Thursday, February 7, 2013

Couples Or Co-Tenants

In my first blog post in November 2011, I wrote: "I am a firm believer that applying the truth of God’s words will make Christian marriages strong, vibrant and full of joy, just as God designed it to be."

I also promised to share some insights to enrich your marriages. I have not done much of that.

Therefore, during the month of February—timely and appropriate—I purpose to share some principles, which I hope would stimulate you to deepen intimacy in your relationships.

Here is a story to kick off this couple-focused month.


They sat at opposite ends of the living room facing each other. Their eyes glued to the screens perched on their laps.

He was with his laptop. He had the earphones stuck his ears.

She had her iPad. A notepad rested on the arm of the sofa on one side. A plate of grilled fish—hot and spicy— and a glass of juice were on a tray on top of the stool on the other side.

Once in a while, she lifted her head up and glanced at him. He neither raised his head nor met her glance. Apart from his fingers clicking on the keyboard, only his shoulders moved back and forth as he stretched to ease his fatigue.

An hour passed. The TV continued to whisper softly with no one paying attention, the keyboard clicked furiously in short bursts and her fork resounded on the plate each time she picked at the fish.

More time ebbed away. Then she coughed. It was deep and choking.

She coughed again and her hands flew to her throat. The iPad fell on top of the bag beside her leg.

She coughed again and again, waving one hand frantically in the air, still holding her throat with the other.

Still no response from him.

In a frantic and swift move, she pushed the glass of juice on the floor. The crystal cup shattered into smithereens.

"What the ....?" He jerked upright and yanked the headphone off. He scanned the scene in an instant, pushed the laptop aside and jumped to his feet. He saw tears streaming down her cheeks, hands holding her throat and the plate of half eaten fish.

She coughed, straining to speak but could not.

"Oh dear God!" he groaned and hurried into the kitchen. He was back in a jiffy with a peeled banana and a glass of water. He broke a small piece off and offered her.

"Swallow this without chewing." He said

She did. She shook her head.

"Try another piece." She took it from him and swallowed it. He gave her the glass of water. She drank. She coughed again.

A sigh escaped from her quivering lips. She dropped her hand from her throat and wiped the tears off her cheeks with the back of her hand. Her tears were not just because of the pain in her throat or because of fear that gripped her heart in those brief moments. There was much more to it.

"It's gone down," she whispered.

"Praise God." His shoulders dropped in relief.

He went back into the kitchen and brought back a brush, a spade, mop and bucket. He began to sweep the broken glass pieces together. She watched him.

After a moment, he paused and stared at her, "How did this happen?"  

"I was trying to get your attention." She watched his brow tightened into furrows as he turned away from her. "You were miles away from here. I had no choice." She shrugged her shoulders.

He cleared the mess in silence.

And the gulf grew wider.

What to you think is happening to this couple? 

Let's assume they both have successful careers. They are empty-nesters. And the scene described above is a recurring pattern for them up to the point before she swallowed the fish bone.

Here's is my diagnosis and some pointers that something is brewing beneath the surface:
  • The couple shared the same space but were in separate worlds.
  • They were 'together' without connecting meaningfully with each other for a significant length of time.
  • The husband did not cast a glance in his wife's direction the whole period, while the wife did so occasionally.
There seems to be signs that they are detached from each other and are drifting apart. What do you think?

What other pointers did you notice? In what other circumstances can such a scenario like this play out between couples? What do you think they can do to bridge the gap?

Do share your opinion in the comments box below.

I will pool the comments received together and share in the next post. I will also share insights I have gleaned from many sources and from experiences shared with me.

I encourage you to also watch out for these tell tale signs in your relationship. There is much we can do to prevent us from drifting apart in our marriage. Let's start by talking about it.

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Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts and comments. I appreciate you. God bless you.