There are many songs from the “oldies” that I absolutely love. When I say that, I mean the real oldies. Some people claim that new music from the 80s is the oldies, but that’s just silly. In particular, I love the Righteous Brothers. “Soul and Inspiration” is my and my husband’s “song” due to a super sweet moment in high school when he sang it to me during his senior choir concert.

Another song I can’t help but belt along to is “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” Can I just say there is some impressive tenor happening there? While I love to dance around in the kitchen with my kiddos to this song, at the same time, the words are sobering. This song portrays a strong, healthy relationship that has faded and gone cold. She no longer lights up when he enters the room or leans into his touch.

Sadly, I think this portrays many relationships, even in the church. Over the years, the joy fades, the butterflies flitter away, and husbands and wives find themselves resembling ships in the night more than twitter-pated lovebirds. Why does this happen? Is this what God desires for our marriages? If not, how do we prevent it?

First of all, I don’t believe this is what God desires for our marriages. From the very beginning in Genesis 2:24, husbands and wives were designed to complete each other. Proverbs 19:14 and Proverbs 18:22 both describe marriage as a beautiful thing, a blessing from God. After all, that’s how it starts. The flirting, the smiles, the butterflies. So what happens?

I believe there are many answers to this question. Some of them are very serious, such as physical, emotional, or verbal abuse. If you find yourself in one of these situations, please seek professional help as soon as you possibly can.

However, some answers are much simpler: spouses drift apart. I believe this happens for two primary reasons:

First of all, kids enter the picture, and we lose our priorities. The biblical model for our families is simple: God, husband, wife, children (Ephesians 5:22-6:4). Yet typically, the way our homes operate on a daily basis is that mom is so consumed and exhausted from taking care of the kids that she has very little energy left for her marriage at the end of the day. Oftentimes, the children’s needs (or wants) come first, and most of mom and dad’s effort goes toward keeping the kids happy, kid’s activities, kid’s schoolwork, etc. I believe with all of my heart that this is not what God desires for our families, and this is not what’s in the best interest of our children.

This leads me to a second reason I believe we begin to cohabitate rather than experience the meaningful relationships God would have to experience: we forget to laugh and have fun together. Romans 15:13 teaches us that joy should be descriptive of our life in Christ. Sisters, that should also be reflected in our marriages! How many of us would use “joyous” to describe the state of our marriage today? We have to make time to laugh and have fun with our husbands a priority.

As a mom of four, I understand that if you have small children, this can be difficult, but you can make it happen! One of my dearest friends has six kiddos, all still living at home, but she and her husband have date night every Thursday. Everyone knows that on Thursday night, the kiddos go to bed early, and Mom and Dad have a date night. They don’t leave home, it doesn’t cost very much, but they get to spend that time focusing on each other and enjoying time together.

When was the last time you and your husband belly-laughed together? If it’s been a while, I’m going to guess that you feel more like ships than sweethearts. Your husband will be with you long after the kids are gone; it is absolutely vital to intentionally invest in your marriage even when you have children at home.

One of the sweetest and most humbling things that has happened for us as parents is that there have been about two different times our kiddos took over and made us a date night. Both times, they provided food (the best mac-n-cheese I’ve ever had!), set out the nice dishes and candles, and disappeared to their bedrooms for the evening. The second time was when my husband and I had been particularly stressed and busy and just had not spent much time together. The kiddos noticed. They noticed this changed the environment of our home, and they knew that things were better when Mom and Dad made time for each other. While very sweet, it was humbling and a powerful reminder that the kids realized the problem before we did.

However, the first time they did this was the one that really stuck with me. Our oldest was very upset earlier in the day because she had learned that her friend’s parents were getting a divorce. This was the first time she had seen divorce up close, and it really rattled her. She needed the assurance that her daddy and I loved each other very much and that her world was stable because we were OK. This is why I say the best thing you can do for your children is make your spouse a priority.

What interests or hobbies do you and your husband share? Is there something new that you could learn together? You can take walks, play disc golf, paint or draw, read together, play tennis or golf, drive around in your car and visit, play board or card games, have a bad joke contest, have a cook-off, and let your kids do a blind judging. There are so many options! Pinterest is a great resource for couple’s games or date-night ideas. It doesn’t necessarily matter what you do as long as you are both invested in spending time together, laughing, and having fun.

So let me ask you, which song resonated with you more? “Soul and Inspiration,” or “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling?” If you aren’t particularly happy with the answer to that question, I challenge you to make fun time with your hubby a priority over the next month and see what difference it makes!

Lacy Crowell
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Lacy Crowell is the Dean of Students at Freed Hardeman University in Henderson, TN. She has been married to the love of her life, Jonathan, for over 20 years. They are blessed with four amazing kiddos whom Lacy has had the privilege of homeschooling. She has also served alongside her husband in full-time ministry for 15 years.  She is a graduate of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her great joy is working to help others become excited about studying God’s word, and helping couples thrive in their marriages. She is a member of the Come Fill Your Cup team and the author of two Bible study books for women: Proclaimed – Jesus the Messiah which is a study of the Gospel of Mark, and Pursued – God’s Plan for Intimacy in Marriage: a study of the Song of Solomon.