It’s not uncommon for couples to find their relationship in a place where they believe they’ve grown apart. They haven’t really “grown” apart. They’ve slowly drifted away from one another. It’s not unlike mission drift. Marriage drift, like mission drift, unfolds slowly with seemingly insignificant decisions. Like a lazy river, the current is slow, usually goes unnoticed, and certainly doesn’t create an alarm. We mindlessly drift. But as life changes, such as children, a new job, relocating, losses, etc., many couples find themselves off course, in choppy, uncharted waters with no provisions or paddle.
Many couples marry with the expectation that the spark they had at the beginning of the relationship will self-maintain; it will naturally evolve and continue on its own. If we stop investing in our marriages, the spark will go out, and the relationship will drift. Like the second law of thermodynamics, the cooling of a marriage is inevitable unless we regularly infuse heat and energy into fueling and safeguarding the relationship. We must choose to do the hard work of investing in the relationship to protect it.
Are you heading to Marital Drift?
Access your Marriage Drift: Rate your responses on a scale of 1-10.
1 = Strongly disagree
5 = Neither agree nor disagree
- Do you regularly attend church together?
- Do you discuss the Bible as a couple outside of church?
- Do you regularly pray together beyond a blessing for meals?
- Do you have a marriage mission statement?
- Is there clarity in your communication with one another?
- Do you express appreciation for what your spouse does on behalf of you and your family?
- Do you have a date night with EACH OTHER ONLY at least once every two weeks?
- Is there growth in your fruit of the spirit? Love, patience, kindness, (Galatians 5:22-23)
- Do you have a SHARED plan for your future together?
- Are your friendships encouraging your marriage?
- Do you believe marriage is a lifelong commitment?
- Do people outside your family know you hold to Christian principles and precepts?
- Does your spouse listen to you when you need someone to talk to?
- Do you feel connected and bonded to your spouse?
- Do you feel lonely?
- Is it emotionally safe to confide and share my feelings with my spouse?
- We have the ability to solve conflicts healthily.
- We participate in a relationship education class yearly.
- We often engage with one another sexually.
- Do you sincerely apologize when you’ve behaved poorly?
Add your scores and calculate your overall average. Any score that’s a 7 or lower is heading toward Marriage Drift.
How Do We Get Back on Course?
Every marriage experiences drift at some point. The key is being proactive about getting back on course. It won’t just naturally right itself.
1.The gospel is primary to protecting our marriages. If we aren’t convinced that our Christian faith is essential, then we won’t sacrifice to maintain it. We often ask couples, “Will you do it for Jesus’?
- Don’t put your marriage on the back burner. It’s twice as challenging to rebuild a neglected marriage than to keep it strong. You must be proactive.
- Cut back on other commitments. If you’re exhausted physically, you won’t be fully present emotionally. You must carve out time to maintain your marriage.
- Reestablish common interest. Read a book together. Do something that requires you to interact with one another. Go out of your way to be together.
- Address the elephant in the room. We all know it’s there. Ask the question.
- Work on yourself rather than criticize or point out your spouse’s negatives.
- Express a simple word of appreciation for something your spouse has done or how they are: I appreciate your patience with me, I appreciate you taking out the trash, I appreciate your parenting skills.
- Attend a relationship and marriage education class or conference annually.
- Seek biblical counseling if necessary.
The future of your family and future generations is at stake.
“We must remember that love begins at home, and we must also remember that the future of humanity passes through the family.” Mother Theresa
Live the Life South Florida exists to strengthen marriages and families through healthy relationship education, beginning in middle school through senior adults. We are educators, coaches, and pastoral counselors. If you’re looking for a clinical counselor or therapist, we are blessed to have many in the South Florida community. We’d be honored to provide you a list of highly qualified and reputable individuals. Visit livethelifesoflo.org