Alerts To Get Marriage Help
All relationships ebb and flow. A natural rhythm to relationships is healthy and life-giving to both partners individually and to the relationship. There are warning signs, however, that wise couples will pay attention to protect their marriage from forces that will pull them apart. Think of it like warning lights on the dashboard of your car. They alert you to the need to change your oil, fill your tank with gas, adjust your tire pressure, fill the windshield fluid reservoir, service the engine, etc. You ignore these warnings at your own risk, and it is perilous to do so. You could end up stranded on the side of the road with a dead engine. The same is true for your relationship. Ignoring the following warning indicators could lead to you being stranded with a broken-down marriage that may be irreparably damaged.
- A Season of Busyness. It could be that you are both succeeding in your careers and are running kids to and from school, practices and rehearsals, ball games and recitals, etc. Every moment seems packed, and you are not connecting as a couple.
- Life Change or Transition. It could be that one or both of you are experiencing a major change in your life. For example, you could be moving out of the area, expecting a child, dealing with a change of position at work, retiring, etc.
- Communication Misfires. You seem to speak different languages and can’t get on the same page. As a result, you are not feeling heard and validated.
- A Growing Distance Between You. There is a disconnect. Instead of feelings of closeness and intimacy, you are feeling isolation and loneliness.
- Loss of Identity. You feel that you have lost yourself and are constantly seeking your partner’s approval and validation.
- Irritability and Annoyance. Your spouse irritates and annoys you. Little habits that you used to overlook now are magnified. You find yourself being sharp in your replies and annoyed even at your partner’s presence in the same room.
- Lack of Enjoyment of Your Partner. You do not enjoy them in public when you used to be proud of them and delighted to be seen with them. Neither do you enjoy them when you are alone with them. You don’t cherish them and time with them like you used to.
- Feeling Drained by the Relationship. It is taking more and more energy to keep the relationship going. It saps your strength and joy.
- Lack of Physical Touch. Physical affection is little to none. Formerly, you would hold hands, snuggle on the couch, or enjoy spontaneous sexual intimacy.
What to Do
- Daily Dyad. One of the best things you can do is create the space for a daily 10–15-minute conversation to check in with each other. Sit down. Make good eye contact and push the “pause button” on everything else. Make the conversation about each other and your relationship, not daily logistical stuff. Share your highs and lows, and express appreciation to your partner for how they have helped or encouraged you. Tell them something that you admire about them. Ask how you can lighten their load and pray for them.
- Weekly Date. Once a week, if possible, have a date. Take 1 -3 hours and do something fun or relaxing together – even if it’s to have coffee and talk. If you can’t, go out, then do something at home – cook together, play games, walk your neighborhood and talk. Be intentional about taking “couple time” weekly.
- Weekend Getaway. Once a quarter, get out of town overnight. If that’s not possible, then arrange for the kids to have a sleepover at the grandparents’ house or take turns doing childcare with another trusted couple. Spend 24 hours with just the 2 of you.
- Annual Vacation – Without Kids. Spend a few days at the beach, in the mountains, or wherever you can unwind, relax and have fun with each other.
The most important of the above suggestions are the Daily Dyad and the Weekly Date. A vacation to an exotic location once a year can’t make up for all of the communication misfires, hurt feelings, and disconnection that may have occurred. Just think, 15 minutes a day in a Daily Dyad, six days a week, equals 1.5 hours spent in conversation and connection. That adds up to 78 hours a year… and that doesn’t count the 1-3 hours per week, 52-156 hours, spent for your weekly dates.