Growing Apart

Do you remember the beginning of your relationship with your spouse? Every touch was a thrill and every date felt like a special event. Your thoughts revolved around your partner. Lately though, you’ve noticed that you and your spouse are growing apart. Life, with its commitments and responsibilities, can pull you apart, unless you resist. We live in an extremely busy world. Work, studying, social life, working out, and kids can make us feel overwhelmed at times. No wonder so many couples feel that they are growing apart.Many couples use the phrase “growing apart” when they describe their marriage relationship. People have told me that they don't mind spending less time with their spouse because when they are together they feel so disconnected. Still, how do you know you’re headed for trouble? Losing that connection with your spouse doesn’t happen all at once. It typically occurs over a period of months or years and isn’t realized until it becomes a serious issue. Here are some red flags: consistently spending less time together; going to bed at different times; making big decisions without consulting each other; keeping secrets; feeling lonely when you’re together or not enjoying each other’s company; and not having sex.

No one wants to grow apart in a marriage, but when you feel disconnected and fear tough times are ahead, it’s time to make some changes. I’ve found that when I’m willing to give instead of take, things change in my relationship. The scripture says, “It is more blessed to give than receive." and it's true. Giving for me starts with submitting my life to God. When I am in tune with the Lord, I'm more able to gain harmony with my spouse because I am focused less on myself. But I have to take it step further and change my perspective on my lover and accept him the way God has made him. Here are some other ways to be a giver with your spouse.

Start by putting God first. Have a time of reflection or a quiet time with Jesus. Ask the Lord to reveal His heart for you and your spouse. If you have been the taker in the relationship, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to be a giver. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10.

Open the lines of communication. Work at providing a safe environment when you talk to your spouse by practicing good listening skills. Let your spouse communicate their feelings freely. Ask questions and try to not make too many statements. Complement and affirm your spouse. Men and women need to hear words of affirmation. Men generally need to feel respected and honored by their wives. Phrases like, “You are such a hard working man. Thanks for being a great provider. I admire you so much." will make your husband feel honored. Women need to be cherished, pursued, and valued. Tell your wife, “I’m so blessed to have you in my life. You are the best gift God has given me. I will listen and try to understand your heart no matter what it takes."

1 Peter 3:7 states, "Husbands, in the same way be considerate  as you live with your wife, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."

Another way to be a giver is to plan activities that will make your spouse feel special. Don’t focus on what you want to do, but on what your spouse would like. I Corinthians 13:5 says, “Love is not self seeking.” Plan weekly dates or a time when you can connect with your spouse. Go out to eat, go on walks, take bike rides or see a show. Focus on what your spouse would like to do and make them the priority. Remember, "give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38.