Staying the course after the honeymoon period is over
by Urenna Kiwanuka
I remember getting married just over 3 years ago now; we were so in love, and I was so looking forward to being married to this man that I’d prayed for, for so many years! Fast forward 3 years and I have to say, that exciting, ‘just got married’ sensation is no longer there, and even though I love being married, we have definitely left the honeymoon phase! The truth is that most people will tell you that every marriage comes to a point when the honeymoon period is over, and you have to get down to the nitty gritty of the marriage. You have to go through the mundaneness of life, not to mention the challenges that life throws at you. In these times, having ‘butterflies in your stomach’ is the last thing you’re thinking about, and unfortunately, for a lot of people, this is when temptations start to creep in, and they start to look outside and wonder if they’ve made a mistake in getting married.
In this article, I want to share a few things that have helped me stay the course of marriage, even when times are hard.
1. Remembering why I married my husband. I read a book a few years ago called ‘I married you’ by Walter Trobisch. I really enjoyed reading it and thoroughly recommend it. The summary I got from the book was that once you’re married to somebody, yes, tough times will come, but when they do, just remember ‘I married you’. You made that choice; you weren’t forced, you weren’t blind-folded. You thoughtfully, and (hopefully) prayerfully, chose this person. And there were reasons, valid reasons why you chose to be with them forever. So, whenever things get difficult in our relationship, I remind myself why I married him, and it helps to re-orientate my thoughts.
2. Remembering my vows and that love is a choice. When we got married, we went for the traditional church vows. Some people say vows without giving much thought to them. But I had to keep reminding myself throughout the wedding ceremony, and even now, in marriage, that vows are just that- vows. They are not meant to be broken. And as Christians, when we make vows, we’re making them not just to our spouse, but to God as well. So, it is important to take them seriously, or not make them at all! Also, I remind myself that love is not a feeling, but a choice. Just as I chose to marry my husband, I also choose to love him, even (and especially) when it is hard.
3. Communication and sharing my feelings. There has been a lot said about the importance of communication in relationships, and it is true. Men and women are not mind readers and it is so important that we share our thoughts and feelings with our spouse so that we can work through any issues together. Communicating with each other is also a way of affirming each other and affirming our commitment to one another when times are hard. So, even if we may not be feeling particularly giddy with love, we know that we have chosen each other and are not going anywhere.
4. Praying together. You can never underestimate the importance of prayer in marriage. There is a saying that ‘a family that prays together stays together’. This is especially true in marriage. Praying together softens our hearts towards one another and draws us closer to each other. There is an analogy of the Christian marriage relationship using a triangle. Imagine a triangle pointing upwards, with God at the top of the triangle, and the husband / wife at either end of the base. As the husband and wife draw closer to God, they automatically draw closer to one another. This is why prayer, and especially praying together is so important in a marriage. Praying together also allows God’s divine intervention in our marriage when the going gets tough.
5. Date night! Last but certainly not least, one of the things that I believe helps us to stay the course when the honeymoon period is over, is spending quality time together. Having regular date nights helps us to set aside a specific time for each other on at least a weekly basis, where we can just focus on each other, talk, laugh and play together. We agree on what to do for date night each week and we have it planned into our calendar so that we don’t forget, or book something else. If you’re not currently having regular date nights as a couple, I would recommend that you incorporate it into your marriage, and I believe it will definitely make a difference to your marriage.
There are many more things I could share on how to stay the course of marriage when the honeymoon period wears off, but I hope that the above gives you a good starting point.
If you’re struggling in your marriage, or currently going through a rough phase, remember that tough times don’t last forever. Take some of the tips above and incorporate them into your marriage if you’re not doing so already. Seek counselling; you don’t have to wait for things to get really bad before you start to seek counselling for your marriage; you can do it even when things are going well.
You can also do a Marriage course with your spouse. HTB and Care for the family are just a few Christian organisations that have marriage courses available and online, and this is a great way to invest in your marriage and reconnect with your spouse.
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