Keep the Ember of Love Burning

We went camping over the weekend, and it was so refreshing to spend some time out in nature. My husband's brother came with his family, and we shared a campsite. The kids loved setting up the tent and running around with flashlights and cooking popcorn over a fire. The adults loved that the kids were worn out, so they went to bed easily, leaving us with time to hang out by the fire.

Campfires are the coolest. Period.

At bedtime, we dumped a bunch of water over the fire and went to sleep. In the morning, my sister-in-law cooked pancakes over the camp stove, and then we took down the tent. It was getting windy, and we didn't want the tent to blow away while we were out exploring. We played in the river, followed some trails, skipped rocks, and climbed trees.
At lunchtime we returned to our campsite to see. . . . 
smoke in our fire pit....
and fire burning!

Luckily the fire was small and contained, but our drenched out fire from the night before had been flamed into existence again from all the wind. We love fires, so after lunch we roasted more marshmallows. But now it was time to go home, so we drenched the fire with water again. Five later it was still smoking. So we drenched it again. Johnny explained that a log holds heat deep inside itself, and that heat doesn't go away easily. Even if the embers look cold, the residual heat inside will continue to burn. So we dumped water on the logs again. And again. And again. It was like the birthday candles that don't blow out. Finally - the fire pit was a mud pit, and we figured we were safe from the wind fanning more flames. Whew!

I forgot about the fire until church the next day. Our instructor was teaching about how deeply rooted faith is important. Immediately, I raised my hand to share our campfire story. But the analogy of the campfire goes beyond a spiritual lesson on faith - it applies to marriage too!

So, how can you keep the ember of love burning?

Think about the way a campfire is built.
The fire burns bright and hot at first. Kindling and fire starters are quick to heat up. Over time, the flames settle into a warm and steady fire. As more logs are added onto the campfire, the burn is steady, powerful, and controlled. A steady fire is perfect for cooking, for keeping people warm, and for relaxing. Sparks still fly, but the fire is strong and self-sustaining, as long as more logs are added to keep it going.

Now, imagine your marriage is like a fire. (That's easy, right?)
Passion burns hot and bright in the beginning, and then a steady fire is sustained by adding kind words and deeds over time. Happy memories, gifts, surprises, vacations, back rubs, and kisses are like the logs that keep the campfire strong and steady. A few drops of water here and there don't hurt a strong fire.

Inevitably though, there will come a time though when it seems as if rain wants to destroy your parade. Whether that drenching comes in the form of unemployment, a miscarriage, too much time apart, selfishness, or addictions - your fire will be threatened. You may even feel as if your flames are gone and only coals remain.

However, trials don't have to cool the flames of your marriage. 
Remember my campfire story - the wind didn't hurt the fire; the wind fanned the flames. Trials and difficulties can keep a fire alive, as long as each spouse comes together to ride out the storm. It is your job (and your spouse's job) to keep the heat going inside the log. You keep the ember hot inside, and no amount of water will put out your flames. 

Even a fire that has been reduced to ash and coal can revive again with loving care. If even one ember remains hot, tinder and air can spark and spread small flames. Slowly, a small fire can build as long as kindling and wood are added with care.

You can build your fire by:
- Serve each other every day. Frequently say "thank you" for little things.
- Discuss your hopes and dreams together.
- Be a team. Make decisions together.
- Read books that will help you come together, like 2 Minute Marriage Project.
- Have a regular Date Night.
- Put away electronics and talk face to face.
- Cuddle, hold hands, hug, etc.
- Compliment each other. Offer praise in public.
- Smile at each other. Leave love notes around the house.

How do you keep your fire strong? Or, how have you revived the flames?

Directions from

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