Healthy Connections Day 3: Connecting with Our Spouse
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7, ESV)
Have you ever tried to play matchmaker (either actively or in your head)? Come on, admit it. I know I have! Couples whom I thought would be perfect for each other sometimes have worked out; other times, they haven’t. When I look back at some that didn’t work out, it’s pretty easy to see why they didn’t. They didn’t have a spark. There wasn’t that connection that is necessary to get a relationship off the ground. Looking back over the years of my own marriage and the relationship that is built into it, our connection took a while to get established. And even then, it took quite a bit of work to secure it. There were times when I thought someone was going to “trip over the cord,” severing the connection. But now the connection is well established, and the love I have for my wife is well described above by Solomon. It has a “death grip” on me and consumes me like a brilliant flame that cannot be quenched. But that doesn’t mean the connection is self-sufficient. Quite the contrary—as with other human connections, it takes work.
When you are in a close relationship long enough, you can tell when the connection is weakening. Have you felt that in your marriage before? Have you felt a little bit of a gap—a distance forming? Generally, couples don’t wake up on a random Tuesday and get divorced. It starts with a little gap. Keeping that gap from widening is crucial to staying well connected. How do you keep the connection strong? None of what I’m going to say from here on out is ground-breaking, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile (hopefully)!
Perhaps the best summary word for the rest of this article is the word “together.” Two things that are connected are together. The more secure the connection, the more together they are. Ask yourself—would that word be used to describe your relationship? There are many aspects to think about: spending time together; talking together; laughing together; crying together. And the word “only” doesn’t need to be in those sentences. You can spend time with friends, talk with friends, laugh with friends, and cry with friends. But none of those things should be done to the detriment of your relationship with your spouse. That should always supersede friendships.
Are you having issues with each other? Talk about it together. If your spouse loves you, they’ll listen. I’ve had many times in my life when I’ve done that, and I always felt better afterwards. Get things out in the open so you can work on it together. Don’t air your laundry about your spouse to your friends. How could that possibly make your connection stronger? Talking together about life in general is important, too. Knowing what’s going on in each other’s lives helps keep the connection strong. I know it gets more and more difficult when you have kids, because they all have magical ears that pick up everything you say (unless you ask them to do something). And that’s where spending time together comes in. Make time for each other. It can be a date night out, time after the kids are in bed, or in the morning before they wake up. Make time for each other where you are free to be open and honest. Of course, it doesn’t have to be all business. Spend time laughing together; it makes me sad when I see couples that never laugh together. Usually, my wife is laughing at me for being nonsensical, but that’s beside the point. I just love to hear her laugh. And—this is a big one in our society today—be present together. Sitting on the couch while killing time on our phones doesn’t really count as being together.
If I’m not spending time being together with my spouse, it means one of two things: I’m either spending it being together with someone else (friends, coworkers), or I’m spending it being alone. Neither of those are good options in a marriage, as both lend to the possibility of drifting apart. Stay connected, stay interested, stay intimate, stay romantic, stay best friends—and stay together.