Marriage is not easy. It takes work. It can suck the life out of you and days or weeks can be very “low”. The past 6 weeks for Kem and I was a challenging stretch along with observing strain in several marriages around us.
When I got married, I didn’t think these thoughts would ever come to mind: “Did I marry the wrong person?” “Is this going to be my life for the next 40 years?” “Life would just be better if I was single…”
I’m sure I have plenty to learn in the upcoming years but here are some observations of myself and people around me:
- Pace is an enemy of intimacy. Kem and I are both very driven and task oriented. If not kept in check, we can accelerate to consume more and more white space in our calendars. Action: Protect the balance of work, ministry, and time to keep “margin” in our schedules.
- Today’s snapshot is not a reflection of reality. Emotions can drive us in the valley… once my emotional tank is on “Empty” it can be hard to get our relationship moving again. Action: Identify what fills my tank to help me be a better spouse… A little time away? Coffee with a friend to get perspective?
- Men don’t listen so literal. When we fight…if I hear “always” or “never” I tend to break out the spreadsheet of time identifying all the times when I DID clean out the sink, plan a date night, or got home at the right time. Action: Weed out the always and nevers and try to understand the message behind the frustration. Women, never say always. Always say something different.
- Your Purpose is life is bigger than your marriage. Having a common purpose bigger than Kem and I has been a lifesaver and glue for our marriage. Our marriage is a subset of our purpose, not THE purpose. I want to be a better husband BECAUSE of the purpose God has for my life… Action: God has called us to bring Hope and Love to a dying world, what does that look like for you as a couple?
- Get Outside Help. Communication is too broad of a difficulty to manage alone in marriage. Close friends and professional counselors are part of our “life board of directors”. Men and women are crazy different. Action: Don’t believe the lie that counselors are for the weak or that you don’t need help, they can take your marriage from average to good and from good to great.
Over the last few days we’ve been dumping our boat again and swinging the pendulum back into a healthier place and pace. The good news is that we still like each other.
How do you maximize your marriage? What helps you when you feel like there’s no hope? Do you have a Purpose bigger than your marriage?