Are You and Your Spouse SOUL Mates … or CELL Mates?Marriage and Family
So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. Gen 29:20
Though there are many degrees in between, and though marriages may be measured in any number of ways, we may consider it as fact that some husbands and wives are soul mates, while others feel more like cell mates. The former seem to have hearts that beat together; the latter may want to beat each other, physically and/or emotionally. Very happy couples sprint hand in hand. Sad couples drag on, feeling locked in handcuffs by the marriage “bond.”
Virtually every person, when marriage begins, thinks he or she has found a soul mate. All is blissful, peaceful, and rewarding. Yet, ironically, months or years later, the joys have turned to chains. The husband (and/or the wife) feels imprisoned and yearns to breathe free! What happened? What can be done about it? If in your marriage you feel like a cell mate …
- Remember and renew the earlier, happier days. When you were free, you chose not to stay that way. Why? Tell your spouse, “I chose you because …” “Some of my favorite memories with you are …” “God blessed us when …”
- Admit the unkind ways you have helped to create the prison. “I have been impatient … unfair … selfish … arrogant.” “I have expected too much, and given too little.” Then, and only then, ask your spouse to take responsibility for his or her part as well.
- Realize that your spouse may feel trapped as well. Give your cell mate some slack, some gratitude, some support. Decrease his or her misery, and you will ease your own. The more you pull on his or her handcuff, the more your own wrist will ache.
- Let some fresh air into the cell. Stop arguing for a week, and talk about areas of agreement, especially basic values. Read the Bible together and pray. Talk about faith, hope, and love. Go for a walk. Share a new hobby and a new church ministry.
- Invite a trusted friend into the cell. An elder or preacher, with his wife, can listen, pray, and offer confidential, godly counsel. So can a trained Christian therapist. Do not be ashamed. Do not deny your struggles. Do not let the devil win.
- Act like a soul mate first. Be the person that you would want to share a cell with, before you ask your mate to be that person. Allow your spouse time to deal with the shock.
- Become a closer soul mate of Jesus Christ. Let His beauty be seen and reflected in you. He forgives. He encourages. He affirms. His yoke is easy, because He shares and carries the load with you. The more you think, speak, and act like Jesus, the more your spouse will want to be bound to you for life.