The ultimate goal of marriage is oneness. We can not be truly one if there is a gulf between us because we have drifted apart. Bridging the gulf and reconnecting restores intimacy to our relationship and restores us to oneness.
I was overwhelmed by the depth of sincerity in the responses I received since the last post: Couples Or Co-Tenants - Drifting Apart. Your comments on the blog, and by emails, text messages and phone calls have been very encouraging.
The focus this week and the next is on bridging the gulf.
How do we attain and maintain oneness in our marriage in a way that will ensure we not only bridge existing gulf but prevent us from drifting apart again?
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Marriage - Designed by God
A dear friend of mine once said that God did not design marriage to be on autopilot. I agree with him 100%.
There is a depth of knowing that God designed for a husband and wife in marriage, which we must strive to attain and maintain. It is the mystery of two becoming one and in Him. To the extent that they will seek each other's best interest all the days of their lives:
· he seeks her highest good and considers no sacrifice too great to be made, which will bring benefit to her, by loving her selflessly - Eph. 5: 25, 28, 33 (WOW, three times within ten verses!!!)
· she will do him good, respect him and greatly enrich his life - Prov. 31:12, Eph 5:22, 33.
God's desire is for His purpose to be fulfilled in and through our marriage. He designed it to be exciting, vibrant and fulfilling. Marriage is to be enjoyed and not endured.
"Marriage is bursting with opportunities for deeper spiritual growth."
- Paul & Halee Scott
Oneness and biblical closeness develop between us when we put our spouse in their right position in our lives and we give ourselves selflessly to our spouse and marriage. Honouring the relationship God has given you with your spouse is a responsibility. It requires a willingness to share your life with your spouse at the deepest level.
Healthy and vibrant relationships require work, attention and persistence. In addition to this, it takes willingness, commitment and effort to attain and maintain oneness in marriage - to live our lives together as one.
In the two previous posts, I highlighted some of the reasons why couples drift apart, what could cause a gulf and why couples may experience dry patches in their marriage.
The severity and the duration of the dryness vary as much as the causes. Conflict happens even in the happiest marriage. Whatever the cause may be, one thing is common, you feel disconnected from your spouse at this period. You feel you are in a desert place and there is a gulf between you. It is difficult to generate a feeling of oneness when you feel distant from your spouse and when there are stuff hanging between you.
It is important to identify what caused the rift between you and your spouse, and be willing to take responsibility for your role in this. It is possible that you have learnt that in desiring a change, you have been talking to the 'wrong person' and you are expressing your desire concerning your spouse and marriage in prayer to God.
Along with this, you may also have learnt that you must be willing to yield your will to God's will and to have a right attitude while you are waiting. Part of having a right attitude is to look beyond the problem or issue causing the conflict, and long for a restoration of fellowship with your spouse.
Resolving the conflict and reconnecting with your spouse must be a heartfelt desire.
It is not about keeping a scoreboard of who has won. It is important there is a longing to reconnect. If this longing is no longer there or it is at its lowest ebb, you are likely to be harboring anger and unforgiveness.
Someone has to be willing to make the first move towards reconnecting after a period of drifting apart and to bridge the gap. It does not matter who makes the first move. Both of you stand to gain when one is willing give this gift of love aimed at restoring intimacy to your relationship. Intimacy —physical, emotional and spiritual, is important for a vibrant marriage. Reconnecting brings intimacy back into your relationship. If it is uppermost in your mind then it is not too late to turn the boat around and start sail towards each other.
So how do we keep our relationships in good shape and make it easy to rekindle intimacy after a conflict and a period of dryness?
Pray for Each Other Together
Each time I listen to my husband praying for me and he says, "Father, I pray for my wife, your daughter…." My heart is thrilled and it swells up with love and appreciation for him. It delights me to hear the things he asks God for concerning me and the passion with which he prays for me, and that endears my heart to him the more.
A dear sister and encourager shared her story with me. When her husband heard her praying about an issue relating to his job, which he had not shared with her but she had heard from his friends, he was touched. It made him to start sharing more details with her.
"All marriages have problems because they are made up of two imperfect people. But if you add the presence of a perfect God, then you have unlimited possibilities for drawing closer to what God intended for marriage. Whether that happens is determined by how frequently and how fervently God is invited into your relationship. The more you pray together, the more you will see God do great things." - Stormie Omartian (When Couples Pray Together).
Praying for each other separately and together as a couple promotes both emotional and spiritual intimacy, oneness and unity in the marriage.
Put Your Spouse and Marriage High on Your Agenda
Where do you place your marriage on the list of your priorities?
After our relationship with God, our marriage is our number two priority. Your marriage comes before your children. It was there before the children came and it will be there when the children leave the nest. You don’t want to wake up one morning after the children have gone to find yourself living with a total stranger. You can make your honeymoon more than just a memory but it can become a way of life.
"Keep love alive—starting now—by establishing daily habits of romance, passion and intimacy." - Les & Leslie Parrot (Marriage Insurance)
Spend Quality Time Together
To keep romance alive you and your spouse need to spend quality time together. This excludes time spent with friends together or running errands. It refers to time when you give your full attention to your spouse. It is just between the two of you with the objective of connecting to each other.
When we spend time together with our loved one doing things together, it is an act of love. Attention is needed to build real, lasting love and friendship. Closeness develops when a couple share a commitment to some interesting and/or an exciting activity. Intimacy is deepened when you desire to and enjoy being in each other's presence.
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We can not spend quality time together if our attention is distracted.
Next week, I will expand on this. I will also share on appreciating your spouse, nurturing your friendship, special situations among others. Until then, may the sweet aroma of refreshing rain permeate your marriage as you reconnect together.
"Today's good habits can take care of tomorrow's rough times."
- Les & Leslie Parrot (Marriage Insurance)
- Les & Leslie Parrot (Marriage Insurance)