Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. –Hebrews 12:1
Most days, early in the morning, I walked our golden retriever, Hobie, by Dana Point Harbor, which is near our home. One day, Hobie and I were strolling along the water when we crossed paths with an older couple holding hands. Following the release of my book Creating an Intimate Marriage, I had been especially intrigued by couples who looked like they had it together. After exchanging greetings, the three of us started talking about Hobie. A bit later I asked them, “You seem so happy. What is your secret to keeping a marriage intimate and strong?”
They traded glances and then sheepishly turned to me. “Oh, we’re not married. And we wouldn’t want our spouses to know about our (wink/wink) ‘business trip.'”
I’m not usually without words, but their answer left me stunned. Obviously this couple was having an affair. I mumbled an awkward “Oh, I’m sorry,” and Hobie and I wandered off. They probably took my apology to mean I was sorry for assuming they were married. Actually, I was sorry that they had chosen to forfeit their God-given potential for intimacy in their marriages for the false intimacy of an affair. I’m sorry for their spouses. I’m sorry for their kids. I’m sorry for their blatant disobedience to our Creator God.
What went wrong with their marriages? I will never know, but I can guarantee that there will be a trail of broken relationships along the way. If I were going to guess, I would say that these people each married the love of their life, but when kids and work and bills and all the rest came along, their marriage relationship was neglected. It probably started with small compromises. In the midst of all their other responsibilities, they overlooked their relationship with their spouse and neglected the commitment to their marriage vows. Then their relationship drifted. Sometimes people don’t even know they’re drifting, until one day they look up and ask, “What on earth happened to us?”
I think the same thing happens with our roles as moms and dads. While we would never neglect the physical needs of our children, we often find ourselves drifting, neglecting the other areas that make a huge difference in a family’s life. We settle for mediocrity in the area of leadership with our children. Families find a false sense of security in the busyness of life, and parents allow circumstance and chance to “guide” their children’s move toward independence.
Today, spend some time reflecting on whether or not neglect and drifting are part of your family life. If needed, take action to reaffirm your commitment to your family!
1. What areas of your family life are most vulnerable to neglect and drifting?
2. What steps can you take to guard against neglect and drifting in these areas?
Proverbs 11:29; 1 Timothy 5:8