Whether you married your best friend or not, friendship is an important, if not essential, component of a strong marriage. In the midst of the daily ups and downs of married life, are you growing closer together or drifting apart?
• Ask your spouse how he/she feels about the current level of intimacy. Consider whether you might have been neglecting your spouse’s needs for affection, comfort and camaraderie.
• Ask your spouse what he/she would like to experience with you in these areas.
• Reflect on times you have felt closest to your spouse – what made the difference?
• Is spending time together fulfilling or disappointing? Why?
Have you had a night or weekend away alone together in the past year? What about scheduling regular dates so you can spend time giving one another your undivided attention?
Whether you prefer a night out at an exclusive restaurant or an evening of walking in the park, spending time together is what counts. Getting out alone, away from the dishes, laundry, bills and the kids – even for a brief time – can do your relationship a world of good.
It may seem like a big effort at first, especially if you’re not used to spending a few hours a week away from work and family responsibilities. Don’t be discouraged if you initially meet with some resistance from your spouse. Plenty of couples struggle with “what I want to do tonight” differences. Outside the bedroom, it isn’t always easy to find common ground for marital intimacy and friendship. Even so, be patient and don’t give up. In time, your entire relationship will likely be refreshed.
Discovery through differences
My husband and I began our married life together without any shared hobbies and with many divergent interests. He wanted to go to soccer games; I preferred the ballet. He rarely stepped inside the house if the sun was shining; I thrived indoors, regardless of weather. And the list went on.
After we celebrated our first anniversary, I wondered if we had enough in common to make our marriage work. Initially, our mutual attraction to one another had sufficed. Clearly, we needed something more to strengthen and deepen our bond.
“my husband and I no longer feel threatened by our differences”
Though I am still learning, I see a beautiful theme emerging: In learning to respect and even appreciate our differences, my husband and I no longer feel threatened by our differences.
Because both of us have repeatedly been willing to go outside our comfort zones – he occasionally attends the ballet with me; I go with him to watch sports games – our well-weathered companionship has become more interesting and richly textured, allowing us both to grow together as a couple and as individuals.
The willingness to prefer my husband’s friendship and companionship above all others has helped me be more tender toward the man I now know better and appreciate more than anyone else in the world.
This article is published with permission from Focus on the Family Malaysia. For more information, please call +603-7954 7920, email firstname.lastname@example.org or surf to www.family.org.my, follow Facebook [focusonthefamilymalaysia]and Twitter [familiesMY]. You can also write to Focus on the Family Malaysia, 6-2 Jalan Bersatu, 13/4, 46200 Petaling Jaya.
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