Posted in family life, musings

filling my marriage with love

Despite the financial and practical headache of divorce, I think it is often easier to split up than to hold a marriage together, even (especially?) when there are kids involved. Children make it harder to find the time to invest in your marriage; the stress of added expenses and responsibilities leads to shortened tempers and sharpened tongues; the lack of sleep and increase of worry contribute to emotional and impulsive choices. Our own flaws, quirks, sinful tendencies, and past baggage drive us away from each other as well, their effects exacerbated by the absence of time to relax to and put things in perspective. And as we grow more accustomed to each other and our infatuation settles down, we start to notice only the things that irritate us and take the rest for granted.

My primary love language, to borrow from Gary Chapman’s schema, is quality time – so when school and work and sick kids have prevented us from having a good conversation or a chance to snuggle and just be together, I start feeling unloved and the irrational thoughts just flow from there. I get angry at every little thing he does that isn’t perfect. I barb my tongue even as I desperately hope he’ll want to spend time with me. I start blaming him, in my head, for every struggle we’re having financially or in parenting. So if we didn’t make it a priority to spend time together and rebuild that feeling of love, it would be extremely hard for us to make this marriage work. Similarly, if I don’t make sure that I’m doing the things that make my husband feel loved – like listening to him well, giving him physical love and closeness, and taking care of the little things that need to be done around the house – he is going to be more stressed, more on edge, and more likely to lose his cool when things with the kids or school get frustrating. Actively investing in each other, intentionally trying to give each other love in a personally meaningful way, prevents so much strife and so many misunderstandings! And yet so often we neglect it, and take each other’s love and happiness for granted…

All this is to say, take the time to learn what makes your spouse feel loved and then live it out! Build up the love and joy in your marriage and in your home – there is only so much you can do alone, of course, but I believe in the majority of cases both spouses want to fix the malaise and tension in their relationships, and all it takes is a little bit of intentionality.

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