Have You and Your Spouse Drifted Apart?
- 2004 28 Oct
"We just drifted a part." This is the most common excuse a person gives when he or she wants out of a marriage. It is the foundation for no fault divorce or the legal term, "irreconcilable differences." Most differences can be reconciled, and usually (not always) it is a "both fault divorce." There was no drifting apart; rather it was a series of decisions, choices and attitudes that distanced two people. Just as it was choices that made you "drift" it will be choices that can move your hearts back toward the other.
Retrace Your Steps
If you are feeling stressed in a relationship, retrace your steps, just as you would if you lost your car keys. Lost love, like lost keys, can be found again if you want it to be.
Review your history: when do you last remember being happy, emotionally connected, and in love? What was going on in both of your lives then? What changed? (A job? An attitude? A circumstance? A set of responsibilities?). Try to specifically discern what changes occurred.
In our newest books, Devotions for Men on the Go! and Devotions for Women on the Go (Tyndale), I tell a story of a time Bill and I found we were growing impatient with one another. Everything we did seemed to irritate the other. Yes, we were busy carrying a heavy load of responsibility -- but that was characteristic of our entire married life. What was different? As I retraced my steps, I observed that we had always carried a full plate of responsibility and -- until a year prior -- we had carried much of it together. Yet our current ministry and work responsibilities had us functioning independently too often. So we made choices and decisions to cause change: we moved our offices next to each other, scheduled in ministry we could do together and delegated out more ministry that would keep us apart. Just as choices moved us a part, choices brought us together.
Review the Good Days
It is interesting that in a survey of couples who had already filed for divorce, then changed their mind and stayed together, the reason they cited for giving it one last try was that they were reminded of all they had invested in the relationship. Psalm 77:11 says, "I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago."
It is a choice of the will to remember. And when we remember, it changes us for the better. Just as counting our blessings reconnects our hearts to God in worship, when we recount the happy days, the meaningful days, the days we worked as a team and a family, these too will change your attitude toward your spouse. Take a trip down memory lane; it may just cause you to build more memories together.
Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers and authors of over 20 books, including best-selling Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti. They have been happily married for 25 years and they are the parents of three children. Their ministry, Masterful Living is sponsoring two romantic events, Joy in the Journey, to encourage and equip couples. For more info on the cruise and dinner gala in January. '05, go to http://farrelcommunications.com.