How Disaffection Starts – MM #72

Disaffections Irritations Seek Wisdom angry couple AdobeStock_62220691 copy“All marriages go through periods of disaffection, times when love feels distant, cold. What happens during these times will often set the course for the rest of the marriage.” (Tim Clinton)

Have you been there? We sure have, and who knows that we might not again if we don’t work on putting forth intentionality in building our love for each other? But thankfully, we’re doing well. And we pray that if you’re struggling, eventually you will be as well, knowing that marriage is so complex.

The following is something written by Tim and Julie Clinton, titled “How Disaffection Starts.” It was featured in Moody Magazine (which is no longer in print) a number of years ago. But what they write is still appropriate today.

Talking About Disaffection

“All marriages go through periods of disaffection, times when love feels distant, cold. What happens during these times will often set the course for the rest of the marriage. Unfortunately, disaffection often wins out and couples who get to the point of divorce never know God’s desire for their marriage. And many who stay in their marriages live unhappily behind closed doors.

But how does disaffection start? It actually begins with everyday life, with the six pressures we all face daily.


We’re pulled in every direction, busy and going nowhere fast, having to do more with less time. Before long, tempers flare, stomachs ache, hearts break. Hurried decisions become bad decisions. And bad decisions make people hurt.

Marriage becomes a perpetual uphill climb. And our hurt makes us irritable, discouraged, and very difficult to live with. Some have just flat-out been overwhelmed by life, wayward kids, financial pressures, loss, health problems, and demanding work schedules. Take an inventory. What stresses have been tearing at your relationship since you married?


Satan is the great confuser and the ultimate liar. He magnifies our weaknesses and fears and uses them as wedges that come between us. Peter described the evil one as a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). And he’s out to take as big a bite as he can out of your marriage.


Here are a few of the most common: Marriage will complete me. —Life will be easy now. —My spouse won’t hurt me. —Love will keep us together.

Marriage brings together two people who have many human frailties that are at first magnified, then hopefully, in Christ, strengthened into godly traits. But it takes a lot of humility, grace, and constant work at understanding what’s reasonable for you and your spouse to expect from each other.


In our marriage we don’t really want to hurt each other. But we do. We fail each other. We say hurtful words. Marriage was designed to be a team effort, one of loving and giving, of making a commitment to our mate. But selfishness, so rampant in our culture, creates an “island of me,” when we should be sharing the “island of we.”


A lot of our behavior is influenced by scripts that were written for us long ago. For instance, if one or both of our parents abandoned us when we were children, we’ll live today as if we expect those we love to abandon us in the here and now. We need, therefore, to look for those elements of our lives that are unresolved —physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; the effects of parental divorce. Then we need to deal with those losses and hurts in sound, biblical ways.


Intimacy takes time, but when we live in the fast lane, intimacy falls by the wayside. For example, maybe we think a date night will solve our problems. But what happens on date nights when things haven’t been going well? One lousy night! The result is loneliness, anger, feelings of rejection, and sorrow. A natural response to this pain is to create a gap between you and your partner—which can pave the way for destructive cycle of conflict and distancing.”

As we look upon the “disaffection” that occurs so easily in our marriages, especially in today’s world, we’re reminded of the scripture verse that says, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).

How much this needs to be ingrained in our thinking and lifestyle choices! In my (Cindy’s) prayer time, as I was praying for my husband Steve, I came upon a prayer that’s so appropriate for today’s message. It reads:

“Lord, don’t let our marriage conform to the patterns of the world. Let us be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Let us abide in your will ALL of our days. So be it!”

Is that your prayer? We hope it is and recommend that you look over the pressures listed above and ask God to talk to your heart and show you if there is anything you can change that is causing darkness within your marriage. Work to be a “lamp lighter for Christ” poking holes in the darkness that the enemy of our faith works relentlessly to bring into your home.

Added Resources

To help you deal with disaffection this Christmas season and beyond, here are some resources to prayerfully read:

From the web site, please read: Are You Satisfied with Christmas?

• Also, from the web site, please read: Increase the Affection in Your Marriage.

And on the web site, please read: How to Meet the Need for Affection.

As for your own “role” in all of this, during this Christmas season, as “peace on earth” is being emphasized, we encourage you to pray the words of the psalmist in Psalm 139:23-24). Search me O God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

As We pray for you this week,May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5-6).

Steve and Cindy Wright

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Filed under: Marriage Messages

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6 responses to “How Disaffection Starts – MM #72

  1. (NORTH AMERICA)  You know, today I really felt the effects of dissatisfaction that has creeped into our marriage. I feel my spouse has become distant and I’m failing more and more to get through to him and have him understand. When we discuss an issue it’s such an uphill task, and we don’t really seem to get to a conclusion where we can say we both agree to try it out. I feel continuously condemned to things of the past.

    Yes, we have done things in the past that have led both of us to hurt. But when I think I’ve done my best to move forward I get thrown back and told that you are still the same person and now I don’t know whether it’s still worth pursuing a relationship with him or not. I feel he has already established a moral high ground for himself and has resigned not to be involved or to even try to reslove issues, and I really am trying. I am super lost right now as to how to go about getting my marriage on track. The problem is I feel my husband has all the answers and he arm twists to get his desired result. I’m slow to react and by the time it hits me, we have made it to a certain step and it begins another whirlwind to try and resolve the issue again.

    1. (USA)  I think I understand how you feel. It is so difficult when even talking about an issue is an uphill battle. Good luck. I hope that things get better…

  2. (USA)  My husband and I are so distant right now. He is out of work and I don’t think that it’s helped the situation any. He doesn’t want to talk about it either. I feel like he doesn’t like me anymore and I don’t know how to communicate with him. Everytime I try to discuss something serious, I feel like he is looking down his nose at me… like what I have to say isn’t important enough to be discussed.

    To top it off he’s talking to other people, but not to me about things. I feel like an outsider looking in. I don’t know what to do. I don’t feel like he is nice to me most of the time. I’m just here…

    1. (USA)  I been through a stormy marriage, & everything is going very well & wish to stay like this forever. I love him more now than ever. In the last couple years our life was kind of crazy; problems makes you stronger… sometimes. He was out of job for a year, our house got hit of tornado, after a year I got sick and told I had cancer. I’m ok now; I had a stem cell transplant last year.

      Last year my husband found his school mates @ myspace. He’s been talking to his ex, just as a friend & I told him ok. But after a while, I noticed him being distance from me, & demanding privacy. I thought we had the best marriage back then, but found out he wasn’t happy. I looked around at how often they talk, thru emails, cellphone. I was shocked & got very angry. I said words that hurt. He told on his emails to her, that he’s tired of me; he’s leaving me.

      Oh, gosh… I cried every night for weeks… I told his mom every bit of what I found. His Mom told me to start going to church. & I did. I started praying & reading the Bible. I pray for us everyday & night to be a better husband & wife, to bless our love to each other, to grow more & more everyday. I was angry with his friend (girl) for a while & now I pray for her. We started going to church & Bible study TOGETHER.

      GOD loves us. It does’nt matter how many sins or mistakes we do everyday. All I can tell you is just love your spouse & don’t expect anything back. After a while you’ll feel his love & GOD’s love. It’s better to be nice than to be right. NEVER bring up any old issues; just keep it to yourself. Talk to GOD about it instead. Praying together is the best, praying for each other is great too.

      Remember, GOD loves us. He gave his only son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sin.

  3. (USA)  During 38 yrs of marriage my husband has been addicted to porn. He secretly built up a huge file of porn and looked at it when kids and I were away from the home. He sat in his locked office during holiday times w/it too. It came to my attention several times over the yrs and after a confrontation his responses ranged from “if you’re on a diet you can still look at the menu”, “guys just do this” to “I promise I won’t do it again ever.” I mustered up trust even when he called a hooker twice while on military duty in Vegas. Now I’ve learned he was arrested for soliciting a hooker in past years too and had his brother cover up his fine.

    I’m not a dishrag, just someone who believed in family and wanted to do the best w/what I had. The externals were good. Great kids. They are grown and now this arrest thing pops up. Doubt he quit after that one, just didn’t get caught again. It’s killing me to take the right steps cause I’ve been trying all my adult life to do the right thing to build a good family.

  4. (UGANDA)  I’m so glad I came across this article today because at many times when couples are unhappy counsellors think there is a sex issue. Meanwhile you both know that you are having sex and that can’t be the problem.

    My spouse and I have been suffering from dissatisfaction since we got married up to now. I know its the devil playing on us; I can feel him. He is constantly in our bedroom in our house and I pray hard. Yes I do. But sometimes he overpowers me especially when I am angry.

    My question is: can blood line also contribute to marital problems because I have read a book by Joel Osteen talking about the power of the bloodline. My hubby comes from a family of failed marriages from four fathers all the way down. Could this be one of the reasons of dissatisfaction in our marriage – the power of the blood line? If it is, how can me and him stop this blood line in our family?