We often hear that going with the flow’s a good idea, and lots of times it is—unless that flow takes us in a bad direction. I don’t know a wife that consciously says, “Today, I’m going to be distracted from my husband. Today, I’m going to disconnect on purpose.”
I think stagnation is one of the deadliest precursors to distraction and disconnection. Marriage isn’t static. You could even say, it’s kind of like a living organism—it either moves in a positive direction towards growth and life, or it stops moving, stagnating through a kind of status quo into death. Stagnation is very subtle, it’s almost imperceptible so it requires a vigilant heart.
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23
I think these might be some things we need to guard against.
Help or Hindrance
You’re only seeing faults. You’ve moved away from the helper and harmonizer that you started out as, and you’ve begun the change into a hindrance. Focusing on your husband’s faults is like viewing him through a wide angle lense … you’ll just find more faults. Eventually, they’ll crowd out anything good he was, is, does or could be. I think God calls us to be an example of harmony.
It’s helpful to focus on your husband’s strengths. The more space they take up, the less room for weaknesses.
Bad to Worse
Assuming anything less than his best. When you feel a doubt of good intentions creeping into your mind, you owe it to God, to your husband and to yourself, to cut it off at the pass before you plunge into mind-suck. Mind-suck is that emotional spiral that’s driven downward by anything your man has done ‘wrong’, that you’ve failed to let go of. These emotions and thoughts transfer into your eyes, attitudes and words. Assume his best: Give doubt the benefit. This not only keeps unity in tact but is love made active.
Write down your doubt, put it in a box and symbolically leave it with God—after all He already knows what it is and how He’s going to fix it.
A Personal Touch
You’re not reaching out as much. Whether his love language is touch or not, it’s needed for all of us. Initiating touch isn’t about making up after a fight, condoning sin (real or imagined), or an admission of guilt. It’s not about who goes first, or anything else. It’s merely an acknowledgement of humanity. Some of us need more than others, some of us need less. Some of us want more but struggle to reach out for it. God knew that we needed a personal touch and sent us a savior to do it. Even though Jesus knew what we were like, He came to earth anyway — He touches each of us exactly as we are.
Don’t wait until everything’s perfect between you, or for someone else to go first, adopt the Nike slogan and just do it.
He’s a Guy
… and you’re a girl. Shocker—I know. Think of your marriage like it’s a box of crayons. For ease, (but hopefully not too cliché) let’s say you’ve got all the warm colours and he’s got all the cool colours. Sometimes you need pink, sometimes you need blue. And then there are times when purple is necessary and it requires both of you. Purple doesn’t become purple, because blue emasculates itself to keep pink happy. The fact that men and women are so different, it’s amazing that we’ve got anything in common! Instead, bring all your female—and let your man bring his own masculinity.
Don’t just tolerate the gender differences, embrace them! It was God who put them there in the beginning—let Him make it work.
Comparisons are the kiss-of-death. When we were first married, my husband hadn’t accumulated the abundant abilities that he now possesses after 30 years of marriage (insert bragging privilege: he can now troubleshoot and fix just about anything electrical, technical or mechanical … and relational). Anyway, I was complaining to my mom that we had gotten into this big fight because he wouldn’t just let “Dad” look at our car. I went on, “It’s frustrating because …” And she cut me off with a chastisement fit for a toddler, which is how I was acting. “Robyn-Anne!” I knew I was wrong because she used my middle name. “Your father has been working on cars, tractors, lawnmowers, furnaces, equipment et al, for years. He’s been exposed to all this through raising a family and his career.” She shook her head, “You can’t compare your father’s ending to your husband’s beginning. That’s an unreal expectation on your husband.”
Keep your expectations a little lower than your gratitude, and you’ll see the real man emerge on God’s time. Your vision is limited at best, only God sees the finale.
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Be all in. Understand that you are literally one flesh with your husband. That means when your husband has trouble … you’ll experience it by association. When Satan wants to come after you—he’s going to coming through your husband. Don’t give up doing good just because you’re encountering some rough terrain. You started this race together—you have no idea what blessings lay just beyond … out of sight.
And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. – Galatians 6:9
We’ll always have to beware of disconnection; it isn’t something we can conquer and be done with, like an event that’s marked by start and finish with a certificate of accomplishment. As much as a Certificate of Marriage appears like the achievement of an event, the wedding day—in truth, it’s the date that marks the beginning of the process of staying connected.
Any investment of good you give your marriage will always advance it in the right direction.