A few years after we married, we started to have some serious problems in our relationship. When we finally went for marriage counseling, we found we had to make some serious changes in our lives.
Our marriage counselor quickly picked up on one of our main problems. I (Larry) was not meeting the emotional needs of the woman God gave to me. I soon realized that I needed to take whatever time was needed to communicate with LaVerne in a way that she felt cherished and loved. She needed to know that she was a priority in my life.
I (LaVerne) also realized that my identity and worth needed to be in Christ, and that it was not possible for Larry to fulfill all of my needs. I found I could only find complete fulfillment in Jesus Christ and in my Heavenly Father’s love for me. Although it really helped when Larry began to communicate with me in a way that I felt cherished, I could not demand this from him. I needed to look to Jesus for fulfillment.
The scriptures tell us: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). We began to sow into our marriage like we had not done since we were dating. I learned to write letters to LaVerne in word pictures, sharing my feelings, not just facts. I was really stretched because I am not a feeling kind of a guy. I am a fact guy. Sharing feelings made me feel vulnerable. But this exercise was life-changing for both of us: We began to understand one another as we shared how we really felt.
LaVerne and I started dating again. We planned for a date night at least once a month. We found another couple that also desired to date monthly, so we swapped babysitting services for free. It worked great! And here we are in our mid-sixties, still dating. (This blog is an excerpt from our new book coming out in March: “Battle Cry for Your Marriage; Discovering Breakthroughs for Today’s Challenges,” co-written with three other couples.)