It was love at first sight.
The moment we stepped into the quaint, 1950’s ranch, we were captivated—It had to be ours.
Sure, the unsightly paneling would need painted; the outdated light fixtures, changed.
And, okay, the yard sure would need mowing and raking; pulling and pruning.
Yes, we realized the floor was off-kilter in places (as well as a few windows and walls)…
But it was all. So. Charming.
A few agonizingly long weeks later we closed on that house and it became ours. The first few days were magical—strange and new, but magical.
After a few days of painting, moving, and very little sleeping, we began to notice a few things… like the water heater, for instance.
The water heater squealed. A constant, high-pitched hum that only stopped when water was running somewhere. Hmm. That’s annoying.
Then there’s the floors.
You don’t think having completely level floors matters much, until you take into consideration putting furniture on said floors. Just because my boys bunk beds sport blue and white striped bedding doesn’t mean I want them looking like a toppling sailboat.
Oh, and the yard. Don’t even get me started.
What I thought would be “a couple days’ work” has become endless, ongoing cycle of leaf and weed removal. Humpf.
This new house has taught me a lot of lessons already, on everything from friendships to the importance of embracing the process, but lately it’s reminded me a lot of my marriage.
I don’t know about you, but at times my relationship to my husband can seem eerily familiar to my house experience. Although it was not “love at first sight” (we grew up in church together, from an early age), we began hanging out as friends in high school. I began captivated by his humor, maturity and sweet spirit. He had to be mine.
Sure, there were “little things” he did that I noticed, but at the time, they too, were charming.
Now, 11 years and 3 kids later, there are many times when my husband’s idiosyncrasies are far less than “charming”…
I like to finish projects; he’s perfectly fine with stopping in the middle to do something different.
I’m an introvert; he’s a people person to the max.
I’m not big on news and media; he feels the need to be in the know at all times.
What used to be charming can now seem more, well… annoying to be honest.
So what happened in those eleven years between charming and annoying?
The same thing that happened with our house; a sneaky little thing called “familiarity.”
Familiarity causes us to take for granted those things for which we used to be grateful for.
When our house was fresh and new (to us), I appreciated the blessing that it was to our family. Likewise, when our relationship was fresh and new, I cherished every dinner date, every sweet gesture, and every amusing quirk of my husband.
But over time, they just became the norm. Unknowingly, I became entitled, and it sucked the joy and gratitude right out of the relationship.
Entitlement. It’s easy to see it in everyone else but our self, right?
Here’s some tell-tale signs I’m struggling with entitlement:
I stress more than I connect.
I complain more than I compliment.
I sulk more than I celebrate.
Proverbs 5:18 advises husbands, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” But I think that’s a message that can apply to us all.
“Rejoice in the [husband] of your youth.”
So how do we move from frustration to appreciation? How do we fight back against familiarity to keep things fresh in our marriages?
Well, when those little quirks about my house begin to get under my skin, I remind myself of all the wonderful things it has to offer--
A cozy place to rest and recharge.
An inviting space to host friends and family.
A safe and quiet neighborhood.
A spacious, shaded yard.
Likewise, with my marriage, I can turn my focus from irritation to recognition. I can recognize that my husband…
Works hard to be a faithful provider for our family.
Keeps us laughing and light-hearted with his laid-back sense of humor.
Is an innovative thinker and problem-solver.
And so, SO much more.
It’s common for familiarity to creep into our marriages. But it’s not impossible to rekindle fresh love and appreciation for your spouse.
Here are a couple practical ways to do that:
It’s never too late to do the right thing. Begin today. Don’t allow familiarity to strip the love, joy, passion and gratitude right out of your marriage.
Pray and ask God, “What is the one thing I can do today to rekindle love and gratitude in my marriage?” Allow Holy Spirit to show you, then do it. It’s that simple.
What’s the one step you need to take today?
A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.
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