“An archeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.”—Agatha Christie
Do you ever find yourself feeling alone even though you are with your spouse? Do you ever think that your spouse has placed other people or their job/business first over you? Do you wonder if your spouse cares or loves you?
I recently finished reading a book ‘Retirement Planning’ by my friend Rose Wakiria, which helps readers prepare for that inevitable stage, if God allows. Whereas the book addresses financial issues, it also looks at both psychological and social factors to consider. Rose says this in her book, ‘Do not neglect your family during your working life, but instead nurture your relationships as the time investment will pay off in retirement when you enjoy a loving and supportive family.’
I am sure you have heard stories of women who opt to take charge of their lives and pursue their interests when older, mainly because they had put their dreams on hold in order to take care of their families. These stories abound. Yes, there are many women who pursue their goals in the course of their lives, but majority are those who have to give up a thing or two for their families’ sakes. Let us also be clear that there are men who deny themselves for the benefit of their families. Many though are the primary providers and therefore have to do everything in their power to cater for the needs of their families.
The Anzayas, in their book ‘Zindua’, state that ‘a wife getting close to 40 tends to shift orientation from being a nurturer to seeking career advancement….She feels she has given sufficient time and attention to family. She may now have much less time for the home and may also appear to have lost interest in the family.’
Where am I going with this? Are couples interested in heavily investing in their future together for years to come? Do women deny themselves more than men warranting the decisions they make later in their lives? How do we go about the seasons faced in life that cause couples at times to even be apart or pursue different interests for a better tomorrow? Is it possible to be married but yet live life as single?
Whenever this topic comes up online, there is usually a lot of feedback from the womenfolk. Comments made are to the effect that husbands need to take good care of their wives as an investment for their older years when they will be weary; money is not everything so don’t chase after it too hard; that it is not fair to remember your wife only when the money is over or when an illness comes upon the husband; that a wife will not need the husband if he never needed her in the past; that a woman reciprocates what she has received in the earlier years, and so on and so forth.
The assumption made is that in many instances, wives are neglected by their husbands who are in pursuit of more money and finer things in life. The wives are left to take care of the home and the children. As a result of distance (whether physical or lack of adequate time together), physical and emotional connection disappears. Each individual gets comfortable doing what they love doing individually.
There could be other underlying issues that couples face that would lead to one take up certain opportunities at the expense of the family. And therein lies the conflict – providing for the family and spending time with them. Some people are forced to take up jobs that are either far away from their families or take up a lot of their time in order to give their families a good life.
The cost of living and multiple responsibilities (career, basic living conditions, school, extended family, illness, personal development etc) can push one to work extensively and spend very little time with the spouse or children. Others have taken up different hobbies or interests perhaps because it is the best thing to do or as a way of escaping challenges faced in a marital relationship. They no longer make time for common interests with their spouses. It becomes easier to say that there is little or no time left to do things together. Lastly, when one feels neglected, it is possible to be caught up in an affair or other forms of attachment due to emotional neglect.
“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Don’t neglect one another.” Hebrews 10: 23-25
Consider trying out the tips below to make things work out:
- Create healthy boundaries with your work. If it consumes you, it will consume your family.
- Set aside quality time for your family. It doesn’t have to be daily but make effort to connect with the family on various topics. Make time for your spouse and do things you enjoy doing together. This will pay off in the long run.
- Manage your expectations of your spouse. Don’t expect them to fulfill your every desire. However, also make your desires known to avoid any form of neglect. Find exciting things that can fill your soul up.
- Do not lie to yourself that things will get better for you as a couple as soon as your finances grow or improve. Work hard to grow the current affairs of your relationship. “For better or worse, for richer or poorer….”
- Husbands, do not neglect your wives. Love your wives as guided in Ephesians 5.25-29. ‘Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5.18. Be content with your wife.
- Wives, submit to your husbands in everything.
- Ensure you make time for physical intimacy with each other. ’The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.’ 1 Corinthians 7.3
- Keep hope alive for your relationship. Understand there is a time for everything. Look up to God to give you wisdom when you sense or know that you are drifting apart. Pray with your spouse.
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8