Every marriage will go through times where sparks aren’t flying. No matter how wonderful a marriage might be, there will be times when the doldrums threaten to take over. These times do not necessarily mean that sin is involved (although that could be the case). More often, it is just the hurry and hustle of life that pushes a rift between husband and wife.
Too often, a couple simply assumes that it will “be this way,” and they fail to grow back together.
Even more tragically, too many let these seasons push them permanently apart, and the union is dissolved.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We need to know that there will be seasons that are not easy, but that does not mean it has to be that way all the time.
Instead of searching for “6 ways to fix things” or “10 steps to get out of this” posts, let me give you a one step approach. I’m not saying this one step will fix every problem, but if you will take this one step, you will see improvement, if even in small increments.
What is the one step?
Study your spouse.
“Wait,” you say. “I know my spouse. I’m married to him/her. I’ve ‘done life’ with them for years. What are you talking about?”
I’m talking about studying your spouse today. She is not the same woman you married in every way. He is not the same man. In some ways, your spouse is a better person, and (admittedly) in some areas there is still room for improvement. Not every interest has stayed exactly the same through all these years. New fears have become part of life, as have new ways of finding joy.
In each of these areas, there are ways where you can serve. If you discover something new that brings fear or discouragement to your spouse, you can speak great levels of strength to that part of life. If you learn that your spouse just isn’t into what they used to enjoy, you can gain from the search for something new to do together.
Too often, we get married, and then put our relationships on autopilot. We just assume that the person we married will never really change (except the obvious physical changes that come through the years). But I know that I am not exactly the same as I was back when I said, “I do.” Why, then, should I expect that my spouse will be just the same?
This can be scary ground, sure. You might discover insecurities or fears that you do not particularly like. But it provides you a way to speak strength into your spouse in ways that really make an impact. It provides you with ways to grow in areas of strength that you may have not even realized were there.
While it will still take a great deal of effort to see major improvement in your relationship, I can guarantee that if you will prayerfully and seriously study your spouse, you will be motivated to speak and act in ways that will provide improvement.
It may just be step one…but it is a powerful first step.
Photo background credit: Kallie Hubbard on Creative Commons