Month: January 2018

How Much Autonomy Should There Be In Your Marriage?

Autonomy. Independence. Self-reliance. All good stuff, right? So many couples I have spoken with and interviewed seem to be living separate lives under the same roof. Having a few friends your mate does not care for is fine, and so is the occasional night out with your buddies, but once a couple becomes more like roommates with benefits, the marriage may be heading down a slippery slope or is already in trouble.

In our early marriage, I thought that we were so evolved because we could be these super independent people. We had a lot in common and spent time together but we also had our own lives. I was a new Christian and had not fully understood what Mark meant in Mark 10:7-8 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one.”

My husband had his work friends while I had a slew of mommy friends whose children were in the same gymnastics, skating and ballet classes as our children. My husband and I were both still working out to stay in shape, but even the athletic events we attended, were different. He would go off to a road bike race and I would compete in a running race.

2013-01-19-19-44-57-1

In hindsight, I wonder if all of this autonomy had created an environment more tempting for my husband to cheat on me. As I thought it through, a couple of things made sense. I was there for him physically as we made love often, but I was working several part-time jobs and was not there for him emotionally. I was all about doing my thing without regard to what hours I needed to work. I will never get that time I spent away from him back, and I will live with the scar that he did, in fact, stray for a time when he felt that we were together, yet lonely.

Before I discovered his indiscretion, I never questioned the time he spent with his guy friends from work. I can’t believe at that time that I did not even really miss him. Perhaps I was too tired from the grind of balancing home, work and child-rearing.

This is why I write this warning to all of you out there that are allowing your relationship as a couple to turn into more of a couple of ships that occasionally bump in the night.

Go and enjoy lunch with the girlfriends. Don’t stress when your husband wants to hang with the guys one night. But, make sure you are also both putting forth the effort to find mutual friends and being reciprocal in the way that your relationship is treated and treasured. God loves a happy marriage and I know you do too!

Proverbs 5:18-19 “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer, may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.”

Habits I Needed to Break

Do you remember when your man looked at you like David looked at Bathsheba when he saw her bathing? (2 Samuel Chapter 11) I remember. I keep my favorite picture of my husband and me on my bulletin board. We were in our twenties, and honestly, I don’t even remember who took the photo. The point is, he looked at me with those dreamy eyes of a man smitten.

1515466274671
Somewhere in the marriage things became too familiar, and he no longer looked at me that way. It took a brave and smart thirteen-year-old to tell me. Yes, when my daughter was a teen she brought to my attention that she no longer wanted to see me come home from work and don the grubby sweatpants and crocs. What if one of her friends came over and saw me like that! I laughed it off thinking that all moms are entitled to look frumpy when raising multiple children. I wanted to be comfortable while cooking and cleaning. I was all ready to quote 1 Peter to her (3:3-4) “Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” But, instead of quoting scripture, I realized how much it bothers me when my son would go out in public with his hair looking like he just woke up. I was always reminding him of what a comb looked like and what it was used for. Could it be that my husband would like to see me with my hair down once in a while? Would he give me that delicious kiss coming through the door if I looked like a woman worthy of kissing? Hmmmmm.

It made me think of what other things might irritate him or what other things have gotten too familiar. I always assumed that once we were married we could share everything, even the bathroom. Was it a big deal if I passed gas or burped in the comfort of my own home? Yes. If I was mortified about those things when we dated, I should be more discreet once married.

I am not suggesting turning the clock back to 1958 and stepping into an episode of the Donna Reed Show, but keeping myself looking my best goes a long way in keeping the romance alive and well. In like manner, my husband refrains from annoying habits that kill intimacy.

Solution? Keep private things private. That lock on the bathroom door is there for a reason. When done working out, shower and put some cute but comfortable clothes back on. Have you ever heard the saying that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have? Well, it works in marriage too.

There are plenty of times to lounge around in the sweats and let that hair go another day without washing it, but for the most part, I want to attract and not repel my husband. A little effort goes a long way.