By: John Cothron
Life can be hard whether we like it or not, and this is not a surprise to most people. I had someone tell me he was getting divorced because he and his wife had grown apart. My thought is, why did they not grow together? Life! Children are born, we get distracted with all the noise, work appointments, school, kid’s sports, and anything else you can imagine; the challenge we face is losing track of the time we need to spend with our significant other.
The excuse for some is life happens and it is no big deal, “it is what it is”, so the saying goes. We settle way to easy when it comes to splitting up a family. When life gets tough with all the stuff that goes on is when we need to get tough. Who is going to fight for the families? Does it have to be we grow apart? Of course not; we all have a part in fighting for the ones we love, and we all have our parts in growing together, just like we all have our own part in creating distance.
A big part of this problem is far too many people do not know how to be together in a healthy manner. We can be very selfish when it comes to the things we want, instead of putting some of the focus on the other person. We expect them to focus on us, and we focus on us, so with two people focusing on themselves, nothing gets better.
There are ways to begin to grow together; realizing it takes both of you to make it work is a start, and committing to fixing whatever the challenge is, is the next step. Planning and being intentional about time spent together is a must; take turns making the plans, and surprise your partner occasionally. The little things can go a long way, a small kiss on the neck, opening doors, flowers, favorite meals, and the list is only limited to your imagination. When you show the other person you are thinking of them throughout the day, they feel special. In my own marriage of 22 plus years, we have had our ups and our downs and our almost dead seasons. During an almost dead season, my wife came up with the “Blue Bag Gift” concept. She loves to give people gifts. She puts a lot of time, thought, energy and sometimes a lot of money into giving the perfect gift. She found a blue gift bag that was small in one of her drawers and purchased me a small token and presented it to me. It was a huge gift to me. She said this is the Blue Bag and it is now in your possession. So when you see something that reminds you of me, place it in the bag and present it. I will love it and have The Blue Bag and then it will be my turn to get you a gift. There were no time limits or restrictions on this gift. She is very competitive so as soon as I had a gift for her, the bag was returned to me usually on the same day. It was a way for each of us to think of the other as we were trying to come out of the storms that married couples go through. It worked, and Honey, you have the Blue Bag (hint hint).
Communication is a major part of relationships becoming healthier or unhealthy; either we do not communicate, or we do not seek to understand what the other person is saying. Giving your partner your undivided attention goes a long way in the process, and it will help you better understand what they are trying to get across. It is a process and no one gets it right 100% of the time, do not take it personally, apply some grace. Expect the best from them, and find out what they are intending to say if you begin to feel angry.
No one ever said marriage and raising a family was easy, quitting is; failing at times and fixing it, shows resolve and courage. When people date, they tend to show the best side of who they are, and the focus is on winning the prize, consider marriage a marathon and strive for the prize daily, till death do you part.