If you are like me, you will find that life is full of ‘blink-and-you-missed-it’ moments; ‘It was February and suddenly it’s September’ type moments. You’d probably be wondering why life can’t just slow down, why you can’t seem to keep track, and you recall the popular saying: “Time and tide awaits no man”, which leaves me concluding that the important thing is to enjoy and savour the moments available to you.
When it was first released, I found that I kept humming the chorus of Cheryl Cole’s ‘Fight for this Love’:
We gotta fight, fight, fight, fight, fight for this love
If it’s worth having it’s worth fighting for
I found myself not only humming as I went about my daily chores, and while I know critics of her well-publicised marriage to footballer Ashley abound, I plead your pardon as I borrow the theme of the popular song to expose what I call “Marriage robbers” we need to watch out as we fight for our love for each other to ensure that these things do not steal from our love.
We must not forget that we have an enemy whose job is to steal, kill and destroy; every moment spent arguing and being emotionally separated can’t be retrieved. I know you will sometimes be baited into a response but I urge you to remember that you can always refuse to take the bait.
Quality Time/Misplaced Priorities
Sometimes we give our time to everyone and everything but our beloved, meaning the person who needs it the most is often deprived of our most precious commodity. I think so many marriages are time-starved and needless problems could be solved just by investing good quality time with each other, paying attention to each other’s needs. I put ‘quality time’ for a reason; you might spend a lot of time with each other but if all you are doing is attending to issues that require your attention then that is not what I mean. Like a well-tended garden, every marriage needs to be nurtured. This is what helps the marriage grow and keeps everyone happy.
When I think that those dearest to me can evoke the most precious and delightful feelings, it stands to reason that these same feelings can be the most intense when I am unhappy with them. It is therefore fair to say that, as our spouse is our closest neighbour, hurts and pains are inevitable. It is important to understand this and make a choice to address issues so that they do not become opportunities for the enemy to steal our love. Every issue not dealt with is like a blocked drain; eventually, the dirt affects the pipe and saps the drain of its essence, which in marriage is diminished love, so remember do not sweat the small stuff.
Selfishness (Me, myself and I)
Marriage is about giving. God’s love for us is typified by Him giving us His best. Anytime our primary motive is to receive or take this becomes a selfish love. I agree that the human being is naturally designed to seek self-preservation, but as we are made in God’s image we (and our marriages) should be defined by our giving putting your spouse’s interest before yours is a major secret to a successful marriage.
Focusing on your spouse’s weaknesses
What you focus on gets magnified. You cannot start a positive with a negative, and if all you see is what your spouse doesn’t do right, after a while you will not be able to see anything positive in what they do (or you will choose to dismiss or disdain the actions or motives which surpass your expectations) as you will be looking through critical eyes. Everyone needs positive reinforcement and encouragement, so appreciate the good things your spouse does; you are as imperfect as your spouse so enjoy the journey to the marriage you desire (don’t expect it from Day 1). Avoid comparison, as this only leads to discontent. Instead, accept your spouse as they are and trust God to make the necessary changes. You’d be surprised; He might decide the changes lie with you and not your spouse.