Have you ever been in a stuffy room and find yourself needing a breath of fresh air? All you can think about is how badly you just need to take a big breath of clean, fresh air! Just thinking about it consumes your every thought. And then when you’re able to get it—what sweet relief!
I remember when I was younger being in a car (many times) where my mom was smoking. What I wouldn’t have done for just one good inhale of fresh air! The stale, smoky air was stifling! To this day I’ll never forget it!
I’ve also been in some pretty hot rooms where all I’ve wanted to do was stand in front of a fan, or an air conditioner for even a few minutes! Have you experienced this? The other night I was so warm. I felt like I was suffocating. So, I walked out into the fresh evening air, and took a deep breath. It brought so much relief! Suddenly all was better!
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Need Fresh Air in Marriage?
I/we started thinking about this after reading a blog that our friend Debi Walter (from The Romantic Vineyard ministry) wrote titled, The Need for Fresh Air. She wrote about this very same issue. She talked about getting together with friends and enjoying the fresh air of “fellowship and worship.” It left her refreshed. And then she pointed this to marriage.
“It’s the same in marriage. We need to pull away and breathe fresh air into our relationship from time to time. It takes intentionality in order to discover what it is that helps us both feel refreshed and renewed. How do you know when fresh air is lacking?
• Everything has a staleness to it. Your schedule, your conversation, your thoughts, your prayers.
• What normally comes easily seems strained. It may be talking about the schedule, finances, parenting or finding time to enjoy sexual intimacy.
• You notice what is wrong with your spouse more than what they are doing right.
• Temptations are stronger to pull away from each other rather than leaning in.
• There is a growing discontent with life in general.
“These are just a few indicators that you need to pause and breathe some fresh air into your marriage. Some people ignore these indicators. They instead try to produce artificial remedies. This is like spraying your home with Febreze [an artificial air “freshener”] and thinking you’ve fixed the smell. All you have done is cover-up what is obviously needing attention.
“Don’t fake fresh air. The only one you hurt is yourself. Instead set aside time to pull away together and talk about those things bothering you. This needs to be a planned time—not spontaneous. This is to guarantee you are both ready to engage in the conversation. If you have the means for a getaway this is even better; but it’s not necessary. We all require fresh air to grow strong marriages.”
Breathing in Fresh Air
We couldn’t agree more! Every marriage goes through its ups and downs. And tucked in between those times there will be occasions where your marriage feels stale. You feel like you can’t breathe. Or maybe you feel like the air between you will never be healthy again. But those can be deceiving thoughts.
Please don’t buy that lie. You CAN experience newness in your relationship again. But sometimes it takes a lot more time and effort to get to that place than you may want to put into it. However, (most times) you CAN get to a place where you can breathe new air into your marriage. And when you do, you sure don’t want to miss that!
SO MANY spouses give up on their marriages just before the going can get good again. We’ve seen this happen time and again. In fact, we’ve even been there ourselves. But we can assure you that it IS possible to breathe fresh air into stale marriages. With God all things are possible!
And that takes us to an important point we want to add to Debi’s excellent tips. Yes, get away and make it a point to talk to each other in intentional ways. You can breathe new life into your relationship by doing so. (We’ve done this many times; so, we know this plan works.) But make sure you talk to God first.
Talk to God First and Then Each Other
We know Debi enough to know that this is her approach too. We just want to put voice to it here. Sometimes we do too much horizontal talking to each other, and not enough vertical talking to God. And/or we talk to each other before we’re in a better place, which can be AFTER we talk to God.
Author Gary Thomas wrote about this in his excellent book, A Lifelong Love. He said,
“We can either keep trying to transform our marriages by asking our spouses to meet our needs, or we can turn for provision to the God who promised to ‘pour out ‘His Spirit on all who seek Him for what they need.
“Which do you think is the better use of your energy and effort? Compare how many times you have said to your spouse, ‘We need to talk,’ to the number of times you have knelt before your heavenly Father and said, ‘I need your help in my marriage.’
“Be wary of trying to ‘talk it out’ with your spouse before you’ve ‘prayed it out’ with your God.”
That is so, so true! We’ve each attempted to talk to each other when we‘ve felt we’ve needed more than we’re getting. And sometimes it works. But when God is involved—when we’ve talked to God first, asking for insight, and help, it’s amazing the way God directs our words, along with our actions. It’s also amazing how wise He is in how He directs the timing of our talks, and how He changes us, our outlook, and the health of our marriage in the process. You talk about breathing fresh air into a situation! God truly is amazing!
Breathing Fresh Air Within Marriage
Gary Thomas gives another related tip on breathing new air into a stale marriage and sustaining its freshness. He writes about this in an article he wrote recently:
“Those who are able to sustain a cherishing marriage with an imperfect spouse (of course there are no perfect spouses) meditate often on the kindness and grace of God; those who give up cherishing their spouse meditate often on the faults and failures of their spouse. A high-functioning marriage depends largely on what direction our minds are pointed. ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your minds.‘ (Romans 12:2) … I’m not advocating the power of positive thinking; I’m advocating the power of focusing on God.” (From Gary’s article, Think About It: Who You Focus on is Who You Love)
And then, here are two more quick, closing thoughts on this matter concerning focusing on God and proceeding from that stance so you truly do breathe fresh air into your relationship. Talk to God, and then talk to each other in positive, life breathing ways:
“When you’re positive, it’s a breath of fresh air to your mate. Plus it makes it easier to live with yourself. When you focus on your [spouse’s] strengths, you change the dynamic of your home for the good. As Dr. Gary Chapman says, ‘Focus on one positive thing and another will appear. In the darkest night of a troubled marriage, there’s always a flickering light. Focus on that light and it will eventually flood the room.’” (Arlene Pellicane, from the Crosswalk.com article, “Five Keys of Happiness”)
“You’ve probably read Philippians 4:8 several times or even memorized it; but have you ever directly applied it to your spouse? ‘Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, dwell on these things.’” (Linda Dillow)
We pray you will!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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