Have you ever heard of entropy?
It’s a scientific law which basically says that your clean house will soon be a disaster if you don’t do something about it. In more scientific terms, order turns to disorder without intervention.
Let’s compare your marriage to the idea of entropy
Just as we invest our time vacuuming, dusting and rubbing dirt off walls, we must also keep investing in our marriage. We know that if we don’t clean, entropy will take over.
Nothing is unchangeable on this earth (besides the fact that it changes). Our relationships are either strengthening or beginning to slowly fall apart.
Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it takes only a short amount of time.
Marriages that last are lived by couples that are intentional about the vitality and upkeep of their relationship.
So how can we not only protect what we have but make our existence together something that is beautiful?
Three ways to save your marriage from entropy:
1. Go on dates
Yes, do it like what you did when you were dating.
Nobody had to force you to find time to talk to your lover. You thought of them first. You were intentional. You couldn’t keep affirming the beauty and strength of your newfound soulmate. So what happened?
Life. Your job, kids, friends, commitments, and everything in between got in the way of your attention.
Entropy happened to your relationship.
The good news is that it can be reversed. Put that same amount of time, commitment and energy into your spouse, and your relationship can blossom again.
Couple time is essential. You would be amazed at how many people think they either don’t have time or the money. We always have time for what is important to us and dates don’t have to cost anything.
To underline the importance of couples going on frequent dates, consider a revealing survey conducted by Wilcox & Dew (2012). They found that if the couple had couple time at least once per week, they were 3.5 times more likely to describe their marriage as being “very happy” compared to those who had less quality time with their spouse.
They also found that with weekly dates nights, it made the wives four times less likely and husbands two-and-a-half times less likely to report divorce proneness.
2. Study your spouse
Be a student of your spouse.
Just because you are married doesn’t mean that the chase is over! There are stacks of books, numerous podcasts and countless videos on the subject of relationships. By all means, be a student. These have helped us learn a lot about ourselves and each other.
While books and outside resources are awesome, who can better help you learn about your spouse than your spouse?
People often ask us for advice about their spouse and one of our first responses is always: Have you asked them?
We are often poor students of the other person. How many times has your partner asked you to do something (or not do something), but you forgot? Remember what they ask for and work on it intentionally every day.
3. Tag in every day
Dirt gathers in the corners without time and energy spent cleaning it up.
What about the corners of your relationship? Are there areas that aren’t talked about? Are their secrets that haven’t been discussed? Are there needs that aren’t being met?
How could you know if you don’t talk?
There are three questions you should ask each other every day; we call this the “Daily Dialogue”:
- What went well in our relationship today?
- What didn’t go as well?
- How can I be helpful to you today (or tomorrow)?
These are simple questions that can help keep you on the same page and help you each practice being assertive. When your spouse responds to your questions, be sure to be an active listener.
William Doherty gives an accurate description of marriage.
He says, “Marriage is like launching a canoe into the Mississippi River. If you want to go north, you have to paddle. If you don’t paddle, you go south. No matter how much you love each other, no matter how full of hope and promise and good intentions, if you stay on the Mississippi without a good deal of paddling—occasional paddling is not enough—you end up in New Orleans (which is a problem if you want to stay north).”
The great thing is, paddling north with someone you are learning to love deeply and fully isn’t a chore. Building the kind of relationship that lasts the strong currents of life is a choice and we must make that choice intentionally.