It is so easy to drift away from the one you love. You just lay there and do nothing. That’s all it takes and like two people floating in a body of water the waves will move you further and further apart.
Life can be just like waves that move you further from your significant other. As you go about your day getting up, rushing to get your children off to school and yourselves off to work you can end up disconnected. The daily needs, such as grocery shopping, laundry, meal preps, cleaning, homework and bedtime rituals, church, etc. is endless. If you aren’t careful you will find that days, weeks, months or years go by without any “real emotional connection” with the one you love.
People talk about the work that is involved in relationships. When relationships are new, it doesn’t feel like work, does it? Spending time together, talking or texting all hours of the day or night, coming up with plans to see one another and thinking about where the relationship is going is just part of the excitement. The work is keeping the excitement in your relationship when life has gotten in the way. You could be exhausted by life, but time together is still important. You might wonder, when do we have time to spend together? I’ve felt that way during some seasons of my marriage. Some of you are working 2 jobs while others are working opposite shifts to make financial ends meet. It’s rough. Still, if necessary, start with a midnight date or 3 am meet up once a week or month but do something. Okay, that 3 am meet up is a bit extreme. My point is you should find a way to be together. Do something. Here’s another example that is not as extreme as a 3 am date, get your favorite dessert (hide it from the children because they will certainly want it) and reminisce about some fun times together, dream about your future, play a game without your children around. You must protect your relationship even when the children are young. I would say particularly when your children are young, you must protect your relationship to prevent a drift.
It is so easy to become completely absorbed in the lives of your children and completely neglect your spouse. Remember how I talked about doing nothing. Neglect is like floating down the river maybe headed out together but drifting further apart. You must hold on to one another. One way of doing that is talking. Now I know I am showing my age, but I recommend talking not texting.
I have spoken to several people who find themselves only speaking about their children and no longer knowing how to dive deep into one another’s lives. If you do not know what to talk about any more then play a game like Family Matters that provides questions that allow you to share stories about your life that can lead to greater knowledge of one another. Look on the internet for relationship building questions if you do not want to play a game. You want to continue to learn about one another because you are constantly changing with the new experiences that life brings. Find things that will help you with your conversation. Conversations are important not just doing things together but staying connected emotionally.
Make sure your conversations are not about painful relationship issues but about your lives (dreams, everyday life, work, school etc.). These conversations are like reaching out and holding on to one another when the waves of life could cause you to drift apart. Yes, you need to talk about issues but schedule a time to do that apart from the times you schedule to have fun.
If you have ever been to the ocean you’ll know there are waves that can be so gentle by the shore but step out further and you may find there are some waves that will overpower you, knock you down and keep you down. Some are downright dangerous. From my experience, life can be like waves and if you do not hold on to one another, life, like the overpowering, dangerous waves, can knock you down plus cause you to drift far away from the one you love. So my advice is to hold on tight, reach out to one another and Stop the Drift!
Here are some Hope Keys (strategies) to Stop the Drift
1. Pray about it – You can use the help so start by talking to God about your problems. Make it a habit to start with prayer first. Even if you aren’t sure whether God exist, what is it going to hurt to ask for help? You speak to yourself so just ask the Lord for His help in stopping the drift in your relationship.
2. Start Date Nights – These can be hard because there can be so much to do in the home and with the family. However just let something go for a minute, the dishes can wait, cleaning up can wait, so can that video game or television show. If the child’s schedule is slightly off, it will not kill him or her. Relax and make time for your spouse. Even if it is just 2 hours a week, it is a time for you to connect with one another. If you have children, get a baby sitter and even if you are financially strapped, drive to the park and sit and just be together or go for a walk. You do not have to spend a bunch of money on a date night. The important part is being together. Let me suggest you not put pressure on one another to spend money for an extravagant date night, that is not necessary. One day you can do that, but extravagant dates are not the norm for most people during child rearing years.
3. Have meals together – Do the best you can and set it up nice. Yes, it is extra work, but it pays off big time. Have meals together without the television on and especially without the phone. Put the phone in another room and let the notifications beep for an hour while you eat and talk about what is going on in each other’s world.
4. Entertain others together – Invite other couples over and share a meal together and or have a game night. When I was young my parents use to play cards with a group of their friends, but they had fun and laughed. They also went places together. It was a good example of doing community. Learn about one another. Build a community where you can hang out with one another and build friendships. Everyone doesn’t have the gift of hospitality but if you can try to have other people over without pressure.
5. Drive around and dream – I remember riding with my parents to look at the Christmas decorations. That did not cost anything but gas money. Even though my brother and I were in the backseat, my parents were together. My husband and I did the same thing before we had children and later with our daughters when they were young. Whether we were dreaming about the type of neighborhood we would want to live in one day or admiring the extravagant decorations some people put up, it was us…holding on to one another. You can do that too.
6. Have a picnic in the park. Let you kids go run around and you get some time to look at them together, admire your creation. Laugh a little, smile at one another, hold hands, if that is not too much PDA (personal displays of affection) for you. Fly a kite, play catch, Swing or go down the slide. Basically, work on enjoying your life together. Hold on tight, do not let go and Stop the Drift.
Dr. Angela ~ Offering Hope and Encouragement for your Journey