Have you ever woken up beside your spouse and realized you didn’t want to be there? Marriage can be difficult. Trying to figure out how to relate and love for as long as you both shall live can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re carrying bitterness toward your spouse. But it can also be daunting when you’ve grown familiar.

As you live, you change. I’m not the same woman my husband married 12 years ago. I’d like to think in some ways I’ve matured, but even many of my interests have changed. I’ve had children, so my body has definitely changed. Even my temperament has changed as we’ve experienced more trials in our growing together. I’m still me to the core, but I’m also different. Because of the familiarity we feel in marriage, it takes intentional effort to stay close as each person changes.

Two Sinners, One Union

You might not even realize you no longer know the person you married all those years ago. Remember the time when you couldn’t wait to learn more about your spouse? You’d stay up late on the phone and linger as you’d say goodbye—you didn’t want the conversation to end! In marriage, the wonder and excitement comes and goes, but what my husband, Thern, and I discovered is that when we have a concentrated time of sharing, some of those “warm fuzzies” come rushing back.

I think Tim Keller’s chapter “Loving the Stranger” in his book The Meaning of Marriage captures this tension well. There isn’t necessarily anything pulling you away from your spouse, such as adultery or a difficult or trying circumstance; it’s either that you realize you married a sinner or you’ve ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.