At its heart, marriage is very similar across times and cultures. Men and women were designed for one another.
In other ways, marriage is continually changing.
As we enter the opening days of 2017, there are five dangerous trends I see in marriage:
1. Placing children before marriage to the detriment of both
The schedules of the average family with kids at home is overwhelming. Day after day, many couples sacrifice time together because of all the demands of their children’s schedules. While it could be argued that busy kids are better than idle kids (especially if they are teenagers), it can’t be argued that the schedules many families CHOOSE is bad for marriage. It’s a choice and it’s often a bad one. Children are important, but one of the best ways we can love them is by loving each other. Remember: when you put your children before your spouse, both lose. When you put your spouse before your children, both win. What are some ways you can choose your spouse over your children this year?
2. Denying that struggling in one of the three major roles of a spouse isn’t that significant.
A spouse is called to be three main things – friend, partner and lover. Too many husbands/wives ignore one of those areas and deceive themselves into thinking they make up for it in another area. This is a dangerous mistake. No matter how great of a friend a husband is, if they act more like a child rather than a partner, his wife will suffer. No matter how good of a partner a wife may be, if she fails to take seriously her role as lover, her husband will suffer. While it’s useful to build on strengths, each of these three roles must be mastered for a successful marriage. Of the three, which area could use the most work in your marriage?
3. Failing to create proper boundaries to protect themselves and their marriage
Good people will make bad decisions, in part, because they will have failed to create basic boundaries to protect themselves from temptation. If you don’t have several guardrails in your life – rules to live by in regards to the opposite s*x, friends who care enough to ask the tough questions, and a true awareness of your ability to make horrible decisions – you are a sitting duck. What are some safe guards you need to add to your life in order to help you honor your marriage vows?
4. Ignoring routine marriage maintenance
My car needs regular maintenance – the oil has to be changed, the tires have to be rotated, etc. Marriage has similar needs. Couples must continually find ways to reconnect, check-in, and make sure the key components are working properly. Too many couples go months without a real conversation, a nice date, a break from the routine, or making a true connection. We are fooling ourselves if we believe our marriages can thrive without taking time to work on the marriage. Read a book, go to a conference, or go have coffee without the kids. What is something you can do this week to improve your connection with your spouse?
5. Waiting too long to get help
Every couple will likely need help both individually and together at various times throughout their marriage. Be quick to call a counselor if you go through a tough patch, have an issue you can’t make progress on, or just want to get a marital check-up.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Kevin A. Thompson’s website.