Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Breaking the Orbit of Marital Distance

How well do you know your spouse's favorites? When's the last time you've talked about your bucket list or at least some dreams you still have for life and marriage? Do you regularly have time to look each other in the eye and talk about what's going on in your heart?

If you're like most couples you do too little of any of these. Why? Because you don't care about favorites, dreams and one another's hearts? Probably not. It's more likely that you're just too busy and in an orbit of life from day to day and week to week that is hard to alter. You go to work, get the kids to school, come home exhausted, perhaps run to a child's activity or a church function, do what you can to get yourselves fed and try to get ready for another day.

Who's got time for anything more? Who can afford another hour to talk with your spouse? And yet the more important question is: can we afford not to meaningfully connect with each other? I would suggest we can't. Not if our marriages are going to stay whole, dynamic and growing. And you probably even feel a need, perhaps a longing for more, but you're not sure how to make it happen.

The key is that we have to do something fundamentally different and inject some new ways of behaving or different energy into our orbit or nothing will change.

So what might that look like? I'm sure you can come up with other creative ideas but let me suggest a few starting points.

First, decide what you can give up. Perhaps the kids don't need to do everything they do. (And yes, they won't die if they miss out on one sport or special class.) Maybe one of your hobbies can go or be cut back. Maybe you're doing one too many things at church (yes, a pastor actually said that). Chances are someone else at your church is just waiting to do what you do anyway.

In addition, take inventory of how you spend lots of little segments of time. For example, we can watch a couple of hours of TV here, spend an hour online there and before you know it we've given up a lot of time that could be better spent on relationships.

Second, start putting times to be together on your calendar. Make them the norm, not the exception. It might just be an hour or less each night, part of a day during the week or a special day each month for starters. Make time for your relationship as important as anything else on your schedule - and it is you know! Yes, things will come up and cause you to miss but once it becomes a habit you find yourself anticipating the next time.

Our day together has been Mondays for awhile which also gives us a break from weekends in ministry that are typically pretty full. However, just last week one of my coworkers asked if I could attend a meeting on a Monday night. It was for a good cause and related to a ministry we're going to start this fall. I thought about it but said "no." Once you get a taste of a good thing it helps make it easier to protect.

Finally, start praying with each other on a regular basis. There's something about connecting spiritually that helps bring our souls together. If you're not in the habit of doing this let me give you a starting point. Commit to praying together for just one minute every day for thirty days. Yes, just one minute. Whether it's on your way out the door or before going to sleep it doesn't matter. You'll find that this little moment, tiny oasis in your day will start to bring you closer together in ways you couldn't imagine.

Yes you can get out of the orbit of distance in your marriage. Fire some rockets to get you moving even if the movement seems slow and inconsequential. It's time to come down to earth and get closer!
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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