I want my husband, not a roommate." The words I'd been thinking for weeks had finally found their way to my husband's ears. Four kids, a new job that took my spouse even farther away from home, and various family commitments left us little more than two adults sharing the same house. We occupied the same space, even the same bed, but our relationship was running on fumes.
Even when my husband came home from work an hour later than he used to at his old job, I would still be rushing from room to room dealing with a buzzing dryer, an almost burning casserole, and a sibling squabble simultaneously. The rare "How did your day go?" was usually met with an interruption of some sort—a ringing phone, a crying youngster, a hormonally super-charged teen. At the end of the day we fell into bed, our emotional and physical energy depleted.
I knew something had to change, but what? And how? Busyness is the norm, and some seasons are understandably busier than others. But I also knew that for our marriage not only to survive but to thrive, we would have to be proactive. Staying connected doesn't just happen.
The whole "roommate" experience opened our eyes to the importance of nurturing our relationship daily. We had to recommit to doing life together even though circumstances sometimes kept us apart.
A spark of hope ignited. I began brainstorming ways my husband and I could stay connected even when life is hectic. Here's what I came up with:
Ditch the expectations. Unmet expectations lead to discouragement and ultimately resentment. The best laid plans are just that—plans. It is the Lord who directs our steps (see Proverbs 16:9). When we let go of our individual expectations, my husband and I were able to be more flexible and take advantage of every opportunity the Lord provided us. We were no longer disappointed when something like bad weather interfered with our weekend plans. We learned to understand that maybe God had something better in mind, and so we are always on the lookout for new ways to connect.1