My husband and I just celebrated 5 years of marriage—and when I look back, I smile, remembering lots of laughter, sweet conversations, the birth of our first baby, and even the bliss of curling up on the couch and watching a stupid movie far too late on a Friday night.
But I also remember what I’d sometimes rather forget.
These last 5 years have contained more life changes than some people I know have gone through in their entire lives. New jobs, new careers even, new cities, new health problems, cancer scares- the list goes on.
Whenever life is falling apart (or even just changing), your marriage reaches a subconscious fork in the road. It’s not always as black and white as getting divorced or staying together.
Marriage is an everyday decision to fight for OR forget about intimacy.Tweet this!
I’m not just talking about, you know, “intimacy.” I’m talking about choosing to cultivate friendship with your spouse even when you’re tempted to zone out in front of the TV or your Instagram feed. It’s choosing to argue when you’ve already dealt with enough today and it’d be easier to ignore the issue and let him win… even though that apparent victory will build a bigger and bigger wall between you until you wake up one day and don’t know each other anymore.
And it’s choosing to support your spouse and his or her decision-making even on the days you simply don’t like each other very much… Because when everyone else has turned their back, you realize all you have is each other- and if you’re not careful, you really won’t even have that.
I don’t think most people say “I do” intending to have an affair or destroy their marriage. It’s just that when the ice breaks, they find themselves drifting apart on two separate blocks.
We have to choose to fight for intimacy- every moment of every day. Because if you’re not pushing forward, the devil’s pushing you backward… and he likes for you to live dangerously close to the edge.
But how do we prepare ourselves for the battle?
1. To strengthen your marriage, you must strengthen your relationship with God.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11).
The devil wants nothing more than to rip apart marriage, because it is literally an earthly picture of Christ’s love for us.
If you’re not growing in your relationship with God, your spiritual armor isn’t there to protect you when you’re attacked from all sides- and you will be. Prayer, studying your Bible, and worshipping the Lord will all strengthen your Christian walk- and I highly recommend doing these things WITH your spouse!
2. To strengthen your marriage, you must strengthen your friendship.
Do you and your spouse live totally separate lives? While it’s certainly ok not to be gung ho about everything your spouse does (anyone else ecstatic when football season is over?), it can grow you together to express interest in the things he or she gets most excited about. While I’ll never be a football fan, I’ll admit that I can tolerate it so much more now that I had my husband explain the game to me- and he was more than thrilled! But it’s not just about hobbies- never forget to invest time in your relationship. Make date night a sacred part of your household- a time every week that you set aside specifically to reconnect among the craziness.
3. To strengthen your marriage, you must always remember the love that brought you together.
We can all remember the butterflies when we first fell in love. Infatuation is a crazy thing- every little aspect of your boyfriend or girlfriend was absolutely, positively perfect- until you got married! Then those cute little quirks got slightly annoying… and then suddenly super annoying.
It seems to happen to every marriage- your eyes used to light up when he entered the room, but now you have two kids and one on the way, a messy home, and you can’t wait to get some HELP around here! Things sure do change- and it’s easy to become bitter or apathetic toward your spouse.
That’s why it’s crucial to always remember what drew the two of you together.
Remember that first kiss. Remember what he said to you as he was proposing. Remember the dress she had on the night you realized you couldn’t spend life without her. And thank God for the treasure He’s blessed you with- it definitely helps your perspective when somebody just can’t seem to get his socks into the hamper.
Choose to fight. Choose to love forever.