Several years ago, I was driving to work when I found out that a friend and her husband were getting divorced. I was so shocked that I had to stop the car. In my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined this couple getting divorced.
They seemed happy, their children seemed happy, neither one cheated, and neither one abused the other.
But they got divorced, and I still can hardly believe it.
You may have experienced the same kind of shock. Or maybe you’ve know some marriages that “just drifted apart.” Nice marriages that seemed good, stable, even happy. Wives and husbands who shocked you to the core by revealing, seemingly out of the blue, that he had moved out or she had filed for divorce or they just weren’t happy anymore.
Or maybe it happened more subtly. Maybe you just noticed one day that she always looked unhappy or he always seemed to be working. Or that they seemed to have created separate lives for themselves.
Whatever you noticed, if you’re like me, you probably felt shocked when you heard the news. Either way, there’s one thing I do know – you don’t want that to happen to your marriage, and neither do I.
So how can we avoid “drifting apart” and ensure that we stay together and stay strong as a couple? By doing one thing that’s both simple and complex – making time and taking time for your marriage.
4 Reasons to Make Time for Your Marriage
When you make time for you marriage, you can make it less likely that you’ll have to go through the pain of divorce or the loneliness of living separate lives. (I know there are no guarantees.)
But making time for your marriage, it can do so much more. Here are four things that time and energy invested in your marriage will allow you to do:
• Live joyfully today. We won’t always be happy. Stress, pain and trouble touch all of us. But when we’re committed to and invested in our marriages, we can live with joy, knowing that we’re facing the trials together and believing we will come out stronger on the other side.
• Enjoy good health, good sex, and greater financial security. Married people tend to be healthier, and when they do get sick they fare better than those who are single. They also tend to have more sex and more satisfying sex lives. Even though books and movies suggest that unmarried people who’ve just met have the best sex lives, it’s actually committed couples who invest in and nurture their sexual intimacy who enjoy the best sex.
In addition, couples who stay together enjoy more financial security than those who divorce. I’ve seen that among the couples I know who are divorced, and you probably have too. The cost of maintaining two households, and the implications for investments and retirement, can really take a toll.
Clearly, in most cases, two really is better than one. “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:10
• Bless your children. Children tend to flourish when they know that their parents love and are committed to each other. They feel secure and can focus their energy on the things of childhood and adolescence, rather than worrying about their parents and family.
In addition, making your marriage the center of your family’s life helps you avoid making your children’s activities the center of your family life, which is rarely a good idea.
And, as a plus, raising children is almost always easier when you’re doing it together, instead of doing it alone or separately.
• Enjoy growing old together. Now that our youngest son is almost out of the house, I can see more clearly the risks of not investing in your marriage from the very beginning If a couple has focused all of its energy on the children or work or church or other interests, saying goodbye as the last child moves out is likely to trigger a cascade of doubts, worries, and fears.
In our case, even though my husband and I had made an effort to invest in our marriage and were reasonably prepared for this new phase of our lives, I experienced a few fleeting doubts and fears myself when our youngest headed off to college – ” What? No more soccer? No more school activities? What are we going to do with ourselves? What if we don’t have anything to talk about?”
You may have had – or will have – the same thoughts. I think they’re normal. But, by investing in your marriage now, you can enjoy the freedom, relaxation, and opportunities that present themselves after that last child moves out.
If you want to start making that investment and are looking for some ideas, check out these 6 ways to invest in your marriage. In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you and your husband are investing in marriage. Leave a note in the comments and let me know.
(This post is intended to offer ideas and encouragement to women in generally healthy marriages. If you’re in a difficult marriage, these ideas won’t be helpful. If that’s the case, please seek help from a professional counselor to address the issues you’re facing. And if you’re in an abusive marriage, please seek help from law enforcement or a crisis organization in your community. You can contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at https://www.thehotline.org/ or 1-800-799-7233 for information and resources.)
Healthy Life, Happy Marriage
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