Over the years I’ve watched ministry take a toll on many marriages. I’ve watched good, well-intentioned pastors lose their marriage, family and job because they loved the church more than they loved their wife. The demands of ministry are great and never ending. That’s what makes it so difficult for good hearted men to say “NO” and have times they are intentionally unavailable. But this is the very discipline it requires to nurture the most important love of your life.
Marriage is a living organism that requires constant nurture. While you may not realize it your relationship is never in neutral, you’re either moving forward or backward, growing to new levels of intimacy or drifting toward disconnect. I’ve discovered several warning signs that can help identify the “disconnect” before the damage is too severe. If you see any of these in your relationship it’s likely you’re experiencing relational drift and need to make some quick adjustments.
- Not serving one another. When there is a high level of connection among a couple they willingly and intentionally serve one another. But a couple that is disconnecting tends to be self-focused.
- Subtle withdraw. Couple’s who are disconnecting find themselves in different rooms doing their own thing in the evenings or on their day off. Instead of doing life together they’re doing their own thing.
- Selfishness. If I find myself looking to “GET” rather than “GIVE” to Cindy it’s a clear indication that we’re disconnected. Love focuses on the needs of others. When I’m focused solely upon my own needs I’m failing to love my wife.
- Critical attitude. If you find yourself nitpicking your spouses habits or actions then it’s a clear indication that a disconnection has taken place. Ruth Graham has been quoted saying, “My job is to love Billy, not change him.” A critical spirit is often an indication of suppressed anger. So if you find yourself being critical look for the deeper reason for your attitude.
- Lack of touch. One of a woman’s greatest needs is affection, while one of the greatest needs of a man is sexual fulfillment. When a couple neglects the physical development of their relationship it’s a sign they’ve disconnected. Touch is an essential element in maintaining a healthy connection in your relationship.
- Impatience. Marriage requires selfless humility. If you find yourself being snippy or short you need to investigate why.
What’s your next step to take your marriage to another level of connectedness?