There’s something important that Sheila Gregoire and her husband Keith talked about in a Focus on the Family radio program. The title of the program is “Thinking Your Way to a Better Marriage.” In it, they discussed how married couples have a tendency to drift apart over time. That’s why it’s important to hold onto each other, much like sea otters do. Here’s a part of what they said:
Sheila: “Sea otters, when they sleep, hold paws. They lie on their back in the water and they hold paws. That’s so that in the morning, they don’t wake up miles apart [while sleeping in the ocean], because they’ve drifted. …It’s natural to drift apart. This is what people don’t get. We think that because we were best friends when we got married, we’ll be best friends forever. But no, you might start in the same place, but overnight you could end up miles away from each other if you don’t take care to hold paws. Just stay close. Do things that counter and fight against that drift.”
Do What You Can So You Don’t Drift Apart Permanently
Here’s a video of two otters who “get it” as far as the importance of holding onto each other:
Additionally, here’s what her husband Keith (a busy physician) pointed out for a couple who is “struggling in their marriage because they don’t get the time together, and the expectations are all blown up”:
Keith: “First of all, I think you have to have grace for each other. That’s because we have busy schedules. You need to be intentional. You need to carve out time, even if it’s just five minutes a day to say, where is your heart today? What’s happened that’s really weighed on you? What lifted you up and made you soar? Like tell me what’s going on inside you today?
…”Sometimes what made you soar was that you took the kids for 5 minutes around the block, so I got 5 minutes of quiet. But just connect each day. It doesn’t have to be big things. People talk about having a date night every week. But so many people find that more stressful, because you’ve got to make all these plans. I think on a daily basis, you just need to spend time with each other.”
Prevent the Drift
And that’s the point we hope to get across in this Marriage Insight. Please don’t allow, or don’t keep allowing yourselves to drift apart. Life will naturally take you in different directions. You have to make a point to connect with each other, even if it’s just little pockets of time you spend together. Here are 3 questions we ask each other each day and discuss:
• Did anything positive or exciting happen to you today?
• Did anything sad or disappointing happen today?
• What did God show you NEW today?
You BOTH need to decide what will work for you. It doesn’t matter what other couples do. Determine together what will work for the both of you. And that’s the important point. Talk together about this (during a non-conflict, which isn’t a H.A.L.T. time). Compromise if you have to, but find ways to speak love into each other’s lives. so you connect together in meaningful ways on a regular basis.
If one or both of you feels most connected to your spouse by going out together to dances, movies, romantic get aways, fancy restaurants, or such, then make this happen. But if one or both of you feels connected in your relationship by doing quieter things then make that happen. If one spouse is quieter and yet the other likes more social events for you to go together, then find ways to give each of you your desires for this. It’s not all supposed to go towards one spouse’s desires. Fulfill a combination of both spouse’s wishes. Work together on this. It’s a matter of marrying your ways.
If you need help from a mentor couple or counselor to help you work this through, then don’t hesitate. Just make sure you both are able to connect together in ways that are meaningful for both of you.
And one last point —find ways to laugh together. Research shows that the couples that pray together, pray for each other, and also those who laugh together have the healthiest marriages (they also have more fun). There’s something about laughing together that cements your relationship even deeper. That makes it easier to survive the tougher times as marriage partners.
Surviving the Daily Grind
In an Internet article titled, “Love, Laughter and Marriage: Why Laughter is Vital to a Healthy Relationship” (author isn’t given), the point is made that within marriage:
“Over time and as the relationship becomes an ingrained part of the daily grind we call life, the union that once offered a thrilling, now becomes more associated with the reality of stress. This is especially the case when most of your time spent together involves navigating the pressures and stresses of life, without the respite of playfulness. Shared pleasures are often lost as couples forget to balance the stressful and the pleasurable. Learning to laugh together—setting the goal to make each other smile and laugh—breaks the negativity that can wear down your relationship.”
So hold on, talk, pray, connect and laugh together. This can help you to beat the “natural drifting apart” phenomenon. To the best of your ability don’t let it happen to you. And if it has… then today can be a new beginning. Work on drifting back together. We have many articles posted in the Romantic Ideas and Communication Tools topic of our web site, which can help you in this mission. :)
Cindy and Steve Wright
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