We visited our daughter’s church yesterday in Marietta Square. Her pastor shared a metaphor we think applies well to marriage.
He said that when you exercise, if you keep doing the same routine week after week eventually your muscles will become familiar with the workout. This isn’t good because once they know what to expect they don’t work as hard because they aren’t being challenged to exert more energy. He went on to say we need to “confuse our muscles” so they don’t know what’s coming next. In doing so they work harder to figure it out. We love this!
In a marriage we can grow accustomed to what is expected of us.
We can fall into a routine that doesn’t require much effort. And what’s worse is we quit building our marriage muscles.
This is why we encourage marriages to do things outside of what’s comfortable. If you’ve never planned an at-home date then do it. If you’ve never surprised your spouse before, then plan something they wouldn’t expect. If you’ve always been the one to say no to something your spouse would like to try, then say yes! It might seem uncomfortable at first, but think of it as your first day of a new workout program. It may provide new energy and excitement in the place where you’ve become bored. And best of all, your relationship will become stronger as a result.
We realize there are troubled marriages where doing something this simple wouldn’t help in the least.
The trouble you’re facing is too deep. This is where the metaphor works even better. If this is your marriage, then do whatever it takes to get help. It may be contacting your pastor for marriage counseling. It may be confessing hidden sin and being the one to come clean. It may be both of you have sinned continually against each other in the way you speak and think about the other. Do the hard thing and go first! Be the one who is willing to humble yourself and “breakdown” the muscles that have atrophied.
atrophy |ˈatrəfē|verb ( -phies, -phied) [ intrans. ](of body tissue or an organ) waste away, typically due to thedegeneration of cells, or become vestigial during evolution : without exercise, the muscles will atrophy | [as adj. ] ( atrophied) in some beetles, the hind wings are atrophied.• figurative gradually decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect : her artistic skills atrophied from lack of use.
What area of your marriage is in most need of growth and strengthening? Don’t ignore it. To do so is to become familiar with the weakness. Instead, go after it as if your life depended on it, for the life of your marriage does!