Time again, I run across some interesting patterns in marriage. Just recently I spoke to a woman whose marriage suddenly ended after 14 years to her surprise. My heart broke for her and my alert bells went off as I found another piece to the pattern. I’m not an expert, but I put my observations out for your consideration:
The Three-to-Four-Year Mark
This is the point marriages seem to hit the end of the “honeymoon” stage. One or both partners have become aware of all the things that annoy each other and are disillusioned. What they thought their marriage would be and what it is are vastly different. At this point the couple will either make adjustments, or leave the relationship without even trying to resolve the discord. Unfortunately, until they learn a more realistic picture of marriage, it’s a pattern they will repeat over and over again.
The Seven-Year Itch
It’s called that for a reason, and it’s frequently true. So often at this point, the married couple has fallen into a pattern, most likely due to the added stresses of finances, children, and not enough time together. They’ve let everything but each other take first billing in their lives. Unfortunately, adultery can enter the picture very easily at this stage.
The Ten-Year Mark
This mark is more vague, but I have noticed this seems to be the point where couples question what they “feel” for each other. They don’t necessarily feel the passion they once did for one another and mistake inertia for “falling out of love” with their spouse. Yet patterns have been set and most likely, children are involved, so they stay put without even realizing that love is a decision. They either go on as roommates or find a way to reconnect and rekindle their floundering relationship.
The Fourteen-Year Mark
I believe this hurdle becomes more about the individual than the marriage itself. One partner seems to hit something like a mid-life crisis or an identity crises, as I like to call it. There blooms this sudden need for redefinition or affirmation of their self-worth, and can wind up leading down a path of no return. Sometimes this individual’s attempts to change are rejected by an unwilling spouse, or they completely broadside their partner, who thought everything was just fine.
Marriage is an everyday, intentional commitment. Even more than that, it’s a covenant God takes very seriously. The key is to be aware of the “health” of your marriage. Intentionally spend time together, seek common interests and hobbies (especially critical to an unequally yoked marriage), plan dates and even love-making, if necessary. A walk around the block can give a couple time to reconnect after a long day of separation. Making time with your partner a priority will go a long way to keeping your marriage jumping those hurdles more smoothly.
Like I said, I’m not an expert, but the most valuable lesson I’ve learned thus far is that love is a daily decision. And I believe God has made me aware of these “marks” for a reason, to equip me and to make me aware of how easy it is to forget my decision to love and take my husband for granted. How like God to use our life lessons to point to him. Long ago He chose to love us and every page of the Bible is a reminder of his decision to love us.
Now that’s a mark I truly want to bear witness to.
Praying and believing,
Share your voice, heart and love in the comments.
Marching Around Jericho is a spiritual guide. As you read through the pages, powerful and transformative instruction and equipping takes place. We follow Jesus as he leads us around the walls, imparting kingdom truths with each passing, finally arriving at the gates of the walled-off city, our spouse’s unbelieving heart. After the circles in prayer are complete, we arrive fully prepared to command the walls to crumble and be removed, making a way for our spouse to step from the rubble of lies and captivity, into faith and freedom!