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Life is good, so why does my marriage feel so distant?!

far_awayOk…this week’s post is a reality check for me.  I LOVE my life.  I feel very blessed and am so thankful for what God has given to me.  But, the last few weeks have been a sobering reminder of just how TOUGH life can be.

Recently, Julia and I signed up to be marriage coaches for small group leaders at our church.  I’m really excited about it.  It’s a way to use my passions to reach other people and encourage them in their marriage.  Also, it’s a great opportunity for us to have a ministry TOGETHER, which we haven’t done in a long time.  But, we knew that as soon as we got in a place to do what we felt God calling us to do, that we would be attacked.  And that’s exactly what happened.

From the moment we agreed to be coaches, Julia and I have felt distant.  Life was busy like it always is.  I had a couple business trips.   Eli started back in school.  But, nothing was that different though.  All of a sudden, Julia and I just felt like roommates.  It was weird.  We still loved each other, but felt like we didn’t know each other anymore.  And we BOTH felt it, but couldn’t figure out anything to do to fix it.  The evenings we did have together resulted in surface conversations and watching mindless TV.

As a result of this, I found myself spending a lot of time in prayer.  Isn’t it a shame, that it often takes desperate situations to give our prayer lives much substance?…but, maybe that’s just me.  I felt God speaking to me about a few things during this time.

  • From a Bible study Julia and I have been doing together, I really felt convicted by Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about the tree in Daniel 4.  How he had become so great and self-reliant that God saw fit to take everything away from him.  I realized how I didn’t want it to take devastation in my life to get me to “praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven” the way He deserves.
  • I recently felt convicted/reminded about my role as a father from a conversation I had with a friend.  We both shared how we had a hard time having the energy to be a dad when our kids wanted us.  That it can be so tempting to just “get by” rather than make the effort to really do fun things with them.
  • If we are going to “lead” others, we need to expect to be spiritually attacked.  I realized that if we are going to be able to be effective as coaches, we cannot do it on our own.
  • Lastly, I felt challenged by last week’s message at our church titled “Living for God in a Godless Culture”.  I felt inadequate in my passion for reaching the many people all around me who need help and need the Gospel.

All of these issues stacked up to make me feel overwhelmed and unworthy of the grace and blessings that God has given to me.  It resulted in me crying in the back row of church with Julia as I prayed for God to help me be the husband I need to, the father I need to, the coach I need to be to our new group, and of course to help Julia and I communicate and work through whatever had been derailing our relationship.

As cathartic as that moment was, it wasn’t a magic spell that fixed everything.  I have spent a lot of time in prayer since then, and we’ve been able to have some good conversations in the last several days.  With God’s help, we’re doing MUCH better now and I’m confident that our marriage will continue to grow and become stronger than ever.  Also, I know that HE WILL USE US.  He has called us to this ministry and I believe good things will happen as a result.

My advice to you:

If you and your wife feel distant, there is going to be some underlying cause.  Make it your top priority to work through it.  The work WILL be tough, but is undoubtably worth it.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Are you spending enough quality time together (talking and doing things…not just being physically near each other)
  • Are you too busy?  Maybe you need to cut out some activities.
  • Are you putting your wife’s needs over yours?
  • How is your prayer life?  If your marriage doesn’t have roots in The Word, then you have nothing to keep you grounded.
  • Are there any sins or issues that need to be confessed or discussed?  Nothing will derail a relationship quite like secrets and lies.  Confession is a powerful tool that take away its power over you.