If you’ve been a Christian for a while and you no longer feel as close to God as you used to feel, someone has probably told you:
- God doesn’t move, so if you are more distant from God, guess who moved?
- In your walk with God, you’re either moving toward Him or away from Him.
Have you ever experienced something that stopped changing, but is still considered to be alive? To be alive is to change. When you stop changing, you’re dead.
Since God is everywhere, you can’t actually move away from Him. However, you can close your heart to Him. You can block Him out, tune Him out, or ignore Him. But He’s still there.
Moving away can be positive or negative depending on the context. Moving away is negative when you become closed to the relationship. But moving away can also be understood as becoming more self-defined. You test to see where the boundaries are between you and God. How much of life is your responsibility and how much is God’s? You stop forcing yourself from obligation and return to God knowing you have a clear choice and a willing heart.
Could what I’ve written also apply to horizontal relationships (with people other than God)?
We all need to breathe the air around us to stay alive. In with the good and out with the bad. Similarly, relationships need to breathe. Breathe-in equals spending time together. Breathe-out equals focusing away from the relationship and on other people, jobs, or hobbies. Marriage especially needs to breathe because one other person can’t meet all your needs.
For a better relationship (with God and others) learn how to breathe:
- Spend time away from a relationship to strengthen both yourself and the relationship. Bring something new from your time away to re-energize your relationship.
- If you find yourself feeling distant or closed to those you are expecting to be close to, be intentional about moving toward them.
If you’ve been in a heated argument, you feel the tension, and you’ve already tried some distance, what might be next is the hard work of moving towards again. Renegotiate how the relationship will be different and hopefully even better now.
Talk with your significant other about how much time you expect to spend together and how much time apart. Find the balancing point where you feel strong individually and as a couple.
And, in your relationship with God, balance the time being with God, sitting at His feet, and the time you are doing something for yourself, others, or even God.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Crystal Brown says
How do you find balance in a marriage?
Matt Pavlik says
Finding a good balancing point depends on factors like whether you have children, how old they are, or how demanding your career is. Some seasons of life require more of an individual focus or more of a focus on the children. What also complicates this is each person is going to have a different preference for closeness. What feels smothering to one might feel good to the other.
Each marriage is going to be different. But let’s use some numbers to make it more real. Let’s say a couple needs to invest at least 25% into the marriage and 25% into individual pursuits. That leaves 50% to customize a relationship.
After you meet the minimum amounts, I don’t think there’s a right answer, at least not without discussing the specifics of a particular couple. Some questions you might ask yourself:
* What feels comfortable? Have you tried it both ways? What does a 75% marriage 25% individual focus feel like? How about the reverse 25%, 75%? Try both and talk about what you like and don’t like.
* How close are you to agreeing to the balancing point? If you don’t agree, you’ll need to negotiate the balancing point. Does what you want seem to bring you closer together, or push you further apart?
* Do you want to invest in developing a co-ministry (other than parenting)? Or are you content to minister to others separately? Either way, God has some reason for bringing two people together in marriage. Make sure you know what this is and you’re working on this (this can be part of the minimum 25%).
* Does one or both of you desire to go below the minimums? If so, you have a different problem. If you don’t invest enough energy into marriage, you could end up divorced. The same is probably true if you both try to create a 90% focused marriage – it could start off wonderful, but eventually, the lack of freedom to be individuals can cause the relationship to deteriorate.
* Are you able to flex the percentages depending on your stage of life and changing personal preferences?
Marriage is important to God. He wants to see us grow into better, more loving people. At the same time, marriage isn’t everything. It’s okay to have interests, hobbies, and other relationships that your spouse has no interest in. As I mentioned in the post, the right balance should end up enhancing the marriage, not weakening it. The right balance is going to be what helps both of you grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I hope I’m answering your question. The key to making all of this work is also the foundation of a good marriage: Do you know what you want? Can you communicate it to your spouse? Can you have a discussion about it? Can you work through conflict over it and find a win-win? Can you find contentment outside of your marriage as well as inside? Finally, can you do all of this while remaining faithful to each other?