In marriage, it is extremely easy to find both partners going in different directions, floating apart, and doing their own independent things. I call it my life, your life.
Whatever happened to our life?
It can happen subtly. Both partners work. Both are physically in different places throughout the day, and before you know it, one is living his life and the other lives hers. She works, shuttles children here and there. They grab fast food on the run, and to compensate for no one being at home, he works longer hours.
Before you know it, you have two totally separate lives. You’re married, but you have little in common. Not meal times, not time together, not the activities you once enjoyed. You are living my life, your life.
If you can identify with this—and many can—I might be able to help you recover the life together you secretly crave. Here are seven suggestions:
- Schedule a half hour with your spouse. During that planning session, decide together on one time each week—preferably at least a three-hour period—that the whole family does something special together. It can be a picnic, a hike, a bike ride, playing board games, or whatever you all enjoy together. If you have little ones, maybe just going to a kiddie park will do. Each week, this time is family time.
- At the end of the day, when you are both tired and only want your pillows, share your days to each other. This doesn’t have to be a long process, just sharing.
- Drop something. Do less. Some ideas: children’s activities, your after-hours sports dates (bowling, etc.), anything that doesn’t have to be done.
- Plan family meals. Ideally, families should eat together—everyone at the table—at least once a day. This may take some juggling, but it can be done. I suggest supper, but breakfast can work, too.
- Communicate throughout the day. A friendly text goes a long way towards keeping you on the same page—and feeling like a couple. Communicate freely when you’re together, too.
- Put up boundaries to protect your marriage. I’ve written on this subject before. You can access it here. It’s important to protect your relationship, especially so when both partners work full time.
- Plan get-aways for just the two of you. Use your time off to strengthen your marriage. My husband and I like to get-away for 24-36 hours. It helps us enjoy different scenery, and it doesn’t break the bank or take us away from our responsibilities for a long time.
Many Christian marriages are breaking up, and a lot of people have no clue what happened. It has nothing to do with their love, marrying a jerk, or anything like that. It’s only that they began to float away from each other. One makes his life and the other lives hers.
It’s interesting that the word for love—the only time it’s used in the Bible for wives loving husbands*—is the word for friendship love (as opposed to God’s love or physical love). Our husband is to be our friend. We need to think about how to make him our friend and keep him our friend. As with any friendship, this part of marriage comes with the investment of time, energy, and communication.
Please share any tip you might have for keeping your marriage “our marriage.” Feel free to comment with your tried-and-true suggestions for success.
* Titus 2:4