How to Grow with Your Spouse Instead of Growing Apart

How to Grow with Your Spouse Instead of Growing Apart

How to Grow with Your Spouse Instead of Growing Apart

Sometimes in marriage (as in any other relationship), things aren’t ideal. You seem to speak a different language, your timing is off, mannerisms that you once loved are now annoying, and there’s just a general dissatisfaction with the person and the relationship.

Marriages are not immune to these feelings, and if we’re not careful, we can become lax and let an unhealthy dynamic become our norm. In my own marriage, I’ve had bouts of dissatisfaction with my husband that, if left unchecked, could have damaged our relationship.

However, when I look at the big picture, I realize that in those moments, irritation may be front and center, but overall, it’s not the primary tone of our marriage.

Irritation happens. Anger happens. Frustration occurs. Through all of this, we’re still here, still standing, never giving up on each other. And the building blocks that allow us to continue growing together are love, trust, commitment, and faith.

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1. Love all the time.

1. Love all the time.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

These verses are a tall order, but they articulate the power of love. On my own, in my strength, I cannot love all the time; however, when I think about God’s love for me, I begin to see love differently.

I first felt loved when I came to Jesus at the age of eight. That feeling of security influenced my beliefs and shaped how I love now. It let me know that love was possible, but that I was never going to be able to do it on my own.

Spending time in God’s presence provides guidance and peace of mind for all situations, especially the difficult ones.

As I sought Him, I remembered how Jesus became a servant to his disciples while living with them. In the day to day, He lived and loved. Ironically Jesus’ servanthood elevated Him. In the same way, we are meant to have a servant's heart toward each other. If you’re not a Christ follower, you may be inclined to do what feels right to you, which may hurt your spouse and pull you apart. By serving each other, you’ll learn the best way to speak and how to be honest. And through it all, your love will only grow stronger. 

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2. Trust in each other and the Lord.

2. Trust in each other and the Lord.

My husband knows he can trust me no matter what, and vice versa (except when I’m in a swimming pool! After a near death experience, I trust no one in a pool. I’m working on this though.) My husband can say of me that “she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:11-12).

As a matter of fact, my husband has said these things to me and about me to others. This unshakeable trust is a gift that I handle with care. I try not to take it for granted. We have each other’s best interests at heart. Sometimes, in the day to day, we miss this. The minutiae of life can easily wear us down. Paying bills, working, cleaning up after each other, raising kids—these things can strain trust.

Shifting our perspective makes us realize that we can trust each other because we both have an unshakeable trust in God. When trust is rock solid, it is cherished and protected, and these little things won’t chip away at it.

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3. Stay committed to each other and commit your marriage to God.

3. Stay committed to each other and commit your marriage to God.

We made a vow before God and man to be with each other until the end—until death separates us. We’re doing life together.

The irony is that ‘life’ usually refers to a death sentence for a convicted criminal. But marriage is not a death sentence, and we are not criminals living together in a cell. We’re married and free to be ourselves. Our commitment to each other is not oppressive but liberating. It’s not a ball and chain as some think but an intimacy enhancer and a blossom that allows friendship to grow.

This commitment reminds me to stay the course, to keep going, to believe the best about my spouse (even when he shows me his worst or I do the same), and to forgive. When I commit my marriage to God, I know that He’s directing its course (Proverbs 3:5-6). In essence, this commitment is an expression of love; the same qualities that love exhibits, commitment reinforces.

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4. Faith ties it all together.

4. Faith ties it all together.

Faith is evident in the three-cord strand of marriage: the unseen guest that provides hope. Faith allows you to believe the best for your marriage. But it starts with a faith found only in God. Each person exhibits faith in God first, which teaches us to have faith in each other.

  • Faith in God allows you to know that God sees it all—the good, the bad, and the ugly of your relationship—and He’s still there for you.
  • Faith allows you to know that you can bring it all to Him.
  • Faith provides boldness to approach His throne with grace and find help in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
  • Faith softens your heart.
  • Faith gives you new eyes to view your partnership and your marriage.
  • Faith strengthens your love.

When I started writing this article, I was irritated with my husband. It was something trivial, but it had been lingering for a while. We needed to communicate so that we both understood each other.

As is the case with most of these things, unhappiness was the indicator that we needed to address it. For us, sometimes it’s just a matter of taking the time to hear each other out. Other times we both need to step back and remind ourselves of what’s important.

When life is taking a toll in terms of jobs, finances, or other stressors, we’re not necessarily irritated with each other. But we take our frustrations out on each other.

Irritations don’t mean an end to a marriage; they’re an opportunity for growth and change. Even in marriage, the darkness of irritation, frustration, and angst reminds us of our commitment: “for better and for worse.”

Growth can take place in the dark if we make a resolution to love in spite of quirks, idiosyncrasies, or disagreements. For this reason, forgive often, listen more, laugh heartily, pay attention to each other, and invest in each other.

None of this happens successfully or consistently without God being the source and center of your relationship. The best way to grow with your spouse is to continue to grow with the Lord. As you spend time with Him and follow His directions, the result will be evident in your life and your marriage. We won’t perfect it, but it will become easier to love one another and grow together.

nylse-headshotNylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at She can be found online on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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About Relationships

Today's role for a Christian woman takes many forms working together - mom, sister, wife, home maker, career women, and more. All of these relationships demand your time and attention. At we want to help you grow in healthy relationships whether you’re single and dating, newlyweds, married or widowed. Find encouragement and feel uplifted with the sharing of personal experiences from women in every walk of the Christian women’s life.