There is no doubt that Lisa and I are beach people. The mountains are okay, but for us nothing beats a week of waves and sand. We were blessed to spend this past week at the beach on our family vacation. One of our favorite activities is to go out on rafts and ride the waves back in together. As we floated along waiting for the next wave I noticed that if we didn’t pay attention, we would drift apart. Either the current would pull us apart, or a wave would separate us. Before long, we could be several yards apart; able to see each other, but unable to reach out and hold on to each other. It took effort for us to stay linked together.
If we’re not careful, in marriage it is easy for a husband and wife to drift apart. For most couples, I don’t think the growing distance is what they want or expect. It just seems to happen because they are not intentional about not letting it happen. All kinds of things can cause couples to drift apart.
- He’s tired from a long day at work, so it’s easier to just not talk to his wife at night and instead veg-out watching TV. And the current slowly pulls them apart.
- She doesn’t feel up to arguing, so another minor conflict gets swept under the rug and goes unresolved. And a seemingly gentle wave separates them.
- His friends absorb more and more of his time, leaving less and less for his mate. He justifies it as “a well-deserved guys’ night out.” And they drift in opposite directions.
- She immerses herself into the children’s lives, never recognizing that she’s letting her calling to be a good mother supersede her calling to be a covenant marriage partner. So she puts her husband on the back-burner. And the distance becomes more distinct.
Any number of things can come up that cause couples to drift apart. Life happens. Isolated instances of many things are not in-and-of-themselves terrible circumstances that will cause a rift in a marriage. We drift apart when ongoing patterns of behavior occur that minimize communication, when we fail to engage conflict in constructive ways, or when we move someone or something else into the primary relationship role that belongs exclusively to our mates.
Over time, a couple can gently drift apart without ever realizing it. And God help the couple that has drifted apart when a really big wave comes, the wave that knocks us loopy, tosses us every-which-way, chokes us, and totally disorients us. When we have our mates to hold on to, the waves still come. But when we have someone else to hold on to, there is greater stability, a sense of safety, and the assurance that even if you get flipped, there’s someone there reaching out and helping you up.
Don’t drift apart. But remember, the only way not to drift apart is to be intentional about not drifting apart.
What does God want from my marriage?
A Weekend Marriage Enrichment Retreat
Friday-Sunday, September 13-15, 2013
Fall Creek Falls State Park Inn
Limited to 25 couples
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
Is your church doing everything it can to help facilitate healthy marriages? Are you sure? The Marriage-Friendly Church is available now and gives you the questions every church needs to be asking. Available at 21st Century Christian or on Amazon.com
Top photo image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_19337243_young-couple-in-love-holding-hands-summer-sea-background-close-up.html'>dasha11 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>