When we marry we think that our love will keep growing, as it has from the beginning. That’s something I thought (and so did Steve). And as I look around, I’m not thinking that very many others are thinking any differently. We seem to fall into the lie (because that’s what it is), that “love comes naturally.” Sure… infatuated love does, but not rich, deep, sustainable love. Closeness in marriage is a daily decision. You also have to put action behind those decisions.
Look all around you, what do you know of that keeps growing in healthy ways unless you feed, nurture, and put into it what it needs so it will grow? If this is true with everything else in the world, what makes us think that our “love” —that elusive, volatile relationship, will be any different? That’s because we WANT to believe it. It’s because we always think we’re the exception to the “rules” of dynamics —especially relationship dynamics. But it’s a pipe dream, at best.
Closeness Will End?
I agree with Drs Les and Leslie Parrott when they said:
“Who, newly in love, preoccupied from morning till night with thoughts of love, can believe they will ever be out of step with their partner, that the feelings they are experiencing so strongly will ever fade? Certainly no bride or groom wants to hear that their flame will burn lower in time. But in a sense, it will. The passionate love that begins a marriage cannot sustain a marriage. Newlyweds who equate true love only with passion are doomed to disappointment. (From the book, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts)
It’s not just the newly in love crowd that will find disappointment; it’s also most married couples. We’re under the false impression that our “spouse” can take a back seat to everything and everyone else that we believe we should tend to, and our relationship should still be okay. After all, if our spouse really loves us, he or she should understand, isn’t that right? No.
We’ve got to stop living in this disillusioned state. Eventually those false beliefs will rise up and bite us, just as the words do, “I love you, but I’m not IN love with you.” (Those are the stupidest words on earth.)
Choose Closeness By Our Actions
We need to instead, find ways DAILY to show our spouse that we still chose him or her beyond our wedding day. Make it known that we still choose him or her to be the love of our life to walk along side us for the rest of our lives.
“Daily non-stress communication (even just 10 minutes) to keep in touch with each other’s lives and other daily bonding rituals promotes your sense of togetherness. When you’re apart, whether just for a portion of the day or for extended business travel, how you keep in touch and how you get back together can be more important that how much time you are separated. Successful couples touch base with each other at least once or twice a day, even if for just a few minutes. They also make sure that their reunion receives some attention. Make the time and effort to renew your bond at the end of the day and at the end of the week. Develop familiar rituals that you both enjoy for reconnecting. These can be as simple as trading neck massages, etc…
“Couples who use these reconnecting strategies can tolerate more separation while still remaining close to each other. Couples who don’t reconnect can feel isolated from each other, even with less separation. In other words, it’s not necessarily how much you are separated, but how you manage keeping in touch and renewing your bond.” (Patricia S. and Gregory A. Kuhlman, from the Stayhitched.com article, Balancing Togetherness and Individuality”)
I’m not going to go on and on, concerning this issue. We have SO MUCH that is posted on this web site that can help you as you make those daily choices. Please take advantage of what we have for you here.
Closing Thoughts on Closeness
But I want to close with a few thoughts that I read yesterday in the devotional, “The Word For You Today.” I believe them to be so true. I hope that you will prayerfully consider them (as I have) and do something about it:
“Husbands and wives are as different as chalk and cheese. And to complicate things further, their needs change according to the seasons of life they’re in (very, very true). So, when you ask, ‘How are you today?’ slow down and listen.”
The question is, DO you slow down and ask your spouse, “how are you today?” It’s important to actually talk like you care. This IS the person you vowed to, before God and other witnesses, to love and cherish. Asking “how are you” sincerely is important. (And I’m not talking about taking a few minutes in between TV commercials or while your computer is rebooting.)
And after asking that question, SLOW DOWN AND LISTEN. Truly listen, to what they say and what you perceive they may be saying without words. I asked a friend this question the other day and she said, “good, fine… everything’s good.” I sensed differently. So I turned to her and asked her sincerely again, “no… how are you REALLY?” Her answer was MUCH different. She was in a lot of emotional pain and needed to express it (she’s a recent widow). She needed to have someone express care and concern.
After asking the “how are you” question, here are a few more:
- Did anything positive or exciting happen to you today?
- Did anything sad or disappointing happen today?
- What did God show you NEW today?
Here’s another thought from the devotional to prayerfully consider and do something about DAILY:
“Closeness in marriage isn’t an accident. It’s a decision you make, and keep making every day.”
“Love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. ‘By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’” (John 13:34)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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