(This is the second post in this series. You can get to Part 1 here.)
We had been married several years and then began to have children. We had two children, both girls. (We were living in Alabama at the time.) This particular time of our lives — when the children were both small — was fun, memorable, and exhausting. I didn’t realize at the time just how exhausting it really was for both of us, particularly Charlotte as she was home with them during the day.
Out of this experience, I probably realize more than ever the importance of nurturing the friendship between a husband and wife. There are many ways the friendship can be enhanced and strengthened. These probably vary for each couple.
You may be reading this and see this to be a real no-brainer. ("Of course you have to nurture your friendship in marriage!") Yet, let me suggest that very often husbands and wives will allow the center of gravity to shift from marriage to the children. As a result, husbands and wives shift the focus of their attention away from their marriage and entirely toward their children. As a result, the marriage is put on hold and simply idles. The marriage receives very little attention, time, or energy.
Now this is very deceptive. The relationship may appear to be OK — for a while. After all, the kids are doing well and that is where their focus has been. Yet, once this catches up with the couple, the results are often disastrous! One person in this marriage may find the ache of an empty, hollow marriage just too painful. This husband or wife may realize that his or her life is very empty. Such people often find that they are very vulnerable to whatever appears to quench the loneliness.
Many other couples don’t really see how empty their friendship with one another has become until the kids are out of the house and away at college. This couple may find that they have little to talk about and little in common with one another. So often, the marriage eventually dissolves.
Marriages just don’t have to end this way. Nurturing a friendship between husband/wife will take time, energy, and attention. After these decades of marriage, I believe this is very important to anyone who is married.
What do you think?
Be sure to see the featured video: an interview with Eugene Peterson at God-Hungry Live.