3 Expressions of Flove, PART II

Posted on: 02/9/12 9:27 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Yesterday I continued my week of marriage posts, resuming the concept of “Flove,” and I introduced PART 1 of  “3 Expressions of Flove That Will Change Your Marriage.”

In that post I shared the first two simple expressions of flove:

1. Hallmark Cards and Panties

2. Spy

Now…let’s resume with Expression #3…

3.    Let It Slide

If there’s one thing two decades of marriage has taught me, it’s don’t sweat the small stuff. When two people have the goal of growing old together, they learn to let things go! No one is perfect. Everyone has their own little idiosyncrasies. These are some of the elements that make relationships interesting.

Lori has one of these unique little quirks, and I love it. Lori is a workhorse. She can’t stand disorder so she’s constantly cleaning and organizing. Can this get irritating? Big time! When we’re leaving somewhere and on the way to the car, she makes 13 stops on the way out the door!

Yes, I’ve spent many a “5 minutes” waiting in the car.

Has this causes some fights? Yes. But then I realized… What’s the alternative? Would I rather live with a slob? Would I rather have dishes stacked everywhere and dirty laundry in piles? No way. And come to think of it… I love that Lori is a “do-er.” I really love that idiosyncrasy. So when I’m in the car waiting… I let it slide.

Besides, chances are that our spouse is letting things slide just the same. Many of the times I’m waiting for Lori in the car, she’s doing tasks that I neglected. (Take out the dog, lock the front door, set the alarm… are these her job?) Pretty silly to get made at that.

Does this mean never talk about conflict? Not even close. It just means, pick your battles. Sometimes we just need to let things slide, even when our spouse messes up or says something mean.

Today I was running with Lori and I started calculating the distance we were going, figuring out where each mile marker was, where we’d stop, etc. I’m really intrigued by all this. She’s not. I kept gabbing about it. “Let’s see, if we round the corner up there at Oak Avenue, we’ll still need to go another quarter mile. Hmmmm, minus the distance from here to….” (Those that know me well are probably laughing because they know I can be a chatterbox.)

Lori, exhausted, finally said, “Man! You won’t shutup!”

I could have been hurt by the comment. I was a little. But the funny thing was, I did the exact same thing to her two days ago. She was saying something and I responded with absolutely no sugar on it. I was tired. When Lori and I run, we get tired and we say things with no sugar added.

Funny, five minutes after each of our offenses, we each apologized. “Wow, that came out a little blunt. I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean it like that.”

Case closed.

Yet, for some people, those are the arguments that cause divorce. It sounds crazy, but it’s a fact. When you don’t have flove flowing through your marriage, the small stuff irks you like a small pebble in your shoe.

Try letting some of that small stuff slide. Put yourself in their shoes. Maybe you’re even the cause of some of it. Now, if your spouse continues to do the small stuff without any realization that it bothers you, eventually you’ll need to confront it… but that’s an entirely different article. The point here is, flove isn’t quick to get angry. Flove let’s the small stuff slide. (James 1:19 in action)

* * *

There you have it, 3 expressions of flove.

Scared of Divorce:
In a recent poll, 67% of unmarried young adults admitted that they were scared to marry, fearing that it would only end up in divorce.

Isn’t that sad? Marriage has almost become a stigma that is pretty close to what Kid Rock expressed (see Expression #1). That’s because those people haven’t experienced flove. When you have flove, you’ll want to live it out and express it in ways like these three expressions.

What about you?
How do you let God’s love flow through you to your spouse?

How can you implement the principles above in your marriage?

Posted in Marriage |  | Leave A Comment

3 Expressions of Flove That Will Change Your Marriage

Posted on: 02/8/12 4:50 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This week we’ve been talking about marriage. It started with a glimpse at my date plans for my 21st anniversary, then I shared the results of those plans (and how part of the night almost backfired), then I shared the secret to surviving 21 years of marriage… something I called “flove.”

Now that we know flove isn’t something we can accomplish by trying really hard, we don’t want to misinterpret that as an excuse to just sit on our butts! Flove doesn’t mean “don’t try.” Flove is the motivation behind “try.”

Without flove, love can become a mere list of tasks we should do but don’t want to. Flove produces a bunch of tasks, not because we should do them, but because we want to do them!

Sometimes people feel the flove but don’t know how to express it. We understand the principle of surrendering to God and letting his love flow through us, but we struggle with real life day to day application.

I hear you! I’m right there with you. So here’s 3 simple expressions of flove that I’ve learned along the way, practices that can literally change your marriage!  (I’ll post 1 and 2 today, and the third tomorrow)

1.    Hallmark Cards and Panties

Remember when you first dated your spouse and you would surprise him/her with a note, a gift or a creative date?

Then you got married.

Why is it that so often the fun romantic stuff ends at marriage? Years ago pop music star Kid Rock told Rolling Stone, “Getting married is f**king fun. Being married sucks.” (Rolling Stone, August 9, 2007, p. 24) TV shows and movies regularly joke about this marriage stigma. “Once you get married, it all goes downhill.”

Don’t let this happen in your marriage. If you are surrendering to God and allowing his Spirit to flow His love through you (flove), then you’ll want to express that through spontaneous acts of love.

Most men would astonish their wives by buying her a card (and actually writing something in it!) for no reason other than to say “I love you.” Similarly, wives can give their husbands a pleasant surprise by putting on a really sexy pair of underwear in the morning when she’s getting dressed, waiting until they’re in public, then whispering in his ear that she’s wearing them! (Or better yet… just skip the underwear totally… and tell him that!)

Discover your spouse’s biggest needs (I’ve probably nailed some of the big ones in my examples above) and spontaneously meet that need.

One of the best way to discover your spouse’s need is to…

2.    Spy

Spy on your spouse! I know, it sounds kinda creepy. But I’m not talking about you standing outside the bedroom window in an overcoat. What I’m saying is, notice your spouse when you typically don’t notice them.

Whenever I got to the mall with my wife Lori and she covets a pair of earrings, I take notice. Sometimes I even throw them on a different hook when she’s not looking so I can come back later and buy them.

I also try to practice the art of “noticing” when Lori is telling me about her day. It’s amazing what you can pick up from daily conversation. “Oh man! I’m loathing that huge load of laundry I have to do this weekend!”


Yes… if you notice these things, they often will require some action on your part. But these actions will yield amazing rewards. When you buy your spouse that gift they wanted, or when you do a task that they mentioned that they hated… you’ve done more than just doing something for them… you “listened!” (Men, if you can do this, this is huge! It might even lead them to doing Step 1 above!)

Often, we’re too tired to notice. “Me” gets in the way of noticing our spouse.

Don’t fall into this trap. As you surrender to God and feel his love flowing through you, notice your spouse for who they are. That might even require you to…

(Tune in to my post tomorrow when I’ll share with you the 3rd Expression of flove)

What about you?
How do you let God’s love flow through you to your spouse?

How can you implement the principles above in your marriage?

Posted in Marriage |  | Leave A Comment

The Secret of Flove

Posted on: 02/7/12 5:29 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Many of you already know, Lori and I are celebrating 21 years of marriage this week. It’s funny, because whenever this younger generation hears me say that, they are always really surprised. “Whoa! 21 years! Seriously? How did you do it?”

I guess that’s the big question. What’s the secret?

I call it “flove.” (No, that’s not a misspelling.)

Simply put, if a husband and wife just try really hard to love each other… then that’s exactly what it’s gonna be: really hard.

The key isn’t trying really hard. The key is giving up.

The one thing that Lori and I did right from the beginning (probably one of the only things we did right that first year) was admitting that this thing was way beyond us, so we gave up trying to do it by ourselves, and we brought God into the relationship. This opened the door to “flove.”

Imperfect Love
Here’s how it works. When I try really hard to love, it’s an imperfect love. Selfishness gets mixed in. Jealousy gets mixed in. All the drama you see in reality shows—that stuff creeps in.

Doesn’t it happen in your house? Sometimes even when you’re trying to do something nice?

“Hey baby, come here for a minute and help me make the bed. I don’t want you to have to do it by yourself later.”

“Why would I have to do it later? Because I’m the woman?”

“I didn’t mean that… it’s just that you do make it by yourself a lot, and I wanted to help.”

“But why can’t you make it by yourself sometime. Is that so unfair?”

“No, it’s not unfair, but you know how busy I am. Can’t you just be happy that I’m helping you!”

“What? Like I’m not busy?”

I digress.

I’m sure you’ve never had any arguments like this one.

That’s why we need “flove,” not this imperfect version of love we try to produce on our own. Flove seeks to please, not to be pleased. Flove isn’t defensive. Flove isn’t looking out for “me.”

“Flove” Defined
This wisdom isn’t mine… I stole it! It’s straight from the book of Ephesians in the Bible, but surprisingly, not from the part of the book that most people point to when talking about marriage. Whenever someone writes or preaches on marriage, you can almost bet that they’re going to open up the book of Ephesians to Chapter 5, the famous part of scripture where Paul encourages husbands to lay down their lives for their wives and wives to serve their husbands. Yes, there’s a lot of debate over some of the strong words in this passage, words like “submit” or “head.” But anyone who gives this passage a fair reading can’t deny that the marriage relationship is presented as a two way street, with each party (and I quote) “submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ.” (vs. 21).

But to simply read this “submitting” passage from Chapter 5 is like starting the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding after Toula’s makeover. You don’t know how she got there. These verses don’t tell us what happened to us, giving us the strength to submit to each other.

Let’s be honest. This “submitting” to one another is easier said than done. What about when the husband is being selfish or insensitive. Do wives have to submit to him then? What about when the wife is nagging or backbiting? Do husbands have to love them “as they love their own bodies” then?

That’s really hard!

So what’s the secret? Again, please, no one tell me, “You just need to try harder!” If that’s the case, Lori and I would have given up long ago. Because neither of us, no matter how hard we try, can serve, submit and love each other enough by our own efforts.

And that’s the key. We can’t do it on our own. We need “flove.”

The Source of “Flove”
So where do we get this strength or power to love and serve each other when our partner is acting like a turd?

We need to turn back and read a little bit earlier in Paul’s letter… a verse that might surprise you

Ephesians 5:18 (NIV)
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

People often use this verse to talk about drinking, and they neglect the most important parts of the verse: be filled with the Spirit! Paul is saying, stop filling yourself with these temporary pleasures that lead to mistakes we’ll regret—instead, let God fill us with his Spirit which will guide us and give us a new perspective.

This verse provides the source of the strength. If we want the power to submit to one another, we need to spend time with God so his Spirit fills us. As his Spirit fills us, we’ll have the strength to submit.

That’s “flove.” Think of Ben Kenobi telling Luke, “A Jedi can feel the force flowing through him.” When we stop trying to do it on our own, and allow the Spirit (not the force) to flow through us, that produces a pure love that isn’t thinking from a selfish, earthly perspective. It produces a love flowing from the Spirit—flove.

This concept is way bigger than just one verse—it’s all throughout scripture. If you flip back to Ephesians 4:22 and 23, you’ll hear Paul encouraging us to get rid of our old ways (the old sinful nature, vs. 22), and instead, let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes (vs. 23). He uses the same wording when he talks about God transforming us through the “renewing of our minds” in Romans 12:2.

This is foundational belief in Christ. It’s Gospel. It’s “I can’t do it on my own. I put my trust in you.” That’s when the Spirit takes over and produces “flove.”

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing magical about the word flove. I just made the word up because it was a catchy nomenclature for this Biblical concept. The key is where it comes from and what it can do for you.

Flove can change your marriage. It changed mine. But flove is also bigger than marriage. Flove can change all our relationships. When we go back to this “filled with the spirit verse” we also see a slightly bigger picture than just the context of marriage. Marriage is just one area of our life where we allow God to fill us so we can submit to one another. That’s why this marriage passage is followed by instructions about kids submitting to parents, and even slaves submitting to masters. Paul is helping us understand that when we allow God’s spirit to transform us, “flove” can transform our relationships.

It’s a simple concept. Give up. Let His love flow through us.

Then why is it so hard? Maybe it’s because it’s against our nature, against our culture, to just “give up.”

Lori and I gave up 21 years ago… and our marriage gets better and better each day.

Posted in Marriage |  | Leave A Comment

Date Night Salvaged

Posted on: 02/6/12 3:27 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s a good thing opposites attract, because when it comes to the movie choices Lori and I make… we rarely agree. And that was the consensus when were exiting the theater after watching The Grey last Friday night.

It’s funny, Lori and I have a terrible record for movie choices on our anniversary. We laugh about it, because usually we’re pretty good about finding something that we both like when we actually ante up for the theatre. She typically likes romantic comedies, with favorites like While You Were Sleeping and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. My favorites are Jaws, The Shawshank Redemption, Heat and A Bronx Tale. But years of marriage have taught us to find common ground in films. She enjoys the occasional action film, and I the occasional romantic comedy. And we both can always land on fantasy-adventure greats like Lord of the Rings. Despite our years of discovering common cinematic ground, our anniversary movie choices over the last 21 years have been epic fails. For some reason we have a terrible history finding good films come anniversary time.

Most of you read about the plans I had for Lori and I last weekend. She had the choice of three dates and opted for the shopping and night out locally. The date started amazing: we shopped, we had a nice dinner, we laughed, we talked. But then, forgetting about our anniversary-movie-flop curse, we decided to include a movie into the mix.

She actually suggested the new Liam Neeson film, The Grey. “Todd loved it,” she said. “And it has Liam Neison.” (Todd… did you hear that? She trusted your opinion from our Movie Reviews & Quick Q’s page. Ha! Keep reading, my friend!)

I thought the film looked good as well; so we easily agreed to see it.

We should have known better.

It was our anniversary after all. There is no way we’ll ever make a good movie choice on our anniversary!

I remember the one year that we chose Arnold Schwarzenegger’s film Collateral Damage. I know, I know. How could we even have thought… Anyway, we went to see it. Then there was the year we saw Hannibal. Yeah… you’re losing all respect for me, aren’t you?

I don’t know what it is. I think something is in the air early February every year and it affects our judgment.

So this year we go and see The Grey.

At the end, Lori turns to me, almost angry, and says, “That was the worst film I’ve ever seen in my life!”

In all honesty, I can only remember thinking two thoughts at this point. 1. Is there any way I’m going to be able to salvage this night and still get lucky? (Sorry, but we married guys still think this way!) And… 2. I’m going to seriously kill my buddy Todd!

Funny, I didn’t find The Grey so terrible. It’s not gonna go down as one of my favorites, but I liked the fact that it wasn’t your typical Hollywood, predictable, mindless-action flick. I grew to like several of the characters in this story about a handful of men in a desperate situation, struggling to survive. But I totally understand Lori’s perspective. The movie was very dark and didn’t leave the audience much to celebrate as they left the theatre. It sure didn’t leave Lori feeling like celebrating anything as we left the theatre!

Luckily, 21 years together have taught us a few things. We talked about the film for about 5 to 10 minutes on the way home—in this case, I let her vent. It was actually quite entertaining. I wish the filmmakers could have heard her opinion. She was on a roll, trashing every aspect of the film. Gene Siskel would have been proud.

After shooting the film full of holes, she took a deep breath and looked at me with her amazing brown eyes. After taking in her adorable features for a moment, I said, “I’m really sorry you hated that film so much. What can I do to make it up to you?”

“Comedy.” She said. “I need comedy!”

We got home, I lit a fire, we snuggled on the couch and laughed together, watching a comedy.

The night was salvaged, and The Grey forever goes down in my anniversary-movie-flop hall-of-fame.

What about you? What has been your biggest date flop?

Monogamy a Good Thing?

Posted on: 03/21/11 3:48 PM | by Jonathan McKee

A lot of news about abstinence, sex and monogamy lately, mostly due to a Center for Disease Control report that came out earlier this month reporting that abstinence is actually up.

Yep… you read that right. Today, more kids are waiting to engage in sexual activity.

You can read more about this interesting changing trend- I wrote an entire Youth Culture Window article on the subject, summarizing and linking the report (and others). If you haven’t seen that you’ll wanna be sure and take a peek: Abstinence is Up– But Consequences Not Down.

Pay careful attention to the end of the article, because I implore parents once again, “Have ongoing talks with our kids about sex.” Ongoing conversations is a principle I talk about frequently in my book coming out at the end of this week, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent (Pre-order a signed copy of this book from Jonathan now).

I’ve been seeing some other people chiming in on the subject as well. I found this particular New York Times Opinion page article interesting, Why Monogamy Matters. Here, the author mentions the same report, but also talks about some interesting findings– such as those noted by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, in their recent book, “Premarital Sex in America.” According to their research, the more monogamous the woman is, the “happier” she is.

I quote:

Among the young people Regnerus and Uecker studied, the happiest women were those with a current sexual partner and only one or two partners in their lifetime. Virgins were almost as happy, though not quite, and then a young woman’s likelihood of depression rose steadily as her number of partners climbed and the present stability of her sex life diminished.

You don’t see that on an episode of Two and a Half Men.

20 Years

Posted on: 01/21/11 11:56 AM | by Jonathan McKee

21 years ago, when I was 19-years-old and home from college on break, I saw this 19-year-old brunette walk into my home church’s college group and quietly sit in the corner. I thought, “Wow!”

5 months later, when I got back from school, I asked her out.

3 months later we were engaged.

6 months later we were married.

That was 20 years ago.

Lori is amazing. We got married as two kids (I was 20, she was 21). Now, we have three teenagers of our own, and one of them is about ready to go to college. I am so in love with this girl!

I’m not going to be tending to emails/blog for next week. We’re out celebrating 20-years in an undisclosed tropical location (plenty of sand, waves and palm trees).

I can’t wait for the next 20 years with this girl!

Posted in Family, Marriage, Personal |  | Leave A Comment