And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. (1 Thessalonians 3:12, New Living Translation)
We often hear of couples who say they’ve just grown apart, and therefore, find little in common with one another anymore. More than likely, what has happened is that they lived their lives side by side instead of face to face. Some couples can live in a house together, raise children, even attend church and other events together. Yet they never take the time to really notice what each is doing. Married life was never meant to be just a series of activities and duties that couples do together in the same house. I’m certain God meant it to be a rich, fulfilling experience, to be a daily, loving encounter with Him and each other.
Living face to face means paying attention to each other. It means noticing when one or the other is down or going through a rough patch. It’s also sharing in the triumphs and victories in your lives. It means, “I see you at your lowest and your highest.”
Think about how often you and your mate actually make eye contact. All too often, couples are so involved in the minutiae and busyness of life, they neglect one another. With that neglect comes a slow death of the relationship. No, it doesn’t happen all at once, but little by little, perhaps, a trickle at a time; but as each bit mounts up over time, you can start to see the beginning of the end. Remember when you were first dating and getting to know each other? You made spending time together a priority, and you couldn’t wait for each date. Your heart raced at the thought of seeing each other again. Then life happens. You get married and all your attention now goes to the responsibilities of managing a household, paying bills, parenting and the list goes on and on. Now you no longer enjoy the experience of just being together.
The scripture above encourages us to allow God to make our love for one another not only grow but overflow. That means that there should be such an abundance of growth that it overflows to other people.
There is a tried and true method for keeping your love from shriveling up. Remember the idea of a weekly date? I know some people “pooh pooh” the whole concept, but having that weekly, set-aside time for just connecting with your mate is invaluable. It’s a commitment that has to become a priority. It’s an opportunity to look into each other’s eyes and share who you are again. It’s an occasion to notice the growth and maturity in each other, to rediscover the gifts you both bring to the relationship, to begin to see past the titles of “mother”, “father”, “business man or woman” and, instead, see each other as partner, lover, friend.
If you find that you are living life side by side with your spouse, I encourage you to turn and face each other and determine that that is how you will now live and do life together. You may find that you will rediscover some interesting and wonderful things about each other or even notice new things. I believe I shared before about how I, sometimes, found my husband just watching me; and when I inquired why, his response was, “I find you fascinating.” Who could not feel about that! But that’s the benefit of living face to face. With God’s help, you can do it.