I was excited to read The Mediterranean Love Plan: 7 Secrets to Life-Long Passion in Marriage, by Steve and Misty Arterburn – and honestly a bit skeptical too. I know marriage can’t be boiled down to just 7 secrets. It also doesn’t depend on grand adventures and mystery. A lot of marriage is routine, day after day after day.
Over the years, my husband and I have become students of long marriages, and have gleaned much from grandparents who’ve been married 65 years, and parents for 40+. We know long marriages are fought for and cared for and require two people committed to working on the relationship for a lifetime. Long marriages, especially passionate ones, don’t just “happen.”
Is there a way to maintain the mundane routine and do so with passion? After reading the Mediterranean Love Plan I realized, yes! There is! Some of what I found in the book, we have incorporated into our lives over the past couple decades. I also found many creative and practical ideas to implement to grow more passionate about life and each other. Each secret is taken from a different country in the Mediterranean, focusing on what that culture excels at in love and marriage.
Here’s a quick rundown of the 7 secrets, and I urge you to check out the book. It’s one that would be fun to read as a couple, or as a small group and discuss as you read. Each chapter includes 13 practical ideas to try.
You don’t need a big budget to incorporate these ideas. You just need a heart to grow in your passion for your spouse, and maybe a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Visit the author’s website here to view a sample chapter!
*Also, this book prompted so many thoughts and stories (I’ve got one about coffee and a smoothie…and walking with bugs). You’re invited to join me at 7 p.m. EST this Wednesday on my Facebook page for a Live video chat about the 7 secrets. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
7 Secrets to Life-Long Passion in Marriage:
Attunment is first being in tune with and connected to God, to his love and covering for us and trusting him in our daily life. I loved what Misty said:
“When I am secure in that relationship [with God], when I am steady and grounded in his love and care for me, I am less apt to react from fear or perceived threat in any situation, and certainly when it comes to my husband.”
Being in tune with each other’s needs involves noticing, acknowledging and engaging. The Arterburns recommend having a time every day (ie: when you both get home from work, or after kids go to bed) when you connect with each other and catch up on the day.
This one was my favorite secret! Make your default vocabulary one that is cheerful, optimistic, encouraging, loving, and flirty. One meaningful aspect of this chapter was the emphasis on the “love to linger, a less hurried pace, hanging out.” The authors urged (which I thought unique on a chapter in playfulness that: “Lingering with each other in times of emptiness, sorrow and despair is a great healing balm….there is a time for lingering to savor the happy moments with one another and to celebrate playfully, but there is also a time for lingering with each other when your hearts are breaking.”
#3 Savoring Food
This was one I had never considered before as a secret to a happy marriage! It isn’t just about savoring and enjoying good food, but preparing food together and opening your table to others, or trying new types of cuisine and spices.
They discussed the ministry of food:
“Passion can take the form of compassion in long-term marriages. Cooking a meal and serving it to someone who is hungry or hurting or both has, since the beginning of time, been a way to share tangible love with others.
Indeed when we offer a warm mug of coffee of a hot bowl of soup to our beloveds, we may be feeding their soul. It may be passion of the quiet, gentle variety. But don’t underestimate its strength to bond a couple and to help heal wounds, big and small, over a lifetime.”
#4 Enjoying Beauty
“We find that when we refill our depleted tanks with beauty, it inspires us to better love life and appreciate each other.”
Art, music, the human form, home decor, natural scenery and even pleasing scenery all can contribute to enjoying beauty. Attending concerts, decorating your home, bringing in live flowers, or getting out for a hike or scenic drive all can bring renewed passion for your life and for each other.
Being creative together – whether working on a project together, or being in the same room each working on your own project, or helping each other with creative efforts can bring renewed passion. Watching your spouse excel in a creative effort, cheering him on, also boosts passion.
The authors encourage you to spend time together in new and challenging activities – learn new skills or even take a class together.
#6 Health and Longevity
This was another one of my favorite chapters. The authors discuss the Greek island of Ikaria where “people forget to die.” I had never heard of this island, but now I want to visit.
The authors encourage you to be active together, which can be as simple as walking or swimming together, or as complex as training for a marathon or triathlon together. This is one secret that I have watched my parents observe for as long as I can remember. As a kid, we would walk around the neighborhood nearly every night, and it’s a tradition they continue to this day.
#7 Blending the sacred and the sexual
Jewish Rules for sex. That is all I need to say. No, but truly, they discuss sex as mitzvah – “A holy ritual between husband and wife, given by God to reguarly bind them closer to one another and to him.” If I say too much more, my blog will get trolled. 🙂
Join me this Wednesday at 7 p.m. for a Facebook Live Chat about the 7 secrets. I have a couple stories to share, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you can’t join me live, the replay will be available on my Facebook page!
*I was provided this book for review. All opinions are mine.