Have you ever felt like you and your spouse were on different roads? At the time of your marriage you had all of these incredible dreams. You were going to walk hand in hand, arm in arm through life and tackle whatever came your way.
Part of what pulled you together were these common dreams,
these common interests.
Your spouse understood you and encouraged you.
But now something is different.
Life has entered in. Kids, in-laws, health issues, debt, a mortgage. The light in your eyes has disappeared. Your excitement about crazy ideas that would change the world are met with, “Now isn’t the time.”
For men and women this can be crushing, but especially for men.
One of the underlying needs and desires of a man is to know that the people around him believe in him.
Little boys are continually asking if they measure up. This is one reason they attempt crazy things like climbing high trees and standing on walls. They want to know, “Can I do this? Do you think I can do this?”
One of the most soul crushing things a person can communicate to a man is, “I don’t think you can do this.”
The same is true for a woman.
When they are dating, most men love to listen to their girlfriend talk. To hear her heart, her dreams. He asks questions and imagines with her what their future will be like.
But something changes.
Now it isn’t as interesting as it used to be.
What you used to have in common you no longer do.
When a man pulls back and finds other interests, looks for new challenges, he crushes the spirit of his wife.
This is a crucial moment in a marriage.
At this moment you either continue down the path of pulling away, discouraging your spouse and essentially becoming your own person (this is dismal and miserable),
or you pull towards your spouse.
At any given moment you are either growing closer to your spouse or pulling away from them.
There isn’t a third direction.
Marriages do not stall out.
It is difficult to re-engage with your spouse.
Things have been said. Hurt is running deep in you. There is a chance you have felt unsupported for years.
That won’t simply go away. It needs to be dealt with, by both of you. It needs to be faced, by both of you.
You have to face what hurts. You have to face what has been said, both to you and by you.
It will also take choosing to get on the same road once again, sharing your dreams with each other and giving up some of your individual dreams because they don’t help you reach your goals as a couple. This is crucial because too many couples continue living as single people when it comes to their dreams and goals.
Many times, and don’t miss this, many times a married couple’s romance and excitement at the start of the marriage mask that they aren’t on the same page. But as time goes on and life happens (ie., stress, kids, etc.), it begins to reveal that you aren’t on the same page. Life has a way of unraveling that newness and excitement.
How do you know this is you? You’ll say and think things like, “It didn’t use to be this hard.” Or, “Why is marriage taking so much effort and work? Remember when it just sort of happened?” Or, “My spouse used to just get me. They used to be understanding and supportive, but now they aren’t.”
To end, let me give a word of warning.
It is easy to think that this should come easily and quickly once you find you and your spouse are on different roads going towards different goals.
The reason we think this is because of how quickly we remember it happening while we were dating.
The reality, though, is that you have spent years (potentially) going down different roads. It isn’t as simple as “just getting on the same page.”
But don’t give up.
The newness and excitement you once shared, the hopes and dreams you stayed up all night sharing while dating, can be rekindled. They can be found anew.