By Lane Jordan Burday, Crosswalk.com
Remember the day you got married? I’m sure that day will always be etched in your memory.
What a joyous time! I’m sure you can still remember the smell of fragrant flowers, the taste of the luscious wedding cake, the special look in your new spouse’s eyes as you danced the first dance together.
But as the years go by and the bills and children increase in this new family you started, the feelings you once had for each other can drift away.
It starts slowly but, and this is the crucial part, if you don’t change this slow drifting, your marriage could unravel leaving you both on two different boats going on two different directions.
What are the signs we are drifting?
1. You Stop Paying Attention to Each Other
I know what you are thinking. Life is busy! There are too many things pulling at our attention. But, that’s just the point. Other things wanting your attention will never stop but our spouses will always need attention. Perhaps you stop the little touching gestures. You don’t cuddle before you fall asleep or hold hands when you are out or when you watch TV like you used to do.
You begin to say you are too tired for lovemaking and then days turn into weeks without any form of intimacy. You stop greeting them at the door and asking how their day was. And you don’t get off the phone to say hi or stop looking at your cell when he/she is talking.
2. You Stop Considering What Your Spouse Wants in Everyday Decisions
In other words, you stop asking what they want to do that day or for the weekend, or what to eat for dinner, or what they want period. I’m sure you used to do that when you were first married. I bet you even asked them every day what they had for lunch!
But if you are drifting from each other, you begin to stop putting them first in the little things. You stop buying their favorite foods at the grocery store. You stop cooking their favorite foods. Or, you stop cooking period! You may even stop asking them for help for your problems or not wanting to hear/help them with theirs.
Mainly, because when they do ask you, you roll your eyes and say, “Do I have to help?” When these attitudes are in a relationship, it shows that you are no longer a team, which is vital to any marriage.
3. You Begin to See Your Life and Relationship as a Glass Half Empty
You complain. You argue. About everything. You stop listening. But you don’t stop listening to your music, TV, cell phone, etc. Are you losing your desire to be in this marriage which turns into you having a bad attitude?
4. You Begin to Put Others in front of Your Spouse
You start spending more time with your friends and your interests. You stop spending that one on one time that you loved so much at the beginning. And when people/relatives/friends criticize your spouse, you don’t defend them. You either stay silent or agree.
And the worst? You don’t build your spouse up before the children. Perhaps, you even say harsh things to your children about their parent.
What Can Change This Drifting?
I’m so glad you asked this question! Because with every relationship, just wanting it to get better is the first step. Think through all the people in your life right now. I bet there are some friends that you would do anything to keep them in your life. You love being with them and counting on them! And they are there for you. Keeping this friendship alive isn’t hard at all because you want it to continue.
That’s how a marriage stays strong. You really, really want it to continue and to be the best relationship in your life. But, perhaps right now things aren’t so good. You catch yourself complaining about everything. You catch yourself spending more time away with work or friends or the children.
That must stop now.
But, you say, you don’t have any idea how bad he/she is! They are doing this and that and so many things I don’t like that I’m driven away.
That’s why, when Jesus told his disciples that God never wants people to divorce, they said, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” Matthew 19:10
The disciples realized that marriage is for two people – not one who can demand everything his way. God wants marriage to be an example of ‘oneness’, which is why he commands the husband to leave his parents and cleave to his wife. No one should be more important than your spouse.
Stop right now and think about your marriage. Are you drifting? Are you beginning to complain to yourself or others about your mate? If so, I pray that this article will be a red flag and call you to action!
Steps to Take to Bring Intimacy Back into Your Marriage:
1. Fall on your face right now and ask God to forgive you for anything you have done to cause drifting in your marriage.
2. Ask God to show you the way to a strong and unified marriage: perhaps its time to find a good Christian counselor or go on a marriage retreat.
3. Sit down with your spouse and begin to talk, really talk, about yourselves and your marriage.
4. And ask what you can change. Yes, this takes great courage but if you begin first with yourself in trying to change, your spouse will see that you aren’t judging or pointing fingers at him
5 If you don’t have a church home, find one ASAP. Some of your best friendships can be found in a church, especially if you join a Sunday school class or life group in someone’s home. We all need to have people around us, holding us accountable.
6. Make sure you personally have a real and personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus. Only through God’s power can anyone ever change! If you don’t know Jesus then say this prayer: “God, I want you in my life more than anything! Please forgive me of my sins and fill me with your power. Give me the heart and mind and soul that can love and forgive others. Pour your blessings down upon me, my spouse and my family.
7. If you have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, ask daily for his favor and blessings to pour over you and your spouse and children. Jesus will bless those who love Him!
8. Walk with Jesus daily by getting in His Word, praying and having Him first in your life.
9. Keep yourself from anything that hinders your walk with Christ: bad movies, books, friends, the internet, the cell phone. Anything that might try to turn you away from the Lord or your spouse.
10.Don’t compare your spouse with any other person. You might think another husband/wife would be better than yours but remember that everyone has a sin nature and is far from perfect. That’s why nothing works well apart from God and His power in our life.
11. Use words of life and not death (Proverbs 18:21). Say loving and good words to your spouse and your children.
12. Do not criticize him, his family or anything about him.
13. And one of the most important things you can do to keep your marriage from drifting? Be kind. Yes, just be kind.
“Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4
“Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24
“A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” Proverbs 18:4
May God bless you and your marriage.
Related Resource: Listen to our new, FREE podcast on marriage: Team Us. The best marriages have a teamwork mentality. Find practical, realistic ideas for strengthening your marriage. Listen to an episode here, and then head over to LifeAudio.com to check out all of our episodes:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Goroden Koff
Lane Jordan Burday is a writer, best-selling author, international motivational and inspirational speaker, singer, artist, Bible teacher, and professional life coach. She lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband who partners with her in ministry and waits impatiently for daughters and granddaughter to visit! Lane’s desire is to encourage, support, and motivate women of all ages to be better wives, mothers, and women of God by organizing their lives and time. You can find her at: www.LaneJordanMinistries.com and her blog at www.PathwaysToOrganization.com.