5 steps

5 Steps to Take Today to Help You Reconnect in Marriage (Plus 7 More!)

Maybe you’re wondering, “What in the world happened?”

 

Your marriage vows still resonate in your heart: “For richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; till death do us part.” While taking those vows, you anticipated a lifetime of partnership, of lives knit together with support, love, friendship, and encouragement.

 

Now, you’re left asking when your marriage veered off course? How could you feel so ga-ga in love with each other back then, and so painfully lonely now?

 

In most cases, it’s life that happened. Pepper in two hearts prone to selfishness and before you know it, the couple everyone thought would “actually make it” now feels about to crumble.

 

Reason for Hope

 

There’s great hope for every marriage that’s grounded in the foundation of Jesus Christ.

 

Be encouraged that God is for you, He is for your marriage, and He wants you to experience all the fullness He intends for your relationship. He will help you find it if you allow Him.

 

Controlling the Controllable

 

Part of the trouble is that you can’t control your spouse. Oh, you can try to manipulate him, or try to convince (aka nag) him to express more care and affection. You can ignore him until he makes the changes you’re after. You can withhold participation in the marriage bed. You can stop picking up his underwear.

 

Yes, you can do all those things, but should you?

 

Every one of the actions mentioned above are examples of the wrong approach. They’re sure to backfire and create the exact opposite effect that you seek. But you may not know what else to try.

 

Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result – well, that’s the definition of insanity.

 

Something’s gotta change.

 

 

What if you, personally, took a few first steps? All by yourself. How do you think that would go over?

 

Depending on the depth of decline in your marriage, healing may take a while. A very long while. But if you could move forward to a level of affection and friendship even greater than what you once shared, would it be worth it?

 

 

A Little of Our Story

 

My husband Mike and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary just a month ago. I’ll share with you that I have a stronger depth of love, respect, and desire to be next to him than I did when we dated in high school. That’s saying a lot. But I’ll also share that this wasn’t always so.

 

Once upon a time, we each became so focused on our careers, on our workplace friendships, and on material things that we completely neglected one another. We stopped talking about anything but the kids. Intimacy lacked connection. Weekends were filled with separate activities and side jobs. It felt “easier” to stay late at work than to go home and pretend we didn’t notice the drift in our marriage. I felt I couldn’t get his attention, so I stopped giving him mine.

 

Things became so bad that I asked him to move out. And he did.

 

But his absence didn’t help me feel better, it only magnified our struggle and a strong sense of failure. During three weeks of separation, I remembered a few things, like how much I desired what we used to have. I missed my old friend. I wanted him back. And I wanted to stop hurting him.

 

Ever so slowly, the ship that had veered so sharply off course began to right its way. With God’s help, restoration came to our marriage one very small correction at a time.

 

Where to Begin

 

From my current vantage point, I wish I could shout from the rooftops:

 

“Don’t wait until things are terrible!

Begin to make small changes right now

– today –

and you’ll see big results.”

 

Accordingly, I’m sharing my best tips on where to begin. Remember, the only one in this marriage that you can control is yourself. Each of these 5 steps starts with you.

 

Consider them an investment into your future and cover each step in fervent prayer. I don’t believe much explanation is needed before you begin, but if you’d like clarification, I invite you to CONTACT me here.

 

5 steps to begin today:

 

  • Realize he’s hurting as much as you are.
  • Take steps to ease his pain instead of deliberately intensifying it.
  • Let your guard down and show vulnerability.
  • Communicate honestly, with humility, showing gentleness and kindness in the process. Don’t pretend everything’s okay when it’s not.
  • Take every available opportunity to laugh together.

 

 

7 additional steps I wish we’d taken earlier:

 

These came later in our healing process, but had we initiated them sooner, I believe we’d have seen more rapid results:

 

  • Praying together
  • Attending worship as a family
  • Prioritizing a dating habit
  • Focusing on more than just kids (common projects, goals, activities – opportunities to work as a team)
  • Saying goodbye to outside relationships that compete with or are harmful to your marriage
  • Asking the Lord to restore physical intimacy and passion
  • Learning each other’s love language and becoming fluent in it

 

 

 

When your marriage feels out of control, remember that nothing is impossible for God. He can take the worst of situations and use them for His glory and our good. Don’t give up, rather, get to work. With His help, you’re sure to find beauty in what you once considered ashes. Underestimating the importance of prayer in this process will hinder your efforts. Let the Lord lead and prepare hearts as you go.

 

I’ve written a fair amount about marriage in my blog at   Strengthened By The Word. To read some of the posts from the archives, follow this link:  HERE

 

Blessings,

Cathy McIntosh

~ embracing joy in a jumbled life

 

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Cathy McIntosh

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Cathy McIntosh is a Ministry Founder, Author, Speaker, Blogger, and Faith Coach. She loves to encourage women to follow hard after Jesus and discover the blessings only He can deliver. Cathy celebrates life with her best friend and husband of more than 3 decades, Michael. Their children are grown and married, but live nearby and delight their world. After all the years of parenting, Cathy holds to fast to her saying that “every age of my children is my favorite.” Each season of life brings unique struggles and makes life feel jumbled, but the untold joy of the Lord is always ours to embrace. Learn more about Cathy and visit her blog at www.strengthenedbytheword.com
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  • Karen Sargent

    There’s so much truth here, Cathy. We just celebrated our 30th as well, and I am SO thankful to be past those hard years. For us it was about 12 years. I joked (with bitterness) that I kept him around to mow the lawn. As our children reached the tween years and didn’t require as much energy (they could make a sandwich, shower themselves, etc.), I had a little more energy to invest in my hubby. Now our youngest will leave for college next month, and while I dread the empty nest, I look forward to our friendship growing even stronger.

    • Cathy McIntosh

      There’s a fun, unexpected sort of 2nd honeymoon phase with empty nesting. 🙂 It’s a great time to rekindle friendship and romance. It’s not easy having the kids gone, but it’s a new, exciting exciting of life. Enjoy and celebrate! 🙂

  • I’ve felt this struggle to stay connected to my husband recently. We’ve gone from college kids who could take classes alongside each other to a SAHM and writer and a full-time employee gearing up to chase his own career goals. This blog post definitely confirms what I already thought as far as steps to take from letting the chasm between us grow bigger. Thank you, Cathy!

  • Chelsea Bolks

    Great tips here! You are very brave to share your past struggles like you did – I commend you for that – and most of all for sticking it out! I am blessed to be married to my best friend and the hard times have only served to strengthen our marriage also!

  • andreajesus10

    and if God is not in the middle of it all – none of the other stuff matters!

  • Susan Evans

    Realizing that your husband is probably hurting, too, and showing vulnerability to encourage him can go a long way. Congratulations on your 30th anniversary, and your story encourages others that restoration is possible.

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