How to Keep Spouses From Growing Apart

by Jason on January 28, 2010

Below is a guest post from my Mom!

My mother is a Mentor Mom for a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group at church and they asked her to give her insights on the question of how to keep spouses from growing apart.  I thought I’d post what she wrote.

I know what you’re thinking – “Wait a minute – this has nothing to do finances!” 

Maybe so, but it has everything to do with ROI!  Investing in your marriage is one of the greatest investments you could ever make! 

Remember, true wealth isn’t about your net worth and account balances – it’s about the quality of relationships, pursuing your passions and living out your purpose. 

Let’s give Mom a warm Redeeming Riches welcome!!

Hey Ma – take it away!

So, how do spouses keep from growing apart?

This is a great question with very difficult answers. 

But how you view the suggestions to this question will be a deciding factor to a happy and successful marriage and the difference in raising well-adjusted children. 

Intentionality and Commitment.

The first suggestion is to be intentional and committed.

Both spouses must view their marriage and their time together as a priority.

Remember that your spouse was your “best friend” when you were dating, so they should remain your “best friend” after you’re married.  This requires hard work and effort.

So, how can you be intentional? 

Schedule date nights and keep them! 

I know it’s not always easy to get a baby sitter when you want one, but try “networking” with other couples who will be available to sit for you and you in turn will be available for them. 

Side note from Jason: My wife and I have done this with other couples in a similar stage of life (2 young kids at home) and it’s great!  It’s nice to go out for dinner with Jen and not worry about who else we have to feed. :)

Keep the Right Perspective.

Perspective is easy to lose when you’re in the midst of chaotic schedules and crying children.

However, when you invest in each other, you are investing in a long term commitment. 

Remember that your children will not always be with you.  They grow up, move away and start their own lives. 

After years of marriage - and when the kids are gone from the nest – you don’t want to look at your spouse as a stranger. 

Through the years you need to create a closeness, a bonding and a togetherness between you both. 

Keeping the right perspective through forgiveness will be key. 

Forgiveness is a key that needs to be applied generously to each other while remembering that the Lord has forgiven us and extends His grace to each one of us.

Security 

Lastly, security is a huge key to keep your togetherness. 

The world is a crazy place to live in.  Make your home a “Shelter from Life’s Storms”. 

Say things to each other that are uplifting and encouraging.  Be there for one another when life throws the hard punches that tend to knock us off our feet. 

Your home should be a place where all members can find security and a safe place to be themselves, without the knit picking and constant criticism.

Remember the old saying “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy?”  Well, I would change that to say: 

When Mom and Dad are happy with each other, the whole family is the happiest. 

A loving relationship between Mom and Dad is the greatest security blanket that children could ever ask for!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Miranda January 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

This is some great advice from someone who clearly has some solid insight on this subject. I think it is especially important to remember that marriage takes constant work.
.-= Miranda´s last blog ..What Happens if You Can’t Pay Your Taxes? =-.

Bible Money Matters January 28, 2010 at 10:53 am

Great post! I completely agree about being intentional about keeping date nights. If you don’t make it a point to continually nurture the relationship, it will have some rough patches.

My wife and I have fostered some close relationships with couples in our area, and when we have kids we will be swapping child care nights so we can have date nights. We’ve already been doing it for them, and once we have our first child in July, they’ll be doing it for us!

Forgiveness is also key because in relationships there are always going to be things to forgive each other for. Without it, the relationship WILL fail.
.-= Bible Money Matters´s last blog ..Why Shouldn’t You Add Your Kid’s Income Onto Your Tax Return? =-.

Matt Jabs January 28, 2010 at 11:43 am

Betsy and I are coming up on 5 years of marriage and I love her 10x more now than I did on our wedding day. She is simply amazing.

You mention forgiveness… that is key. None of us are perfect, so we must remember not to project perfection onto our spouse but rather to love them despite their imperfections. We always try to remind each other that “We’re on the same team.” This is always a good reminder when nitpicking starts!

I have learned that my wife responds to me best when I choose to put her happiness ahead of my own. If I can do this properly, everything else just seems to fall into place. Sounds simple, but it is normally the opposite of what our flesh wants to do. Go figure. :-)
.-= Matt Jabs´s last blog ..Debt Reduction While Planning a Career Change – Beckey Answered =-.

Lakita January 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Great advice! I’m going to store this in my memory bank for the future! Thanks for sharing. I like what you said about home being a secure place.

Kita

Jason January 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Miranda – I agree, it is work, but it’s worth it. I think too many of us think that just because we are in love with the person that everything should be great without much effort, but the best relationships take time and work.

Jeff January 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Great Post Mom,

I like the best friends part. As a couple gets older and has kids, I think we tend to forget about the friends part. I’ve recently been focusing on that part of my relastionship with my wife. Working two jobs and not being home a ton makes me want to foster the friendship as much as I can. I don’t have (make) time for other friends so she’s my rock and the friend route is providing a ton more laughs than ever before.

I look forward to more posts Mom, thanks – Jeff
.-= Jeff´s last blog ..How to Calculate Net Worth =-.

Jason January 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Pete – I’m sure the couple you are watching kids for really appreciate that. You guys will soon find out how valuable that is! Congrats again!

Jason January 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Matt I like your point about not projecting perfection on our spouse, but rather loving them in spite of imperfections. I never realized how selfish of a person I was until I got married – It’s a constant battle to put my wife’s needs above my own and I fail so often!

Jason January 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Kita – I agree…the home being a secure place is really important – especially for the kids to see that mom and dad really love each other.

Jason January 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Jeff, nice job at focusing on that part of the relationship again. I’m sure your wifey appreciates it! The relationship definitely changes when kids are added to the mix – it’s a whole different ball game! :)

Kevin@OutOfYourRut January 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

“Say things to each other that are uplifting and encouraging.”–Ouch! You hit on something I need to work on…

(Recovers…changes subject)The pastor at our last church did an outstanding sermon on this very topic. He said that the basis for a strong marriage is ***intentional commitment***. That is we have to make a concious decision that this is our spouse and we’re going to be purposeful about “til death do us part” and all that goes with it.

He said that most marriages that fail do so because one or both partners have the back door open and aren’t fully committed to the relationship. My take out of that is that we need to look within the marriage for happiness and not seek it outside, and only when we do that can we be fully committed.

PS, we also used the date night swap with friends when our kids were little – it worked great. Only thing is that even when we were alone the topic of conversation was…the kids, what else?
.-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last blog ..Buying vs Renting a Home – Its Not All About Money =-.

ChristianPF January 28, 2010 at 3:01 pm

“When Mom and Dad are happy with each other, the whole family is the happiest. ” I couldn’t agree more!

JoeTaxpayer January 28, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Hey Jason’s Mom! No surprise, I can see where he gets his wisdom from!

Nice article. Yesterday, Jane forgot she was supposed to do something for me. I called her up, and she knew I’d be angry. Instead I told her “you are a great wife and mom. You have the big things under control. The little things, not so much. I’ll take this over the opposite.”
When Jane 2.0 (our daughter) hears us argue and asks if we’re getting divorced, I tell her “mom and I have argued for 25 years, good friends argue and move on.” We started out as friends, then best friends and got married after knowing each other 10 years. That’s part of the success of our relationship.
.-= JoeTaxpayer´s last blog ..The Naughty Double Ohs =-.

Jason January 29, 2010 at 6:17 am

Kevin – it’s funny how even when you’re away from the kids you naturally just talk about them. I need to be more intentional at directing the conversation towards other things and not just the kids.

Jason January 29, 2010 at 6:18 am

Joe – wow! that was a great response to your wife in that moment. I can imagine that went a long way with her! Nice job.

Daddy Paul January 30, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Say things to each other that are uplifting and encouraging.
Even when it is hard to do. I found it helps to have a plan when discussions get heated.
.-= Daddy Paul´s last blog ..The 2010 IRA portfolio =-.

Jason January 31, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Daddy Paul, that’s a great point to know how to handle heated discussions. It’s so easy to be reactive rather than proactive on hot button issues.

Paul @ FiscalGeek February 4, 2010 at 9:08 am

Fantastic post Mom! The intentionality reminder is spot on. We get so busy with the kids activities and our own stuff I forget to make some serious time to date my wife. In fact I need to set something up right now. Thank you for your insight!
.-= Paul @ FiscalGeek´s last blog ..The Secret to Success. Hustle. =-.

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