practice! We appreciate your wisdom and time.