Couples are surprised to learn that the second most vulnerable time for divorce is during the onset of the “empty nest” years. That’s because the number one cause of divorce is not an affair, money, or irreconcilable differences. Those are symptoms of the real culprit: the absence of any intentional emotional, physical and spiritual investments into their marriages. Apathy will slowly strangle and kill a marriage.
Many empty nesters have concentrated more on their children and careers than they have on their marriages and mates. The problem surfaces when their kids and jobs go away … they discover that their love for each other has quietly vanished too!
Jesus said: “where your treasure is … there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21.) Whatever captivates your time, energy, talent, and treasure will ultimately seize first place in your heart. So, if you’re not giving your spouse your prime time, talent, treasure and the energy they deserve, you’ve put your marriage in a perilous place.
The good news is that with some intentionality … you can reverse the curse of apathy.
Here are 5 suggestions:
1. Share a “quickie” devotional together. Find time to read from your Bible or favorite devotional book and to pray for each other as you launch out into your respective days. This acknowledges your dependency on God, gets you talking about your day, and strengthens your spiritual intimacy.
2. Greet each other with a hello / goodbye kiss: it’s a great reminder of the physical and emotional connection you share together as husband and wife.
3. Share a 30 second hug: a warm embrace everyday reminds your body, soul and mind of your love connection and commitment.
4. Check-in: call, text or e-mail updates to one another throughout the day to see how things are going, and to make sure you’re both on the same page about your plans for the evening.
5. Schedule a regular time of uninterrupted conversation: relationships need meaningful conversation to grow … so, find a time to turn off the TV, computer, put down the phone and talk.
Many of us are disciplined about making deposits into our retirement accounts … so we can enjoy those wonderful years … but … let’s not forget to make regular deposits of “intentional attention” into our spouses love banks so that those years will be truly “golden.”