Having a good marriage is hard work. You’ve probably figured out that by now. It takes two people who are willing to put each other first. It takes prayer. It takes two people who fight tooth and nail to keep their marriage strong – against all odds, against all things that might pose a threat to it. So, are we then asking ourselves the question daily:
“What am I doing to ACTIVELY PROTECT my marriage?”
It’s not enough to just sit around and hope that your marriage stays strong. I believe we have to make a CHOICE to constantly WORK on making our marriages better, and protecting them from the negative influences that are so common in our world today. Even if your marriage is AMAZING right now, we can’t let ourselves fall for the lie that says “there’s no way our marriage could fall prey to attack, we’re doing great!” We have to be proactive in keeping our marriage STRONG.
While this sounds great to say, it’s not as easy to actually put into practice. It’s kind of like staying in shape – you can talk about it all you want, but until you get up earlier and start exercising every morning, you’re not going to stay fit. Does it suck having to get up earlier and go jogging? Let me tell you – YES it does! There are some days you don’t want to even drag yourself out of bed, let alone put on your shoes and go running. Some thing goes for working on your relationship and keeping it safe from attack. Sometimes it’s not fun to force yourself to “talk out” a problem with your spouse, instead of just burying it and watching TV. It takes work!
Remember when you were a little boy, and you would build castles in the sand, or out of blocks? Man, I would spend some time on those when I was a kid! I would get it all just like I wanted it, and then stand back, and admire what I had built. But then came the part of protecting it against damage – whether it be from my little sister (sorry sis), or from the waves coming up trying to wash my hard work all away. I would pretend that I was a soldier standing on the wall of my castle, looking for anything that may come to destroy it. Are we “standing on the wall” of our marriages”? And do we even know what we’re looking for? Here are a few that I’ve had to watch for in my marriage –
- Busyness – getting so busy with “must do” stuff, that we don’t have time for each other anymore. We become “roommates” instead of husband and wife.
- Porn/Erotica – Like I talk about in my posts “Porn; It’s Ruining Your Marriage”, and “Fifty Shades of Danger”, it’s hard enough to foster a great sexual relationship with your spouse, without bringing other influences into your marriage bed. You might think it’s not a big deal, or even “helps” your sex life. But, like I heard somebody say the other day – “not all poisons are fast acting”. Just because you don’t see it effecting you right now, doesn’t mean it won’t later.
- Too much kids, not enough “us” – We all love our kids, but we need to put our marriage BEFORE the kids. Now don’t throw your stones at me yet, hear me out. If you marriage isn’t good, then your parenting will suffer also. The kids can tell when mom and dad aren’t as close as they should be, and there becomes a tension in the home that is not fun to be around. You HAVE to make time for a date night, and time together each week! When we started doing this, the kids not only benefited by my wife and I being in better moods, but they started noticing that our marriage was IMPORTANT to us, and said stuff like “when are you going on date night again?” Your kids are smart. Remember, these are the same kids who figured out how the baby gate works, while we were still reading the instructions (or maybe that’s just my kids). They can figure out if mom and dad’s relationship is doing well or not.
- Unresolved conflict – This one is a lot larger issue than we may think. It’s the “little things” that add up, like the sharp comment on the drive to church, or the little remark here or there, usually followed by the awkward silence. Most of the time we may not respond at the time, choosing to “be the bigger person” (or so we convince ourselves), but we tend to keep a “mental note” each time our wives do something. After a few days, those “notes ” pile up, and we’re holding them against her more than we think. Instead, what if we dealt with the issue at the time? Otherwise, they end up piling up until we finally have had enough, and then here comes the big argument that really isn’t about what set it off at all, but instead about the little things we chose not to deal with at the time. Big intimacy killer.
- Lack of touch – Not sexual, just loving touch. How long has it been since you took a walk and held hands like when you were dating? How about on the couch when you’re watching TV? During the day when you’re both home together, do you stop for an embrace every once in a while? These things all go towards feeling more connected before you ever arrive in the bedroom.
- Bad Sex Life – I had to mention this, because I’ve heard way to many comments from way to many couples that they have sex 2 or 3 times a month, or I read about one couple who had it 3 times in a year. Wow! Really? If I had to describe the role sex plays in a marriage, I would say you could compare it to the role oil plays in the engine of a car (ok, so I like car analogies). Without a good sex life your marriage (engine) will begin to overheat, little things will annoy you much more than they did before, and you will start to feel more like a “live-in” than a married couple. God designed sex to be the glue that helps hold a marriage together. Without it, it’s MUCH harder to stay emotionally close, and feel connected to your wife. I could go into this much deeper, but that’s a subject for another day. Just know that a good sex life is not easy to have or keep going, but is critical to the overall success/closeness of the relationship.
- Relationships at work – I believe it’s way too easy to become “flirty” or talk about issues in your marriage, with girls you work with. It’s way to easy to say rationalize in our minds that “It’s no big deal, I have to talk to her – I work with her after all”, or “It’s not flirting, we just giving each other a hard time at work”. We need to have a sharp eye out for what is, and what is not appropriate, to be discussing/doing with a woman other than our wives. You should not be finding an emotional connection with other women. It’s a slippery slope, and while you may say “there’s no way it would never happen to me, I would never cheat on my wife”, time after time I read stories about people who said the very same thing, and yet ended up in a hotel room. Remember, PRO-active. It’s a little late to try and put out the flames, after half the house has already burned down. Let’s stop it before the match is even lit.
What are some issues you have found that need to be “watched for” from the wall of your marriage?
What is your biggest re-occurring struggle in marriage? How have you found success in dealing with it?