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Wifey Wednesday: Developing Habits

It's Wednesday, the day that we talk marriage! I write a post, and then the rest of you either write your own Wifey Wednesday and then come back here and enter your link, or you leave a comment!

So today I want to talk about habits, to go along with my post earlier this week, "Just Do It".

First, a little bit of background. My husband and I teach at marriage conferences across Canada, and on February 6 we're giving one at our local church in Belleville, Ontario (it's always a little scary doing something at your home church, but I'm sure it will be fine).

Anyway, one thing that I've noticed about couples in trouble is that they didn't start in trouble. At the beginning, there may have been one or two things that weren't great, but really the marriage didn't need to end up that way. And rarely does a marriage disintegrate overnight. Something happens over a period of time.

And that something isn't always something horribly sinful. It's usually more because we become lazy. He gets home from work and he's tired, so he grabs dinner and then collapses in front of the TV all night. He didn't mean to, but he did. And soon he's doing it every night and you're not communicating. You didn't mean to stop communicating, but you've developed habits that make a good marriage hard to maintain.

Likewise, she loves having kids and throws everything into them. He wants to leave them with a baby-sitter so they can go out, just the two of us, but she can't picture who to leave them with. So she says no. And soon he stops trying to spend any time as a couple, but she rebuffs him. The kids start climbing into bed, and they stay there. There is no "couple", there's only the family. And that's not healthy.

It isn't that we ever meant for the marriage to get bad. It isn't that we ever made a conscious decision to push our spouse away. But often we develop habits--the way that we spend our time, the way we do things--that work directly against couple intimacy.

And these habits WILL come automatically unless you take proactive steps to stop them. It isn't that you need to decide to love your husband more, although that would help. It isn't even that you need to decide to put him first, although that will help. What you really need to do is make conscious STEPS, and not just conscious thoughts, to put your marriage first.

A marriage will not grow on its own. It will not enrich itself by itself. It needs you to do something to kickstart it in the right direction (and hopefully it needs your husband to do the same thing).

So ask yourself today: with the way that I spend my time, organize my life, and parent my kids, am I enriching my marriage or jeopardizing my marriage? Am I working towards closer intimacy, or am I pushing him away (even if I don't mean to)? And if the answer is the latter, change it now. If you don't, ten years from now when a crisis hits, you'll have no marriage reserves to draw on. That's why couples break up.

They've developed these habits that push them away from each other, and then they can't handle the stresses of life.

So what steps can you take today to reclaim your marriage? Can you feed the kids early and eat dinner as a couple once a week? Can you take a walk together after dinner? Can you kick the kids out of the bed? Can you give them an earlier bedtime, even if they need to play in their rooms, so that you can spend some time with your husband? Can you consider getting rid of the TV?

Think about it! And if you have any ideas to share, or any questions for the rest of us, leave a comment or write your own Wifey Wednesday post and link it up in the Mcklinky below!


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At 9:30 AM , Blogger Shana said…

Oh man, yet again, you have given me some major thinking to do. Our son has slept with us from birth. Not because I planned it that way because i did not want that. because i was nursing and it was easier and i was so tired. Then because he had silent reflux and would stop breathing so I had to be able to feel him. But now it is because it is habit. Although we both love snuggling with Blaze it has not helped our intimacy at all. Pair that with the fact that I am a night owl (always have been) and hubby works first shift and goes to bed at 10:30 we have almost NO romantic time. What to do. I guess first step would be getting Blaze in his own bed huh?


At 9:56 AM , Blogger Gaile said…

Thank you so much for your write up.You are in deed God sent to my marriage and I have learnt a lot today. Thank you so much!
My husband and I have gradually drawn apart and it is was not noticeable but now it is very glaring. i have wondered what to do to build up the intimacy and i strongly believe that God led me to you.
It doesn not help that he is away offshore 6 weeks at a time and chatting on the internet is not all there is to it. I strongly believe that God wanted me to read thsi today. i am a regular reader all the way from Nigeria in West Africa. Thank you and i believe strongly that my marriage is building up some new reserves from now. God bless you.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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