We need to understand that a good marriage doesn’t deteriorate overnight. It diminishes gradually.
There are probably lots of reasons, but on closer scrutiny, a few common patterns can be seen in “marriages on the rocks”.
Couples, often unintentionally and unknowingly, end up destroying their own marriages. Let me address this post to those who might be in a season of doing just that.
Here are five ways you may be destroying your marriage:
Other interests come between you.
When a couple is in a season when they are not communicating well, life will get to be stressed and there is always the danger of a friendly voice or a pretty smile outside of the home saying an affirming word catching one’s attention. Happens every day.
It could be a relationship—even good relationships like children or other friends—or a hobby,work, or something that gets a higher priority than the marriage. There was probably once a time when the couple could “take on the world”. Nothing could come between them and they were inseparable. But, somehow, slowly,other things began to grab one or both of the partner’s attention. Outside distractions will destroy a good marriage.
I have also seen solid couples who once were so committed to the church. It was a stabilising place for them. They found their friends there and their weekly encouragement. Gradually they get off track and are infrequent attendees at best. It provides a door for the enemy.
Are there distractions coming between you and your marriage?
Every couple is different—and every individual. I have found there is often one who doesn’t mind conflict and one who runs from it. There may be one who is bothered by little things and one whom nothing seems to disturb. Cupboards continually left slightly open or clothes on the floor can prove to be a major problem if never addressed. And, there are all kinds of combinations in between.
But, when the conflict develops, there is some point at which it must be addressed. Pain, if hidden, never disappears on its own. The sad thing is that many couples simply don’t know how to address conflict. (Get help if you don’t.)
Conflict, if left unattended sometimes sits like it never existed. But it does. Someone is holding on to it. Trust me. And, the longer it sits the deeper is the gulf that it causes. Someone reading this may be allowing an injury from years ago to continue to haunt you. Your spouse may not even know the hurt is still there. Talk to your spouse…Spit it out…Don’t give a foothold to the enemy, satan.
The couple stops dreaming together.
People planning to get married and those in the early days of marriage have lots of dreams together. They discuss their future. They dream about where they will live and travel. They dream about family and adventure. It’s an energy which fuels the relationship. When the dreaming stops, it has the potential to take the life out of a marriage.
Many times we get so distracted with life stuff—children, work, paying the bills—it becomes all we have to talk about anymore. Those things we once dreamed about are replaced with current demands. This is natural, but it can kill a marriage.
When is the last time you spent time talking about the future—your future as a couple?
This is one of the leading causes of marriages falling apart. Couples quit having romantic moments—quit laughing—quit having fun together. They get caught in the routines and busyness of life. Boredom sets in and the closeness they once shared begins to drift. The enemy loves this and suddenly one or both spouses seek excitement elsewhere. This can prove to be very dangerous.
Do you remember when you once couldn’t wait to see your spouse again? You were newly involved and they were the first person you thought about in the morning and the last person at night? What was it about them which captured your attention about them? Chances are it’s still there—you simply haven’t noticed in a while.
When is the last time you really, really laughed with your spouse? When was the last time you remember the marriage being “fun”?
Living separate agendas.
It’s OK to have separate identities. It’s OK to have separate interests. I would even encourage it. It keeps things interesting. But, it’s not OK to have separate agendas. The agenda of a marriage should be two very different people blending those differences into one. When this is not happening—the strength of the marriage will slowly—or quickly—fade.
Is it time to get back on the same page with each other? Many a time couples need to set aside time to reconnect and get realigned with where they are as a couple and where they are going.
It will take intentionality on the part of both the partners to address these issues. But, a good marriage is worth the effort.
I’m praying for your marriage—as I continue to pray for mine. Stand firm.
Write a comment if you can add on something that might help someone….