In the last post, I wrote about developing habits that elevate your spouse and your marriage—things you can do to create a positive environment of healthy, Christ-centered marriage (you can read that post here).
It takes about 10 weeks of repeating a positive action for it to become a habit (depending on the person and the behavior). Do you know how long it takes to lose a good habit? Less than a week. After all, it is always easier to not do something than to do it. More often than not, we don’t intend to stop doing positive things that bless our marriages. But as we go through the cycles of life and our lives get busy, it becomes easy to let things slide.
So, the first time you forget to say “I love you,” or give a kiss goodbye, or pray together, you will probably notice (even if you don’t notice until later). But then the choice comes. Do you recognize something valuable was missed that you desperately want to reclaim, or do you just let it go? If you don’t return to the marriage-honoring behavior immediately, it will become easier to not do it the next time. Eventually, you’ll begin to rationalize and justify skipping the behavior—“She knows I love her even if I don’t say so.” “He will get by if I don’t give him a kiss before he leaves for work.” “I’m kind of tired tonight, so if we don’t pray together it won’t matter.” And before you know it, those good things that you now look forward to, quickly become those things you used to do together.
But nature abhors a vacuum. When you give up a marriage-enriching habit, something else will fill that time, take that energy, and use that resource. If you aren’t conscientious to keep your spouse and your marriage at the center, the selfish nature will quickly kick-in and take over. Time spent talking together in the evenings becomes hours of isolation on the computer or smart phone. Couple recreation time becomes “me time” where your spouse is not welcomed. Shared spiritual pursuits are pushed to the side and you lose touch with your mutual love for God. And if your not careful, eventually that loss of meaningful, regular connection as a couple can turn into anger, or blame, or even disaffection toward a lonely spouse.
Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for over fifty years, maintaining a healthy, godly environment in a marriage takes discipline and commitment from both partners…but it is always worth it. Don’t let less than a week take away something that can bless your spouse, bless your marriage, and creates a strong, Christ-centered relationship for a lifetime.
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