We all know that in our savings accounts we can both invest and withdraw money. But say that we reduce the amount of our investments, or deposits. For a while we will still have money to withdraw, but eventually that money will cease to be sufficient, and if we stop depositing altogether the account will at some point run dry.
This same law of investment is played out in marriages everyday and everywhere. For marriages to remain solvent and healthy, both spouses must choose and make the effort to invest in it. Every day and week we withdraw on our goodwill, love, patience and connection with each other, and these things do not replenish and build themselves back up on their own. A common deception is that that we can lean of the deposits of yesterday as if they will never run out or keep our credit rating positive.
The cycle of investment
Investing is often at its shining best when a couple is dating. This is that incomparable time of sheer joy in getting to know one another, in putting things aside to help, share and enjoy the growing connection between two. Creatively expressing love and appreciation is often at its peak here.
But after marriage, investing looses its urgency. Life, work and children all call with demands on our time and energy. If we are not careful, we find ourselves making large withdraws on our connection, then wonder why we feel so disconnected.
I’m working hard for my family but…
I have had both husbands and wives say, “But Nick, I am working my tail off for my family and my marriage. At my job, around the house, with the kids. Don’t tell me I’m not investing.”
That all may be true, but there is a difference between your energy on behalf of your home and your kids, and investing in the relationship you have with your spouse. Here is the question to ask yourself: What am I doing that builds connection between my spouse and I?
Connection is the key
The reason and purpose for investing is to maintain or re-establish connection. Connection is that place when both husband and wife feel loved, understood, approachable, supported, and desires to share and experience life together because they are not two, but one.
It is often easier to understand this when we think about the times we have lost that connection. Without connection, we rarely share our thoughts because we think, “what’s the point, he or she doesn’t understand what’s going on in my life anyway.” Without connection we cease to do thoughtful things for one another because we have forgotten how good it makes both of us feel to do these things. Without connection we are not putting our spouse’s needs in the forefront, and instead are only thinking about our own needs. Without connection we feel alone, and we look to others besides our spouse to share and celebrate life.
As many of us know, this is not a good place for a marriage to be, and if connection is not rebuilt, complacency takes residence at best, or worse, the marriage continues to lose altitude.
I conclude with the same question I asked above: What things are you doing in your marriage that build connection? If you’ve read this far, then choose now to do something, or plan something in the next few days that will be a deposit. If you feel lost, then simply find a time to ask each other what things, when done, make you feel connected to me? Just asking that question will make your spouse feel more connected to you! Don’t expect their answers to be the same as yours, and don’t look at this as if you’re being scored or judged. Use the ideas below and create your own list. Then go and enjoy the fruits that result.
I feel connected when:
- You ask me how my day was before you ask me to help you with something
- We laugh together
- You share something that was hard for you today
- You put your hand on my shoulder or initiate a hug
- We plan a date together
- You send me an unexpected note or text just to express love or appreciation
- You put your work aside to help me with something
- We share affection and intimacy
- We pray together and/or read a Bible devotion together
- We enjoy something outdoors
- We read
- We go to bed at the same time