How do we keep love from fading?

We met the man and his family while they were going through a personal tragedy. His wife had just had a miscarriage in the last couple of days and it was a rough time. They already had a couple of young children and seemed like a very nice Christian family with whom we could enjoy a friendship. Alas, circumstances often dictate who you truly get to know in life and so we were never able to develop a relationship with them.

Fast forward a couple of years.

Eric is giving an estimate to a lady who has a lot of time to talk. She tells him about the couple across the street who are going through a nasty divorce. Words like prostitution and pornography come up.  Eric tries to be polite but he is really there to give an estimate. But the more she talks, the more he starts to suspect that he may know who this couple is.

When Eric arrived home we did a little investigating. Oh, how sad. The couple getting the nasty divorce is the couple we met a few years earlier. Our hearts ached for them. What in the world had happened?

This story is not a strange one to any of us. All too frequently, a husband or wife is trapped in sexual sin, marriages break up, and life changes drastically for the entire family.

But why? How does this happen?

I do not even begin to presume I have the answer to this. But I can think of a few ways to protect ourselves from being “that” couple. Of course, you are only one half of the equation, so that is what makes it tricky, isn’t it?? But, for what it’s worth, here are a few suggestions–

1.  Get to know God by faithfully reading His Word, praying, and listening to godly {doctrinally-sound} men expound His word via church and podcast. How can we even know what pleases God if we don’t know His Word? Conviction can be conveniently bypassed if we aren’t in tune with God.

2.  Talk, talk, and talk some more with your spouse. No secrets.  Keep communicating even when it is really hard. And, trust me, it is really hard sometimes.

3.  Forgive and move on. I know it sounds so basic, but it is so critical. Forgiveness holds the key to many of our relationships, quite honestly.

4.  Protect your spouse. Don’t downgrade your spouse to your co-workers or on the sidelines of the soccer field. Sure he may be a jerk or she may be lazy, but that doesn’t give us the right to talk negatively about them. If you are really struggling, pick one or two godly counselors or friends who can encourage you to make biblical choices and keep your mouth shut around everyone else.

5.  Be the same person at home as you are at church.  Who are we really?  You have heard it said that true character is who you are when no one is around. There is a lot of truth in that.  Do you make the choice to do what’s right even when no one is looking?  We need to be same person no matter where we are. By the way, this is key in keeping your children’s hearts, as well. No one respects a hypocrite.

6.  Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Sometimes the problems are so big, you know that your marriage will not survive without some help. Be very careful to choose a godly counselor. I heard a story many years ago of a couple who went for Christian marriage counseling and a few sessions in they were told they should get a divorce. Come again?  That is not Christian marriage counseling.  Just because someone says they are a Christian counselor doesn’t mean they are. Get references and mission statements before entrusting your entire life in their hands.

7.  And, last but not least, have fun together!  Nothing is better for Eric and I than doing something fun and outside routine together. It is a great reminder of why we fell in love in the first place.  I know how tough it is to make time for this. Our schedules are so busy with soccer games and piano lessons and homework and church commitments and work functions and…the list could go on and on. However, it is critical that we make this a priority. It helps us stay connected as married couples.

These are seven tips, but I am not so naive to think that it is that simple. I know that so many struggles and problems that arise in marriages stem back to childhood issues never resolved or affairs never discussed. There are many cases of abuse and pride and addictions. Christian marriages are facing an explosion of darts from the enemy. However, I do believe that if we could put these seven tips in place in our own marriages, we’d have a new beginning on a great marriage! And we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it is God’s will for us to love each other and stay married ’til death do us part.

As much as it is up to us personally, let’s keep our marriages strong and healthy.

 

This is linked up here :)

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