Monday, August 15, 2011

Not Just Roomies

One of the things that amazes me the most when I hear about folks I knew in high school or college is how many are now divorced.  I'm only thirty.  I know I feel as if I've lived through some pretty deep trials, but have we really had enough time to meet future spouses, marry them, possibly have children, and then go through something as emotionally and spiritually damaging as divorce?

I don't know the reasons for the divorces in each of the situations that come to mind, but I do know what scripture has to say about the topic.  In Matthew 19, the Pharisees questioned Jesus about the topic of divorce.  He responded in verses 4-6:
"'Haven't you read,' He replied, 'that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,' and He also said: 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.'"
When the Pharisees ask why Moses commanded divorce, Jesus responds in verses 9-10:
"He told them, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts.  But it was not like that from the beginning.  And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.'"
Earlier in Matthew 5:32b, Jesus had added more by saying, "And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

If we become one flesh when we marry, we can't become just roommates, an excuse given often these days for divorce.  We cannot be slaves to our feelings, as if not feeling in love is grounds for divorce.  Feelings ebb and flow, but commitments remain.  There are some steps we can take to keep from becoming just roommates with our husbands.

1)  Make sex a priority.  Set a goal to have sex more days or nights than not.  God created sex to aid in that one flesh relationship.  Goodbye, headaches!  A wife should be available to her husband at all times.  We can help our husbands resist the temptation to have affairs if we never turn them down.  Put your children to bed early enough (and in their own bedrooms) so that you can spend time together before the two of you are so exhausted you go to sleep before you've had the opportunity for intimacy. 

2)  Be visually appealing.  Along those same lines, men are visually stimulated.  We need to look our best as much as possible.  I'm a stay-at-home mom, so I'm right there with many others.  I know that it's hard to look our best when we truly do need to wear clothes appropriate for dealing with spit up and Clorox cleaners.  We can brush our hair and look reasonably neat at home.  When we go out in public, we can bear in mind that we are representing our husband by stepping it up a bit more in our appearance.  And at night, we can pull out the slinky silky stuff. 

3)  Go to bed at the same time.  Most any woman I've talked to with marital problems has had a different bedtime than their husband.  Work requirements (night shift work, for example) can interfere and make this especially difficult.  You can pray for God to change those situations, but until then, do all you can with steps one and two.  In my marriage, this has meant that I simply go to bed at an earlier hour than I was accustomed to before I was married.  I have adjusted and find it harder to stay up later now.  When my husband and I were newlyweds, he worked second shift and I was student teaching.  I had to go to bed before he got home because I had to get up much earlier in the morning than he, but most Thursday nights, and every Friday night, I would stay up until he got home.  You do what you can.

4)  Be recreational companions.  Date as often as you can.  It's great if you can go out weekly, but if small children make it difficult, put them to bed early, like I mentioned earlier, and go out at least monthly for a "real" date.  So many women spend more time out with their mamas, sisters, or friends than they spend quality time with their husbands.  Seek to show preference to your husband when he's not at work.  Even limit your housework, if need be, on his days off.  Men connect through activity, so do the activities with him that he finds fun.  I've talked about it before here, but it's worth saying again, that I believe couples should take trips alone together at least once a year.

5)  Don't be a nag.  It's not your job to be your husband's mom.  He's already got one of those.  Nagging will only push your husband apart from you emotionally.  Pray him through anything you see in his life that he needs to change.

Now go love on your man!  Or if he's not home, go brush your hair and prepare for his arrival home!

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