“Meeting important emotional needs creates the feeling of love, but thoughtfulness keeps it alive.” – Willard F. Harley, Jr.
It had been a long day.
Wife– I was up a couple times in the middle of the night feeding the baby while he slept. As I rolled back into bed exhausted, his snoring kept me awake even longer. A few hours later, our daughter came romping in our room ready to start the day. With husband gone for work and the baby snoozing quietly it was time to get up. Mom, Mom, Mom. All day…Mom.
Husband– I didn’t sleep well. Work and its issues had me tossing and turning most the night. Deadlines. Pleasing the bosses. Providing for my family…and the fears of failure, those are the thoughts that keep me up at night. Then I work. I give it everything I have. Live up to what everyone wants. Live up to expectations. Don’t fail. Don’t fail.
When husband gets home from work he walks into madness. Dinner cooking, baby rocking (crying) in the swing and daughter jumping off couch into his arms. A quick side glance to me at the stove and a nod of “Hey“- we enter into our evening…surviving. He plays with daughter while I get dinner on the table and baby still swinging, still crying.
We have yet to touch. We have yet to connect. He’s been home 30 minutes.
We eat. We do bath times and bed times.
He’s been home 2 hours. We have yet to touch. We have yet to connect.
Kids are finally asleep and it’s quiet. Now is our time.
We plop onto the couch. What show? What do we do to pass the time?
We don’t connect. We don’t touch. We. Are. Stuck.
This is life…it’s not bad, it’s just our season. But it’s not good for us. A little bit of space leads to a lot of time lost. A lot of time lost can lead to loneliness, bitterness, resentment, and discontentment. It’s so easy to let this become our lives. It’s so easy to get into routines that we miss the holiness, the greatness of these moments. It’s in the routines- that if left for a long period of time- we become stuck in a certain place in our marriages that can lead to some pretty dangerous territory.
Eve experienced this when she wondered off from Adam and entered a trap by the serpent. He simply made her believe the lie that somehow her life wasn’t the “best it could be” and that there had to be something “better”.
The Way Forward
Marriages were specifically designed for supporting one another. God actually said “It isn’t good for man to be alone.” Yet when we get stuck in marriage it is usually because we are operating in our alone-ness and not our togetherness.
We are designed to take care of each other’s hearts. It doesn’t always have to be date nights and expensive trips to do so. Here are three easy practical ways to move out of the soulstuck places in our marriages.
1)Give your spouse the first moments.
Before my husband leaves for work each morning he kisses me and tells me he loves me. When he gets home from work he gives me his attention first. A hug, a kiss and a “How was your day?”. Quick but extremely effective. It sets the tone for our evening. And on the nights that this happens we tend to act more like a team & interesting enough it leads us into more conversations.
- On the evenings where we are feeling a little more up to it, we turn off the TV and we give each other face time. We talk about our days in a quiet setting. I let him talk. He lets me talk. We don’t try to fix and rescue the other, we just share. When you are starting off doing this for the first time give yourself a time period…15-30 minutes. If it goes longer- GREAT! Do it a couple times a week and your time will progress.
2. Give your spouse some physical touch/presence.
On the evenings where life is happening and there’s nothing left to give…plop on the couch next to each other, hold hands or cuddle under a blanket. There is something about simply touching one another. Think about a new mother with her child. It enhances attachment between the mother and the baby. It lets the baby know that they are safe, that someone is there to care for them. We need this in our marriage. We need to know that the other person is there and that with them we are safe. This can happen with no words spoken and strictly by touching the other for a period of time each night.
- Even on a night where there is no downtime, when you get in bed cuddle up to one another, let your feet touch as you fall asleep. You have no idea how much the power of these acts can help enhance connection between you two.
3) And then finally pray together.
To be honest the husband and I did not know how to do this for a long time. It felt too intimate. Too vulnerable. I longed for it like water in the desert. I prayed to God for it. I remember vividly the first time he grabbed my hand before we drifted off to sleep and prayed the most simplistic beautiful prayer I had ever heard.
- When we are connected spiritually it leaves no room for the enemy to come in and whisper the lies to us that eventually lead us off course. It bonds us on the deepest level.
Try a 30 day commitment to do these steps with each other and see if it doesn’t change the state of your stuck-ness.
Chris and Lindsey Campbell run Live Restored Ministries, a non-profit 501c (3) ministry that is devoted to helping people live intentionally in all areas of their lives including relationships, finances, personal growth and healing from traumatic events. Chris and Lindsey are passionate about helping marriages overcome difficulties and even the worst of times. After an affair nearly ripped their marriage apart they share how God can heal, repair and restore no matter what the circumstance. They help others through counseling, providing resources and sharing their story through speaking events.