All marriages at some point come to this conclusion. You never expected it to look like this, and how did you get here in the first place? It’s certainly not what you thought it would be.
Where’s the romance?
Where’s the kindness?
Where’s the thoughtfulness?
Where’s the closeness?
Where’s the companionship?
Many couples find these questions disturbing at the least and some even would say devastating. If you think you’re the only one who has ever had this thought, you can reach a wrong conclusion that something is terribly wrong with your marriage. While these feelings point to a place that needs attention–and right away–it doesn’t mean your marriage is on the road to failure unless you do like many couples do and ignore it.
Think of these questions as a traffic signal.
You expected all green lights on the road to marital bliss. You determined from the beginning that your marriage wouldn’t be like other’s who you’ve seen struggle and eventually fail. Your love was too strong. This what all you thought needed to succeed–a willingness to move forward.
Then the light changes to yellow.
We all know this means caution, but when it comes to marriage many ignore the caution light. Instead of slowing down with care, you push the pedal to the medal and speed through, thinking that slowing down would cause you to lose your momentum. The only problem with this thinking is that you are speeding full speed ahead to a collision.
A caution light in marriage may look like this:
- You’re not connecting like you used to.
- Your communication is limited and not happening on a daily basis.
- You are distracted by work demands and parenting demands.
- You have been sick for an extended period of time allowing a relational distance to set in.
- You have sex rarely and when you do, its a quickie.
- You can’t remember the last time you had time together just the two of you.
If any of these describe your current status, you are in a season of caution. You have two choices–to ignore the light and continue the way you’re going. Or you can stop.
You may ask, “Ok, but if I stop then what? I don’t like what I’m seeing and I don’t know how to change it. Isn’t it better to keep moving? At least we’re going somewhere, right?”
Wrong! Sure you’re heading somewhere, but it isn’t good. Far too many couples get way down the road only to discover they’re not on the same road anymore. The caution light was actually a fork in the road and if you don’t stop to communicate about where you want your marriage to be in five years, you are likely to cause even more distance between where you are and where you had hoped to be.
Use the red light to your advantage.
- Plan some time to talk without distractions.
- Be willing to listen more than you talk.
- Ask good questions and don’t assume that what your spouse shares with you at first is what is really bothering them.
- If you can’t reach a place of understanding, ask for help. There is nothing wrong with stopping to ask for directions. It’s true that many don’t like doing this, and it reveals another problem that should be addressed–pride. Being confident, no matter how sincere, only helps if you’re going in the right direction. Confidence in confidence alone is foolish. Be wise and pursue the help of others.
- Plan to return to some of the things you did when you first fell in love: small acts of kindness, regular dates, sending unexpected notes of appreciation, noticing the little things your spouse does for you and your family. Be grateful and show it!
Doing these things will do more than you realize to help your marriage continue to grow and mature. We’ve heard it said, and we couldn’t agree more…
So don’t look at a yellow light or red light as a failure in your marriage. It’s a healthy place to stop and reevaluate your marriage journey.