“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
My husband and I have a friend who’s recently shared that he’s struggling—in faith, career, and family. Experiencing a divorce years ago, he’s learning to be a Dad to his only daughter, and it hasn’t been easy. In one of his many conversations with my husband, he shared that he’d spent hours on the golf course with his buddies, at bars, or at his single friends’ homes. It became an area of extreme pain in his marriage, especially since his young wife had been working to earn a college degree, and care for a newborn too.
In his hindsight and wisdom, he can admit that it was a mistake to “check out” of family life, and he wishes he could take it back. He wishes that he would have been more intentional to make friends who were also focused on family, instead of chasing a life of “freedom” from his newfound responsibilities.
And he’s not alone.
Couples around the globe struggle to create a healthy balance of togetherness, friendships, and hobbies. Maybe for you it’s not golf, but a Bible study group, rec league, or volunteering. Maybe busyness, loneliness, or lack of the right kind of friendships is causing strife.
We all need connections and outside activities, but ones that reflect the character of who we want to be might very well be the difference between a healthy marriage and one that struggles.
You may have noticed that I’ve left the issues of sex, money, and parenting off the list this time. There is a lot of literature and commentary related to these categories. And while they’re issues that most couples do wrestle with, we can also acknowledge that they’re symptoms—of our trust, safety, and intimacy with one another. And that’s a wonderful conversation for another day.
Can you relate to any of the struggles we’ve talked about? If so, you’re not alone. Let’s pray together:
God, we struggle to get marriage right, but we appreciate that You’re always with us. Our expectation and hurt gets in the way of us practicing Your selfless love. Please forgive us when we say the wrong things, when we react, or wound one another. Please guide us as we learn to love You more, and help us to serve one another in humility and kindness. Thank You for modeling radical mercy and grace through Your son, Jesus. It’s in His name that we pray. Amen.
Meg Gemelli is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist