Don't Say, "We Grew Apart"
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- Get the order right: God, spouse, children, neighbors.
Is your love plant healthy?
- Be sure to get your rest, eat a good diet, and exercise regularly.
- Inoculate your love from unhealthy influences, like negative media or friends who tear down instead of build up.
- Tell your spouse each day why you are thankful that God put you together.
- Schedule a date every week where you purpose to spend time together. Be sure to understand and pay attention to each other's interests by alternating weeks. The husband's week might be fishing and the wife's week might be the ballet.
What weeds are growing in your garden that could choke out your love?
• Watch the resentment weed. Don't compare your effort to your spouse's. Marriage is not 50/50. It's giving your all.
• When you feel hurt, first check that your hurt is not based on unrealistic expectations (like how your grew up or what your spouse "should have known"). If your hurt is valid, pray about it, and then share it with your spouse without accusation. Avoid the word "you" and just share how the action made you feel. Use the "sandwich method" by starting your comments with what you love about your spouse, then share, then confirm your love for them.
• Keep your schedules under control, especially with kids' activities. Don't over-schedule. Remember, when you took your vows, you promised to love your spouse even when he or she seems unlovable (for better or worse). God entrusted your spouse to you. That person is your primary mission field. Even the best marriages struggle at times. That's when we have to reach down deep, make a choice to love, and then beseech God's help. What does that look like? Romans 5:8 says, "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." By dying to self, you will honor God, your spouse, your family, and God's kingdom.
Satan loves to hear the words "We grew apart."
God loves to hear you say, "We grew in love and in Christ for his glory."
Patricia Hartman is a forensic CPA (certified public accountant) who works with clients going through divorce. She is also the director of marriage education for South Florida at Live the Life, a faith-based not-for-profit organization that provides marriage and relationship education with a goal of decreasing divorce rates and increasing healthy marriages.