Whether you’ve been married 2 months or 2 years, the “honeymoon phase” has ended and you’ve realized that the day-to-day life isn’t quite as romantic and adventurous as you had imagined. Bills and laundry have replaced hand-holding outings and eye-gazing over cups of cappuccinos.
But just because the enchantment of dating has ended doesn’t mean the passion or fascination has to as well.
Preserve the sacred depth of friendship and continue to write your love story; it’s far from over.
Watch the little foxes. Song of Solomon 2:15 uses a metaphorical picture of foxes that overrun and ruin a vineyard (a metaphor for the couple’s growing love). Keep the gates around your vineyard closed. When you marry, you dismiss all other options. Even those of the opposite sex who were previous friends must find a different connection; if you were friends with a couple prior to your union, be sure you only hang out with the couple if they are with their spouse. Husbands should hang out with guys; and women should only have girlfriends. Use discretion when you find yourself in the company of a friend or acquaintance of the opposite sex. Don’t sit alone with them or walk with them privately.
When Aaron and I started dating, I knew the relationship was more than just a passing fling for him. Even though no romantic ties connected him to the girls he played tennis with or ate dinner with at the college cafeteria, he told them he wouldn’t be interacting with them in a one-on-one situation. Likewise, he expected me to stop talking to guy friends on the phone (at the time I was reluctant, but I didn’t realize how much of my emotions were invested in certain relationships). Set healthy boundaries. Don’t give yourself too much leniency: Oswald Chambers said, “An unguarded strength is a double weakness.”
Keep kindling new memories. My husband possesses an athletic ability my body can’t quite grasp. I trip easily and can’t throw a ball to save my life. I love to write and paint, but the artistic passion of those two hobbies are beyond Aaron. He appreciates it, but it’s not something he wants to pursue. We could have thrown our hands up and said, “Well, we don’t share the same interests,” and just settled for a weekend in front of the television. Regrettably, we did often watch too much TV when we were newly married. But, we did play games together too–from Settlers of Catan to Scrabble. And as we laughed and played and talked, we grew closer through those simple experiences. Now that we have three children, alone time is even more precious, so we are intentional about what we do. We love to hike together or go out and shoot my long bow. We enjoy trying new ethnic foods and have visited some restaurants that are now new favorites. Find things that you enjoy doing together and make time for it.
Pray together and get involved in your local church. Don’t wait until you have children to realize the importance of community with the Body of Christ. Regardless of your stage of life, meeting regularly with other believers is vital to spiritual growth (Heb. 10:25). Yes, alone time with God is important, but so is time with other Christians (Prov. 27:17). Get involved in a small group as a couple. Find a newly married class or start one. Read through Scripture together and pray together. Few things will bond a couple more than sharing their vulnerable soul-level needs to the Lord in the presence of each other.
Remember that life is a journey; God redeems and restores what man discards. Work for your marriage. Be intentional with your time, knowing that a great relationship doesn’t “just happen.” If you are struggling with desire or you feel alone, seek counsel or ask a trusted friend to pray for your marriage. It’s worth fighting for.