Married Strangers: Same House, But Alone

Married strangers - Dollar Photo Married Couple having relationship problemsDo you feel like you are in a marriage where you feel very alone? You feel as if you are married strangers. You are living in the same house, but you are more of roommates, than married lovers. If you do, please continue reading.

I’ve been going through a devotional book that I picked up at a resale event. How I wish it were one that is still on sale in bookstores. That is because I’d recommend that women get it. (Perhaps you can pick it up used somewhere.) It’s published by Broadman & Holman Publishers and is titled, “Women of Character.”

I’m enjoying each inspirational reading, which highlights various women of the Bible. But the one I read today, I find especially interesting. It’s true, especially as it applies to marriage.

Unattended Marriage

This particular page highlights some of the events in the life of Rebekah. (This was told in Genesis 27, concerning her life with her husband Isaac and their sons Esau and Jacob). Within what is written, there is a section titled, “Look at It This Way.” It gives the following challenge:

“Remember the Rebekah we met back in Genesis 24? The sweet little Hebrew girl who went out of her way to serve Abraham’s messengers? She was even drawing up enough buckets to cool off all ten of his camels? (Have you seen how much they can drink?) Look at her now [as seen in Genesis 27]. It just goes to show you what can happen when we leave our marriages unattended, unfed, and uncultivated.

“People who once pledged their love at the altar can become strangers living in the same house.”

The question is then asked:

“What are you doing to keep that from happening to you?”

That’s a GREAT question, challenging all of us, who are married. I’m including(my husband Steve and me, as well. We can fall into the same traps of “busyness” as anyone else. It also goes along with Marriage Message #234 – Alone Together.

We may start out great when we marry, but then, as we go about building a life and family together, we can so easily fall into the trap of overlooking to tend to our love relationship with each other. As a result, our marriage relationships can starve to death, from lack of attention (just as anything that needs cultivating). And the love we had for each other can turn sour and bitter, and spouses can become lonely, even though they occupy the same house.

I hope that this isn’t happening to you. If so, consider this a wake-up call. Do what you can to try to build good feelings and memories today. You can’t continue to feed on the feelings and memories of the past and expect the “supply” to never dry up.

To add to this wake-up call, below are additional thoughts to consider.

Married Strangers Don’t Have to Stay That Way:

• “Spouses become lonely because one or both partners focus most of their energy on something other than their mate. Their communication dwindles to ‘what’s for supper?” ‘Where’s the mail?’ and ‘here’s what I’m doing this weekend.’ Without communication, there can be no emotional connection. And without a strong emotional connection, there can be no relationship.

“Many marriages are on the rocks because couples have drifted apart and have little or no sense of connection and intimacy. Learn to be intentional in seeking ongoing connection and attachment with your spouse. Be proactive in this area. You can’t expect to change your spouse, but you can actively work on creating affectionate, warm, and encouraging environments in your home, which can have a huge influence on him or her.” (Jim Burns, gleaned from Growthtrac article, “Mistakes That Can Sink Your Marriage”)

Prayerfully Consider:

• “If you don’t feel the love you once had for your spouse, go back to treating them the way you did at first: Plan a romantic date they’d enjoy. – Go out of your way to bless them in a meaningful way. – Listen to your spouse with eye contact. No distractions. – Pray for them. – Do something for them so they don’t have to, like the dishes or wash the car. – Call during the day just to say you miss them.” It can rebuild love. (Debi Walter, from Theromanticvineyard.com article, “Lost That Loving Feeling”)

• “Be a life-giver when it comes to how you speak to your spouse. Pray for wisdom and revelation of what heaven is saying about your spouse, about your circumstances and about your marriage. Agree with that. Out loud. And be A Treasure Hunter —We generally don’t have to work very hard to find negative stuff, but that isn’t what we want to agree with. Look for the good stuff, and amplify that with your words.” (Scott, gleaned from the Surrenderedmarriage.org article, “Power of Your Words)

• Connect and reconnect:

“When you were single, dating was a time to talk, laugh, and have fun together. You took time to learn more about each other, about your past and your dreams for the future. But here’s the deal, now that you’re married, you need to do the same thing! You need to continue to talk, laugh and have fun together! You need to learn more about each other! Dating each other shouldn’t stop with marriage. (Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg, from the Crosswalk.com article, “How to Date Your Spouse”)

• “Your spouse needs to come to the top of your priority list —just a bubble behind Jesus. You need to give your spouse priority access to your time —instead of just the leftovers. Priority time for your spouse means occasional date nights and getaway weekends, but also smaller time slots, such as having dinner together, taking a brief walk, spending time talking, playing a game, or watching a favorite program together.” (Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg)

• “As in our garden, so, too, in our marriages. There are weeds that threaten a marriage garden. If you’ve been ignoring a taking-my-spouse-for-granted weed, pull it up now and fill the gaping hole with flowers of appreciation or thoughtful words of gratitude. If you’re stuck for words, close your eyes and imagine what you would have said in your courting days. Digging deep into that well will bring up sweet water.” (Alistair Begg, gleaned from the Familylife.com article, “3 Weeds to Pull From Your Marriage Garden”) 

Lastly:

• “Here’s an interesting question to ask your husband [or wife]: ‘What have I done in the past, that you liked, that I’ve stopped doing? Take the time to explore why you stopped doing it, how your lives have changed and how you might go about making that a part of your current situation.'” (Lori Byerly)

Let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). (1 John 3:18)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

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