Have you ever felt this way?
“I don’t really like my husband very much. He’s not . . . He doesn’t . . . He always . . .”
Or: “We just don’t seem to have fun anymore . . . Our marriage feels boring. I feel stuck. I don’t know what to do.”
If we are really honest, we must admit that we have all felt like this at different seasons!
I need to realize that my husband probably feels the same way about me from time to time.
Perhaps it’s time to enliven our relationship.
Here are 8 ideas that might help put the spark back into your marriage:
1. Recognize that you are both sinful people.
Our default viewpoint is most likely something like this: It’s your job to make me happy, to meet my needs.
Most often we don’t even realize we are operating with this in mind. We must realize that no one person can make us happy, fulfill all our needs. It’s too easy to look to another person to meet needs that we should be looking first to God to meet. He knows us best (Psalm 139) and He is the only one who loves us with a perfect love.
2. Don’t settle for being roommates.
It’s so easy to fall into this pattern. We are busy with our own careers and he with his. Kids are demanding. Obligations grow. We are tired — too tired to invest in our relationship. We think, It’s too much trouble. Things won’t change. It’s just not worth the effort. I’ll work on my marriage when life calms down.
But life does not calm down. It simply gets more complicated.
The reality is that our marriage is either growing or declining. It cannot remain static. The decline is likely to be very subtle, much like small weeds in a garden that at first glance don’t appear to be harmful but in time, if not pulled, they will choke out a beautiful plant.
3. Realize that we have an enemy who is against our marriage.
The devil is going to work to pull us apart. He is not for our marriage. Our marriage is to glorify God and He does not want that.
I remember a time when John and I were sitting on the couch at the end of the day having a nice conversation. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, we began to get into an argument. Our communication went from pleasant to miserable (ugly). It was as if a dark cloud had entered the room. My husband realized that the enemy had entered our space and was doing his best to pull us apart. Simply realizing this enabled us to pause and to pull together and grant grace to one another.
It’s helpful to realize that sometimes it’s not you or him that’s the problem but our common enemy.
4. Spend time with women who are for your marriage.
It’s too easy to be around women who bash husbands. Who complain to one another about their mates. Instead, we need to have girlfriends who will encourage our relationship with the Lord and our relationship with our husband.
I remember a conversation with my friend Anne. I was complaining about my husband John. She listened to me and empathized with my situation but then she looked me in the eye and said, “Susan what are you doing to grow closer to him?” That’s a good friend!
5. Choose laughter over frustration.
John has a habit of leaving cupboards and drawers open. I am forever asking him to close them. He just forgets. It’s annoying. And I can get frustrated. Recently I asked myself, “Susan does it really matter?” It does not. So I don’t need to make such a big deal out of it.
I’m sure I do things that annoy him. Asking, “does this really matter?” has helped me to lighten up!
Pray for laughter to grow in your marriage. Laughter is good medicine in any relationship, and we particularly need it in marriage. One of the main things I pray for each of my 5 married children is that they would laugh together more and more. We need to restore laughter, playfulness, and silliness in our homes.
6. Bring back dating.
When we were engaged, a wise older couple challenged us to make a commitment to have a regular date each week. We thought this was a good idea so for most of our 52 years we’ve done this. When we had 5 “littles” we often had to get 2 babysitters to handle them so we could go out. We haven’t made it every week but looking back we’ve probably made it 50% of our married life.
It’s made a huge difference in our relationship. Surprisingly in these later years we’ve found ourselves slipping. It’s just easier to work on projects. And easy to get stuck in a rut and forget how to have fun! So now, we are renewing our commitment to date!
A date is not a time to have a heavy discussion. Save that for later. A date is a time to cultivate your friendship.
7. Seek new adventures together.
Psychologists tell us that one of our needs is new experiences. Take up a new hobby together. Do something you’ve never done before. Kidnap your husband, get a new sexy nightgown, and go to a hotel for a night. Ok, he might faint, but He will feel wanted. Have a conversation in which each of you share 3 things that make you feel loved. You will most likely have different things and you will probably be surprised at what he says. Remember to laugh.
8. Remember your marriage vows.
“For better for worse . . .” Re-do them each year on your anniversary. Even if you are in a painful place. Our heavenly Father understands. He is powerful and He will bring about healing as we turn to Him. Luke reminds us, “For nothing is impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37).
He is for your marriage!
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