The Unplugged Spouse {WW Linkup}

Plugging In

ugochiToday I’m so excited to have a guest post from Ugochi who blogs at Teshuva, where she writes on God’s redemption in life and marriage in ways that really resonate with what we are about here at Messy Marriage. She is continuing our discussion on striving for intimacy and oneness in marriage. I hope you’ll make her feel welcome. 🙂

God’s intent is for couples to be glued together, not just in flesh, but spirit, soul and body. He planned the man and his wife to “be together” at all times, in all situations and in all things. Not just physically, though we all know the great importance of being physically together and spending quality time with each other, but unity in spirit and soul.

When asked if divorce was allowed, Christ said to them;
“Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” Matthew 19:4-5

Cleave . . .
To cleave means to: adhere, cling, cohere, stick, adhere, bind, bond, hold fast, stick, stick to, to stick to firmly, to fasten with an adhesive material like glue. It could also mean to be “permanently plugged into.”

Some couples live together without actually being together. Their lives are constantly running in different directions. They know next to nothing about what is going in each other’s lives and do not care. They live together but hardly say no more than “hello” to each other, except make some superficial conversations on mostly what concerns the children or bills. They are indifferent about whatever their spouses’ are doing, where they are going and how they feel.

An unplugging has occurred.

How to know when you are unplugged or are beginning to unplug from your spouse?

  • You feel more comfortable with other people than your spouse.
  • You can tell your friends important things you cannot tell your spouse.
  • You are often irritated or angry at and with your spouse.
  • You care less about sex with your spouse.
  • You devote less time to each other and more to children or work.
  • You criticise your spouse constantly.
  • You make sarcastic comments to and about him/her.
  • You find yourself in constant conflicts.
  • You completely avoid conflicts.

 

What causes this unplugging?

  1. Constant arguments.
  2. Blaming and naming.
  3. Constant criticism.
  4. Unresolved hurts.

When any of these is present in a marriage, there is the tendency for one or both couple to withdraw and gradually unplug.

[Tweet “Any marriage where a spouse is unplugged is a joyless marriage.”]

No one would be truly happy and if there is no attempt at re-plugging, the marriage will hit rock bottom.  When a spouse notices this unplug, this disconnect, it is important they discuss it, looking for solutions and how to get back “into” each other.

So how can such couple get back “together?”

“. . . Do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” Ephesians 4:2-3 (MSG)

  1. The unplugged state must be brought up by one spouse or both couples with a solution, rather than finger-pointing in mind.
  2. ALWAYS listen to each other. Do not complete your spouse’s sentences or draw conclusions without seeking to understand exactly what you spouse is saying and why he/she is saying it.
  3. The man and his wife must lay everything bare, exposing hurts, apologising, accepting apologies and giving forgiveness.
  4. They must deliberately create ample time for each other.
  5. They should always discuss rather than argue over issues.
  6. They should avoid pointing accusing or blame fingers.
  7. They should choose to commend rather than criticise each other.
  8. They must agree that their marriage can be blissful and be willing to give all it takes to make it happen.
  9. They must refuse to give any place to the enemy in their home by filling their marriage with God’s love and joy.

A united couple makes for a joy filled marriage. Choose to be the one who initiates oneness rather than the one who causes a divide.

[Tweet “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. Mark 10:9 (NIV)”]

What are some ways you’ve reconnected with your spouse after a season of distance or being unplugged?

 

What fears do you have now or have had about pursuing a deeper connection with your spouse?

 


 

Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, So Much at Home and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Now it’s time for Wedded Wednesday . . .

Find our other WW buttons and guidelines here.

Messy Marriage

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  • Kathryn

    Great post and great reminders. Will definitely be sharing!

    • Thanks so much for encouraging Ugochi and for sharing her post, Kathryn! I appreciate it!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    This is a great post! Thanks for being here.

    There’s one more reason for unplugging, I think…terminal illness. Like mine.

    The ‘goodbye’ starts early, from a natural desire for self-preservation, and I’m not sure how the process can really be reversed.

    And I wonder if it, indeed, should be reversed, because my wife will have to move on after I’m dead. I don’t think I would want to make things harder, by demanding full emotional engagement up to the end.

    It’s tough on me, sure, but I’m harder than any pain that the heart can inflict. I’ll live…OK, let me rephrase that…

    I’ll survive as long as I’m going to, and will continue to love and support my wife, with no resentment for the different fork she feels she must take.

    http://www.blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com

    • I cannot even begin to understand your pain Andrew. But I do agree that loving and living through it will make great memories and help your wife too.

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  • Mary

    Thank you for sharing here at Beth’s place today. All of your ideas are good and give us reasons for the unplugging as well as plugging a relationship. Praying that many see this post to better understand how easy it is to unplug from a relationship but also then how to heal the relationship.

    • Amen! Everyone need meaningful and positive relationships in their lives, and the “blame game” will not help any relationship to thrive. Many thanks Mary!

  • JosephPote

    A very good post, Ugochi, on both recognizing the symptoms of marital distance and practical steps toward deeper intimacy!

    Thank you, for sharing your wisdom in this area, and thank you, Beth, for hosting Ugochi.

    I do have one small correction to point out…I know it seems minor…but it’s a stumbling block for Christians who have divorced or are in an abusive marriage.

    The passage quoted from Matthew 19 was not in response to whether divorce was allowed. Rather, it was in response to a trick question asking whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife ‘for any reason’…because she burned his toast that morning…or because he found another woman more attractive.

    Blessings to you!

    • Thanks Joseph, I understand your point. However Jesus said Moses allowed them then because of hardness of heart. The Holy Spirit can tenderize any heart that lets Him.

  • Candy Reid

    Great post, Ugochi! I appreciate that you pointed out what could be real problems in our marriage, but then shared very practical, easy-to-implement solutions.
    Thank you!
    ~Candy
    http://momsmorningcoffee.com

    • Thanks Candy! It isn’t easy we all know, but hey, peace is always better than war, (I’ve experienced both in marriage) so we must pursue peace at all times!

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  • Suzanna Gamble

    Yes great points – but –

  • Suzanna Gamble

    what about when only one of you is willing to put effort in?

    • JosephPote

      Suzanna –

      Speaking from personal experience, I would tell you, first, that I have been amazed, at times, in an ‘unplugged’ spouse’s change after a period of focused prayer and sacrificial love.

      I would also tell you that not even God will over-rule a hard-hearted spouse’s free will and right to make destructive choices. Sometimes, hard realitites must be faced and dealt with, realistically, including the possible need for divorce.

      These are hard questions you’re asking, with no easy answers. I would advise facing them prayerfully, knowing God loves you and will walk with you through whatever difficutilies you are facing. If possible, it is better to live together in peace. If living together in peace is not possible, divorce may be the best and most godly path.

      God is faithful! In a difficult marriage, God is faithful. Through a divorce and custody battles, God is faithful.

      Cling to Jesus…He is faithful to the end.

    • I totally agree with Joe below, Suzanna, but I wanted to put my two-cents worth in as well. It is not an easy position at ALL to be in a marriage where only one spouse is willing to work on connecting. And taking on the role of the proactive spouse who is willing to take responsibility for her own part requires a lot of difficult choices that involve the support and guidance of God, first and foremost, but also godly friends and counselors/mentors. It’s one thing to know what to do, but it’s quite another to actually do it effectively!

      Also, it sounds as if you might have some resentment about your spouse’s lack of work or engagement. That’s very normal, but can drain you of necessary energy to stay committed to the task of doing that next right thing that is in your personal path. God doesn’t expect you to fix your marriage by being the one who does all the work, but He does want you to surrender all the hurt and baggage that has probably accumulated in your heart because of the distance and “cold war.”

      I know what I’m talking about, Suzanna, because I was that woman, that wife! Go back and watch my last video and you’ll see a bit of what I’m talking about. It can be found in the post that’s just before this one. If you’d like to talk further with me about it through an email, I’d be happy to respond more–not to mention, pray for you if you’d like. Thanks so much for being vulnerable enough to ask hard questions, my friend!

  • Thank you for your guest post today! I would say #8 and #9 are so important! Attitude, outlook and perspective have a LOT to do with things. We have to fill our minds with positive thoughts. Often times that will actually effect the way we act and react. If negative thoughts come to mind we must replace them with the opposite. Thank you for these great reminders and tips!

    • I agree, Cassie. Ugochi’s points were spot on and really remind us of the power we have to influence change. We may not be able to change our spouse, but we can certainly influence the attitude in our homes. We can do what is within our power and pray for God to powerfully work as well. If nothing else, God fills us up and gives us the ability to weather the storm that a disconnected marriage might stir up in our lives. Thanks for encouraging me and, of course, Ugochi!

  • A very good post. This stood out to me > “Choose to be the one who initiates oneness rather than the one who causes a divide” It is a choice that is up to us to make & it takes a humble heart. Blessings to you!

    • I know, Joanne! I loved that truth as well. It really points out the attitude we need to have in marriage. We cannot wait for our mates to do what is right. If God reveals the right thing, then it is our duty to respond in obedience. God will bless us for our proactive and self-sacrificing choices. It may not be by saving our marriage, but it will be by giving us a peace in the midst of a conflicted situation. Thanks so much for weighing in and encouraging Ugochi!

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  • This is a great post! And that drift, the unplugging, can occur gradually even when hearts are not intending to separate…when unwitting hearts put other things before their marriage. May our hearts always be alert!! And numbers 3 and 7 tie in with what I wrote about today…being authentic with our words in marriage and how this can bring us closer. Marriage is a lifelong proposition that needs daily tending and watchful guarding! Thanks for some good reminders.