I’ve always believed that when we’re committed to something, we make a way, and when we’re not, we make an excuse! As I have interacted with countless married couples, I’ve seen that too many couples are staying stuck in a rut because they’re making excuses instead of making a way to strengthen their relationship. Below are some of the most common excuses I hear and how to replace the excuses with solutions.
If you’ve been guilty of making any of the excuses on this list, don’t beat yourself up and definitely don’t make more excuses; just commit to changing your thinking and focusing on making some improvements in your marriage.
1. We’d have a Date Night, but we can’t find a babysitter.
The way some couples talk, you’d think finding a babysitter was more difficult than finding the lost city of Atlantis. One of Jesus’ most famous teachings in the Bible essentially says, “You’ll find what you’re looking for if you keep looking.” Ashley and I have moved to new areas several times where we had no babysitters in place, and one of the first things we did was to start an active, diligent search for a rotation of multiple babysitters. We checked our neighborhood newsletter, we asked the childcare workers at church, and we kept searching because reliable childcare was a priority. If you’re too lazy to do any of those things, you can still go to Care.com and start you search there. Don’t make excuses. Make time together alone with your spouse a priority.
2. Our marriage would be better if HE/SHE would just do their share.
There are certainly situations where one spouse is doing significantly more work in the relationship than the other BUT it’s rarely as one-sided as you think it is. Regardless of what your spouse is or isn’t doing, the only part of the relationship where you have 100% of the responsibility is in how YOU are choosing to respond. Are you doing everything in your power to promote healing and growth? Are you being an encourager or a critic? Are you bringing out the best or bringing out the worst in your spouse? If you truly want to work to improve the marriage even in those situations where your spouse isn’t on board, I’d encourage you to read the book “The Love Dare” which is a 40-day exercise you can do to invest in your marriage.
3. We would make love more, but we’re just too tired.
I’m in an exhausting season of life right now. My wife Ashley and I are juggling countless demands plus four precious (but also rambunctious) little boys. We’re pretty exhausted most of the time, but we also realize that we have to make our time together a priority. Not just in the bedroom, but in all areas of your marriage, strive to give each other your best and not your leftovers. It might mean readjusting some of your schedule, but it’s worth it! Plan a lunch break where you meet at home to make love. That’s WAY better than running to McDonald’s for a burger!
4. We’ll invest more time in our marriage SOMEDAY, but right now, we have to focus on our kids and careers.
This one is big. It might be the most common and it might also be the most dangerous. On the surface, it sounds like a responsible approach to life, but in reality, it’s toxic. I’ve seen way too many couples put their marriages on hold during the child-raising years only to wind up with an “empty nest” and an “empty marriage” at the same time. This is why there’s a divorce epidemic among middle-aged couples after the kids leave. They realize that after spending all their energy on the kids, the kids were all they had left in common and once the kids moved out, the marriage collapsed. One of the best gifts you can give your children is to have the kind of marriage that actually makes them want to get married someday. You can’t leave your marriage on autopilot, because anything left on autopilot will eventually crash. Invest into your marriage every day!