I just read a great little book today. It only took a couple of hours, but it was worth every minute! I had heard some whisperings about a pastor by the name of CJ Mahaney - how he was a great teacher/writer. So I picked up a few books on Amazon the other day and his book Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God was one of them. (He had other books that looked good, but none of them had "sex" in the title - so this one won!)
This book is a great book of practical advice for romancing your wife and a good deal of teaching from the Song of Solomon. It's written primarily to men, but Mahaney's wife as a great section at the end directed toward women. It is one of the better books I've read on improving marital relations and I may start requiring it for all the couples I marry in the future.
Here are the a few quotes that were highlights for me personally:
On the purpose of marriage:
"Something of the selfless love, care, and sacrifice that Jesus shows toward the Church is supposed to be evident in you as you relate to your wife. Something of the respect, submission, and devotion that the Church shows toward Jesus is supposed to be evident in your wife as she relates to you. That's the purpose for your marriage. That is why God has given her to you, and you to her."
On the foundation of intimacy:
"In order for romance to deepen, you must touch the heart and mind of your wife before you touch her body."
On studying your wife:
"If you have children living in the home, then of all the questions you could ask [your wife], this one is especially revealing: Do you feel more like a mother or a wife?"
On taking time to plan for the important things:
"Every week, on Sunday evening or Monday morning, I get away to the local Starbucks. Armed with my PDA and a cup of steaming rasberry mocha, I review several things: my roles (husband, father, pastor, etc...), my to-do list, my schedule for the coming week, the book I'm reading, and a message I've heard recently.
The heart of this time is when I define, for each of my roles, what is most important for me to accomplish during the next seven days. I have learned that if I do not define the important, then during the next week that which is merely urgent will rush in, disguised as the truly important, and will crowd out everything else."