I hate divorce. I hate hearing that a couple I know has decided to give in and call it quits. I hate the pain it brings on both sides, not to mention how it affects the kids involved. And you know what it all comes down to in most cases? Lack of pursuit. At some point in the marriage, one or both sides decided that other things (life, work, golf, etc) were worth pursuing more than their mate. Now yes, there are other reasons for divorce (cheating, abuse, etc), but I wonder how many could have been prevented if there was a conscious effort by husband and wife, to continue to really pursue the other person, just like they did before they walked down that aisle, and maybe even for the first few years after the wedding. While this could apply to both husband and wife, I’m addressing the husbands in this post, so buckle up guys. 🙂
What do I mean by pursue? I mean this – Remember before you got married? Remember how it was when you were first dating? It didn’t matter if you were at work, or playing ball with the guys, or whatever, you had her on your mind. You were always thinking about the next time you would see her, or what you could do to be romantic, or what little gift you wanted to surprise her with. You were trying to win her heart. You were trying to make her think that you would stop at nothing to make her feel special, and want to spend the rest of her life with you. You were constantly pursuing the goal of winning her heart.
Now fast forward to 5, 10, or even 20 years of marriage. Somehow, and maybe even without meaning to, “life” started to creep in. Since you had already “won” her heart now (come on, you spent all that money on the ring for crying out loud!), your male “once I’m done with one task, I move to the next one” mind started to kick in, and suddenly that amazing girl who used to occupy 95% of your waking thoughts (and some of your sleeping ones too), now was now buried somewhere after the golf game on Saturday, your goals at your job, and trying to raise 2 or 3 small kids while maintaining some sort of sanity. Somewhere along the way the pursuit slowed, or maybe even stopped.
My dad used to say “you lose what you don’t appreciate”. When I was a kid, I used to roll my eyes when he said that, because most times when it was said, I had just gotten scolded for not taking care of something, and it had gotten damaged or ruined. We have to realize guys (and the sooner the better), we can’t just say “I do”, and then put the gear shift into neutral, and hope to cost the rest of the way on the “we’re in love, so what could happen” feeling. As husbands, we have to continue to do those things we did when we won her heart! And “but I just don’t feel like it” is just lazy. Our wives don’t want to feel like they come in on our priority list right after getting the garbage to the curb every Wednesday night! They want to know we’re still crazy about them! They want to be the apple of our eye, just like they were in the early days.
“But I say I love you all the time!” Yeah, but do your actions line up with your words? We all love the old saying “talk is cheap”, but oh how true it is! If you’re saying “I love you baby! I really want to spend time with you!” on your way to the golf course, she’s probably not going to put much stock in what you’re saying. Look for ways to say “I love you, and you’re still everything to me”. I’m not going to list out a “top ten romantic ways to tell your wife you love her” either, because all wives are different! You’re going to have to think back (come on, you can do it) to your dating days and remember the little things. That place you used to take her to watch the stars (even thought you spent most of the time looking at her). The hangout you used to always go to and get the corner booth. The coffee you used to bring her at work, even though her work was 10 miles out of your way. You get the idea.
As I’ve watched marriage after marriage of people I know break up, I wonder. I wonder at what point it started to break down. At what point this couple who was by their own admissions “madly in love with each other” just a few years earlier, now can’t stand each other. When did the nights of cuddling on the couch every night and sharing each other’s heart in conversation, get traded for him staying up to work, and her going to bed early? When did the priorities shift? I bet if you asked the couple, they couldn’t pinpoint a time or date it started happening. It just did. Over the years, pursuit was lost, and along with it, sadly, the marriage was too.
Does it take a little effort to continue to pursue your wife’s heart throughout the ups and downs of your marriage? Sure it does! But the when the alternative is being in a marriage where a slow acting poison called “inactivity” is killing it, it should be an easy choice to make. We can’t settle for normal guys! Our wives deserve BETTER than normal! Be the man that your wife fell in love with in the first place. Be a husband that pursues his wife!