We don’t even talk anymore
And we don’t even know what we argue about.
Don’t even say I love you no more
‘Cause saying how we feel is no longer allowed.
Some people will work things out
And some just don’t know how to change
Let’s not wait till the water runs dry.
We might watch our whole lives pass us by
Let’s not wait till the water runs dry
We’ll make the biggest mistake of our lives
Don’t do it, baby ~ Boyz II Men
It was so easy singing that song as a young girl. I had never imagined that people would argue about anything and everything. I remember how shocked I was as an adult when I realized that my parents had fights. There were instances when they would operate nil by mouth. I was quite surprised. Baffled. Why wouldn’t they just sit down and iron out the issues, I thought to myself. However, I am glad that I got to see that reality. It helped me understand that this is part of life. How you handle the fights on the other hand, is what counts.
My husband. I met him at a time when I had already closed the marriage chapter in my head. I had prayed for quite a while and finally thought that the silence I was experiencing from God was His way of letting me know that it was best to move on. And move on I did. But in church, I met him. He was a regular there. One thing led to another. And here I was, interested in knowing every detail about his life. I hoped it was mutual.
We would talk for hours on end. You know that exciting stage at the beginning of something magical? Yes, the Dream Stage. Calls late into the night. One time he escorted me halfway home. He was in his car, I was in mine. We lived 26km apart. He lived in diaspora. If you are Kenyan, you know what I mean. We drove to a petrol station and parked the cars and talked till very late. The guards chased us away. Me and my talk. It’s my strength. But during this early stage of our relationship, he would talk a lot too.
Today, we are married. Two kids. I am forever grateful to God. However, there are awkward moments that come with these blessings. We have our busy schedules. Work, children, ministry. To a point we neglect each other. We have found ourselves talking mechanically. Remember to pay the rent. Schools are closing. We need a holiday plan. Mum needs to go to hospital. I have choir practice so kindly be home with the children. Friend X has lost a loved one, how can we help? When is your work trip? In other instances, we do not talk at all. Reality, good people. I have asked my husband a couple of times whether the man I used to talk to for eons is the same man I was sharing a room with. It felt like we are mere roommates.
Roommates or soulmates? How do people get to this point, where one is okay with everything else consuming their time except making time for the one, they have committed their lives to? After all, was it not companionship that drew the two together? Wasn’t companionship going to carry us through?
It has been said that being lonely in marriage is the loneliest feeling of all. As a result of this loneliness, we seek out something that will fill that void. Some of us dedicate ourselves completely to our busy schedules, our kids or friendships. We look forward to talking to people who notice our achievements, ideas, looks, dressing and more, whether at work or elsewhere. And in only a matter of time, we are emotionally attached to these people. With or without realizing it, we no longer have anything to talk about with our spouses.
Quite often, one is even too tired to have sex. Yet, sex is key in marriage. And if you are not having sex, guess which cousin pays you a visit? Suspicion. You end up suspecting your spouse of cheating. If he is not having sex with me, then who is he getting intimate with? Before you know it, you are now going through each other’s stuff looking for any suspicious document, message. Anything. If this is not the case, one may be going through the motions of life. You purpose to pursue your interests, and completely neglect your spouse. If you are a woman, you focus on your children, waiting for them to be grown up for you to take off on your wings. If you are a man, you may find comfort in the arms of another woman.
Stuck. Lost interest. Feelings of regret. Disillusioned. She is seeking a relationship. He is seeking affirmation. Myriad of emotions that we experience during this season. Life happens. It is a vicious cycle.
But how can we move forward from this rat race? How can we get back to the point where the waters do not run dry in our relationships?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13.4-7.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6.9.
I believe that our expectations of each other are detrimental to our relationships if they are unrealistic. Please read Expectations. CS Lewis says A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. The answer? Find your happiness and identity in God.
Connect as a couple to God. I believe strongly that families that pray together, stay together. Commit time to read the Bible together. Commit to praying together as a couple.
Cultivate your friendship. There are so many proponents of this notion. It therefore must be effective. Good friendships need work. This may also entail having shared experiences like traveling, music, dining, church ministry. And talk. Laugh.
Renew your relationship by doing exciting things like dating. It is interesting how this can easily be neglected. So, take care of it. And pursue sexual intimacy. It may include having sex dates just to make sure it happens. I never used to think there may be need for sex dates coz I thought it would happen anytime. Well, well, well. Have sex dates.
Cut any intimate or tempting relationships with persons of the opposite sex.
If you are single and longing for marriage, do not despair when you read this. Your experience may be different. You are better equipped and have a chance to make the best out of the relationship when the time comes.
What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? ~ Gary L. Thomas