How does it happen?
It is a slow burn
that goes undetected or
just left alone.
Couples that stop connecting. Words are spoken…or not spoken. Hearts get hurt. You pass in the hall and don’t even talk. Or they don’t even meet in the hall. One takes a kid here and the other takes a kid there.
“Of course we aren’t connecting. We aren’t even seeing each other,” chuckles all around. The honest truth is there is absolutely nothing funny about this at all…in fact it is very dangerous.
Marriage can be very hard. I am not lying. H.A.R.D.
But you can do this. You can learn and grow and connect in your relationship. You have a really good God who loves you so much and promises to help in every way.
Sometime the hardest step is the first one. What are the hardest unresolved struggles you are having? List them. When assessing the situation remember that the goal here is to start reconnecting! Here are a few suggestions:
Don't be a nit-picker. Don’t list every single little thing they might have done over the last decade that has irritated you. (If this is your angle you might need more help with forgiveness than you realize…but at least you see where to start.)
Be completely honest. What are the real issues? It’s not socks left on the floor. Which things are things that have to do with him and which one really don’t. If we take the time we can sometimes realize what we THINK has to do with him is really an internal struggle. Ask the Lord to help you be discerning. The goal is reconnection.
Don’t list a past incident that you have already talked about and they have apologized for. If this is over and done…let it be over and done. Ask God to help you get healing in this area.
Your husband is not a mind reader. Don’t expect him to be one. Say what you are thinking and don’t beat around the bush. Just because we sometimes think every one should be able to read into our implications does not make it so.
Set aside time and make it happen.
Ask your husband to share with you and REALLY listen. Resist any urge to justify. Letting each other have a voice, feelings and emotions are part of the process of healing. Just because we can rationalize why the other person should not feel the way they do does not automatically fix the issue. Feelings are valid regardless of the intent of the other person.
Spend some time also sharing some of the wins/successes you have seen the other one have over the last few months. Thank him for some things that you know will mean something to him.
Ask each other what is one thing that would really mean a lot for you to do for them. And hold on to that thing like a dear treasure. This is sacred information. Often we try to do those things that would mean the most to us and get our feelings hurt when they don’t mean that much to our husband. We want to find out what means the most to them.
Ask him one of the most powerful questions, “What do you need?” And pay close attention to the answer.
Plan and keep a date every week with your spouse alone. Even if it is one hour to get ice cream or just to walk around the block. Take and prioritize time together.
Even if it feels stilted or awkward start trying to connect. One way to do this is pull out that treasure they shared with you and do that one thing he told you would mean a lot to him.
Watch for the gold. What is he doing that is a blessing? Ask God to give you eyes to see him doing the very things you talked about. You don’t want to miss them. Look for things to appreciate. (Sometimes we look for things to complain about.)
If you get hurt or angry choose a good time, when you are calm, to talk. Wait until you really want resolution and not just to vent pain. Step into that conversation with the goal of staying connected.
Also pay attention to when your spouse may be hurt or angry as well. Ask good questions and be an excellent listeners. I sometimes think we train our husbands NOT to engage because we aren’t careful to listen well or really hear them. Tell each other what you need not what the other is doing wrong. If we continually allow our children first place in our lives then we are saying to our husbands our relationship with our kids is more important.
Be a bulldog in staying connected. Purpose, pray and work toward that end. If you are wanting to connect with your spouse then make sure that what you are doing is communicating that goal. For example I have seen wives be so frustrated that they aren’t getting to spend time with their husband. But when he works late the wives become angry and resentful and what he comes home to is more like a hornets nest. I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to come home to is a hornet’s nest. I will find every excuse in the book to avoid that mess. So if you are frustrated about lack of connection then take every moment you have to truly connect weil whenever you are together.
I have written a prayer you can use as you walk through this journey.
Dear Father we are on a precarious journey and we need you to help us become sure-footed. Despite the way that we got to this point, our hearts are for reconnection and healing. Please help us. You are the One who can make the necessary changes in each of us to love each other well. Thank you that we each have a voice and we each bring some good things to this relationship. Help us to make the changes we each can make for the betterment of our marriage and may we not focus on the negative in each other. Give us eyes to see the good. May we not miss it. We are for each other. Our marriage is going to be healthy and strong!