Over the years of most marriages, the little foxes of neglect, abuse and broken promises mount up in our mind. They cause resentment, anger and bitterness. Then, bitterness defiles the whole relationship (Hebrews 12:15).
We harden our heart toward one another to prevent further hurt. We find more and more excuses to work longer hours, join one more club or get involved in one more civic or charitable event in order to avoid each other.
We ignore one another; we stop doing the little things that nurture our relationship; we answer each other in crisp, formal tones rather than with cherishing looks and words. We grow impatient with each other’s idiosyncrasies and habits and mumble under our breath or start to disparage and nag each other.
The breakdown of our relationship actually started on our wedding day, or possibly during the wedding planning stage. We did not realize how hard marriage is – the blending of two lives, two sets of goals and expectations, and two needs for support and fulfillment.
It takes time and effort to open our individual schedules to include each other fulltime. We take each other for granted. We stop dating, we stop focusing our attention on one another, and we stop listening or caring about our spouse’s needs.
When children come along, we neglect each other even more; we lose patience when the babies demand more of our spouse’s time and attention than they give to us. We often disagree on disciplining methods and parenting styles.
A destination for the family vacation may also cause major disagreements, turmoil and disappointment. We may not enjoy spending time with our mate’s parents, but are forced to spend every vacation with them or have them come visit and stay in our home for prolonged periods of time.
We forget that we are both human with limitations and physical and emotional needs. All is not hopeless, however; we can soften our heart toward each other and humbly apologize for our part in the stalemate between us. Then, we continue repairing our relationship by caring about one another again as we stop disdaining and losing patience with one another.
Father God, remind us to prefer one another and to make it our habit and goal to bless each other regardless of our feelings. The heart is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:-10), and it cannot be trusted. Help us to see love as an action, rather than as a feeling. Seeking You together is the only way to remedy this challenging chasm between us, caused by the wounds of our relationship.
Help us to make time in our busy schedules to communicate with each other. Teach us to honestly, but lovingly share our feelings and needs and to really listen to and care about one another. As we forgive and look past our differences, show us how to appreciate each other and to prefer one another. Remind us to connect with the person we fell in love with and to rekindle the spark that drew us together.
Thought for the Day:
God gave us to each other, with all of our differences, failings and shortcomings in order to find help for our weaknesses and support from one another’s strengths. Our mate is His gift to us, and He reminds us that we are friends and not enemies; we can change our focus, let go of bitterness and appreciate and cherish each other.