A Generation of Marriages Starved for Connection
I stood hunched over in the middle of our mudroom, helping our toddler get her boots on. Just as I reached my arm out to grab her gloves on top of the washer, my husband walked by. On his way to grab another child’s coat, he grabbed my hand. His touch caught me off guard, so I looked up and caught a glimpse of his face. It showed a spark of happiness and surprise, and I realized he thought I was reaching out for him, wanting to connect. My heart sank.
In that moment, I felt sad. In part, my sadness was due to my husband’s excitement over such a small gesture. I wondered, is this really the only kindness I’m showing him? Misintended acts of love? What a wife I am! And partly, I felt sad because I didn’t really want him to think I was reaching out for him. I knew it wasn’t right, but it’s how I felt. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of thinking I was reaching out for him because I felt he hadn’t earned it. I’m not reaching out for you when you haven’t reached out for me, I thought.
And then, guilt sank in. Thoughts started streaming through me like: I hate this. I don’t want to be this kind of wife. Is this what our marriage has boiled down to? Are mudroom moments the only time we connect? This is terrible. Anger quickly showed up to the party: Why am I the only one trying to make this work? When will he understand and start showing me the love I want? I’m so sick of him not caring enough!
Sometimes there are so many pebbles that cover up what lies beneath that we aren’t sure which pebble to pick up first.
We hadn’t had big ticket items in our marriage. No affairs, no big life adjustments or stressors. No big health crisis. We had healthy children, enough money to pay the bills, and jobs we enjoyed.
So what was the problem? How had we gotten here? How do so many other couples feel the same?
Working against us
Something we’ve got to pin down first is that our marriage isn’t the real problem. [bctt tweet=”If we’re going to be wise women, we must not attack our marriage or husband but instead the factors working against our marriage union.” via=”no”]
It’s often not that our husbands are terrible people, but that there are parts of our lives that are impacting our marriage in a terrible way. A slow burn that goes undetected until it starts hurting.
Let’s consider a few.
Colossians 1:17 tells us that “…in him all things hold together.” When our priorities are not centered around Jesus himself, things fall apart. With pressures coming from all around us to do all the things and hustle and to not miss out, it’s no wonder we slowly slide into centering our lives on things besides Jesus.
But this cannot be our excuse. We must realign our own hearts to center and focus on the One who holds our marriages and families together – Jesus. We’ve got to clear out everything else and get back to Him. We’ve got to set Him apart in our lives and hold tightly to the ministry He has called us to tend to – our marriage.
Do whatever it takes to make your relationship with God a priority – whether it’s saying “no” to volunteering, to a friend, or to extra sleep – and protect time alone with God.
If we don’t protect our time, we give it away. Practices, volunteering, appointments, work, friends, and so on. Sometimes we’re so busy being available for other people and activities that we neglect our own marriage. If we don’t ruthlessly guard alone time with our husbands, the time will go toward something else.
Sit down with your current calendar and determine when you’ll carve out sacred time alone with your husband, distraction free. Here are a few ideas:
- Choose one night every week when you’ll turn your phones off after the kids go to bed and enjoy a special dessert, simply connecting and talking.
- Schedule a monthly sitter to come the same night every month so you and your husband can enjoy a date. Can’t afford one? Call friends until you find one that would swap kids with you once a month.
Let’s admit we’re too busy, and then bring our schedules before God for Him to be the boss.
Enough said here, right? But I’m not sure we’re quite getting this. While we have rules in our home with ‘screen time’, my husband and myself included end up on our phones much more than we’d like to admit. So we keep acknowledging this, and we keep putting boundaries in place to guard our marriage for connection.
We cannot get comfortable with not doing anything different. Keep admitting when you’ve been on your phone too much, and put something in place to hold you accountable to staying off. Hint: if you have children in your home, ask them to hold you accountable – they’re killin’ it with the whole honesty thing.
Lack of personal discipline
This one gets me. It’s sobering. Let’s consider: How well are we at modeling personal discipline in our homes and with our people? How much self-control do we have? Are we more excited to watch Netflix than we are to spend time with the Creator of the universe? Do we choose sleep over spiritual growth? How can we, as wives, expect our marriage to be great when we ourselves aren’t sharing intimate time with the Greatest One?
I surely don’t want us to feel guilt here – but I do want us to get fired up about getting our hearts on track and passionately living in ways that ensure our hearts are first ministered to and loved God himself. It is only through us first having the personal discipline to be filled up with God so much that we aren’t complaining that our husbands aren’t.
Do the hard thing and practice self-control and the practice of creating new rhythms.
The results of living in a marriage where you and your husband are disconnected are many, from decreased level of physical intimacy to the higher levels of conflict, criticism, or defensiveness.
Healing the connection
It’s okay to admit that you’re not okay with how your marriage feels. If it feels like there are layers to feeling disconnected to your husband, take an honest assessment of the points above, and watch how your marriage grows.
A great book to help you create deeper connection with your husband is Dear Wife: 10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection with Your Husband. You can purchase your copy here.
You were created for connection, and there is a community of wives who share their struggles and celebrate growth at A Wife Like Me. Encouragement awaits!
Amanda Davison is the wife to a Minnesota farmer, mother of three, and President of the nonprofit, A Wife Like Me. She is an author and speaker, and serves on staff at her local church, where her and her husband lead the marriage mentor team. Amanda is relentlessly sharing how her education in counseling and God’s word changed her life and marriage.