Are You Roommates or Lovers?
- Wednesday, July 10, 2013
We were in the tenth year of our marriage, with 5- and 2-year old daughters, and we were in trouble. We weren't arguing, fighting, or disagreeing. In fact, we were united in mind and purpose in the direction of our work, home, and family. We had just begun homeschooling our eldest, I was working very minimally outside the home, and we were engaged in ministry at our church.
But the spark was gone from our marriage.
We were living more like roommates than lovers. We were planets orbiting the same sun, yet seldom intersecting. We were busy living out our callings, content to come together for exchanges that were more like business meetings than family time.
We seldom thought of each other during the day, and when we tried to make conversation, we struggled to find something to talk about. We were emotionally distant, and our marriage was starving.
Is this all there is? we wondered. Maybe this is just the way it is after 10 years of marriage...
That's when I decided to shake things up.
My husband and I struggled for years to have a consistent quiet time together. Every marriage book we owned said we should read the Bible and pray together if we wanted to have a godly, successful marriage. So every Christmas I'd buy a new couple’s devotional, and we'd make a commitment to read it daily.
And we would. For about 3 days.
Then one day we'd forget, or get busy. Before we knew it, it was bedtime, and we hadn't cracked the cover. And then a week would go by, and before long, the commitment to have a daily quiet time together would fall by the wayside once again.
Until I decided to do something drastic.
I instinctively knew that the key to reviving our marriage was somehow connected with spending time together in God's word and prayer. But finding the right time, a time when we were most likely to be consistent, had thus far eluded us. Our good intentions were consistently shipwrecked on the rocks of daily life.
I knew the key was finding a time when there would be few distractions. And a time when it would be as easy as possible for my husband to participate.
On a typical workday, my husband would rise early and begin his day. He'd shower, grab the lunch I'd made for him the night before, and leave for work. After years of rising at all hours of the night with babies, I'd sleep in as long as I could before one of the girls awakened.
Well, our girls were no longer infants, and the time of frequent night awakenings had passed. There was no excuse for sleeping in except that I enjoyed it. Not a bad thing, in light of the physical demands of 24-hour motherhood, but it was now a luxury, not a necessity.
"Honey," I said, "if I get up with you in the morning and fix you breakfast (I knew this would be a draw, what husband wouldn't accept the offer of breakfast?), do you think it would be OK if I read from one of our couples devotionals while you ate? And then when you're done, maybe you can share one thing I can pray for you about during the day, and I can do the same?"
Five o'clock came awfully early that next morning, but I was determined to do everything in my power to make this attempt succeed. I don't remember what I fixed for breakfast. Perhaps I just poured cereal in a bowl and set out a banana, but as he ate, I read. I deliberately chose a devotional with brief selections. When I finished, I asked him how I could pray for him that day. He did the same.
After a week or so of consistently implementing this new plan, a strange thing began to happen. First, instead of just reading the devotions, we began to talk about them. We'd share ideas, ruminate on the topic during the day, and sometimes pick up the conversation when he got home.
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