Finding Your Best Friend
This should be the easiest, and hopefully, one of the more enjoyable chapters of this book. When a marriage blows up from sexual sin, all sense of friendship, fun, and adventure in the relationship can be lost. Today’s assignment: date your spouse once a week for the next three months.
“Once a week for the next three months?! We have jobs, kids, families, and bills to pay. How ’bout once a month? We’ve been married for years and don’t need it; it’s not like when we were dating before we got married.”
Yes, you need it.
Think back to when you first met your spouse. How crazy and over the top did you go for him or her? Remember chapter six of this workbook. What’s the biggest priority in your life, second only to God? When’s the last time you went overboard for your spouse? How do you think they would feel if you did? Loved? Cared for? Like they’re a big priority to you?
A while back, Michelle and I were having a rough patch in our marriage. We’d drifted so far apart that neither of us knew how to get our relationship going again. It was so bad that Michelle wondered aloud whether our marriage had run its course. Our relationship was fading, and we desperately needed to make changes.
We started going out once a week. Money was tight, so we often met at our church café where meals were inexpensive. Occasionally, we went to a theater where movies that have been out for a while were one dollar for a ticket. Or we just walked around a mall and had fun window-shopping.
The effect on our relationship was amazing. We started laughing again and having fun for the first time in years. The friendship we’d lost resurfaced; wounds started to heal. Life got better.
This came about from making a conscientious decision that no matter what it took, we were going to make our marriage a priority and rebuild it. We both worked, had four kids, and little money, but we didn’t let that stop us.
When my relationship with my wife is on the rocks, life sucks. Work’s a chore, I want to hang my head at home, and feel like a poser in church. I don’t sleep well. God made Michelle and me as one flesh—we’re not supposed to feel like everything’s okay when our marriage is hurting.
Perhaps there is still resistance. “My kids/family/friends/church/office need me. I don’t have time.” Yeah, and so does your spouse; they come first. If your marriage is dying and your church is guilt-tripping you about not “doing enough for God,” tell them no, or find another church. Yes, your kids need you, but don’t you think your kids want to see Mom and Dad having fun together instead of fighting—or worse? How about the office? I know we’re living in tough economic times, but at some point, you’ll either need to make the time to date your spouse, or tell your employer you can’t do sixty-hour workweeks.
If you have kids, get a babysitter. If you can’t afford one, the teens in your church may be willing to do it as ministry. Ask around to see what’s available.
If money’s tight, get creative. You don’t need an expensive restaurant every week, just a place where you can get away from everyone and focus on getting to know each other.
When you go out, turn your cell phones off. Give each other your best; no distractions allowed.
If your kids are in school, meeting for lunch during the workweek is an easy way to avoid the need for a babysitter.
I strongly encourage you to plan a weekend away for the two of you. It will cost a little more, but every investment made in your marriage will provide an excellent return on your money and time.
When you’re on a date, refrain from discussing kids, work, and family. Focus on each other. Share your dreams. Talk from the heart, but if possible, try to set recovery topics aside. Have fun. Sometimes we can get so deeply immersed in support groups, counseling, and all that heavy stuff that we forget what it feels like just to unwind and have fun. Your marriage needs this.
Today’s action step is to set a dating plan. Work together to find the best way to make it happen, and start this week.
Excerpted from Mike Genung’s book, The Wife’s Heart; Healing from Your Husband’s Porn Addiction and Adultery
Image Copyright :Cathy Yeulet