We have seen many marriage counseling scenarios with this common story line. “We used to be so excited in our relationship and now we’re bored.” Apathy and boredom are arch enemies of marriage. We can easily expand that statement to include all of life. Single or married, it is critical that we live “fresh.”
Fresh is the opposite of stale. Anyone like me enjoy fresh baked bread? I have aromatic childhood memories of this bakery in downtown Buffalo, NY, where my parents used to buy bread. It was located at the end of an alleyway, red brick on either side. As you walked up the alley the smell was heavenly!
Fresh is newly produced; not preserved by being canned or frozen. Freshly frozen corn for example is much better than canned, but neither are a match for corn on the cob. Fresh is renewed in vigor, as in waking up from a good night’s sleep; and that clean feel when put on newly laundered clothes.
Enthusiasm is another quality that seems to be in plentiful supply when couples first begin their relationship. There is energy and life as each person discovers the other. Common interests, goals, and even the spice of some diversity, make for an enjoyable connection. It would appear that “autopilot” is on, for there’s such little effort required to be happy and fulfilled together. Then comes the wedding, followed by the marriage, and the autopilot switch seems to have malfunctioned. It’s fairly common to hear a spouse say, “I’m not enthused at the same level that I was before.”
We can gain great insight from breaking down the meaning of the word “enthusiasm.” The root word is “entheos” – en + theos. It literally means “inspired in God.” Does that mean that everything I’m excited about has its source in God? Hardly. But I do believe that the greatest inspiration for laying down your life for your spouse, and actually enjoying such service, can only be sourced in God.
When I get inspired in God I feel enthused about life all the way around, including towards my wife. Personal, spiritual renewal will guard the perimeter of your marriage and keep boredom and apathy at bay.
Zeal for your spouse will not automatically draw you closer to Christ, but zeal for Christ will always draw you closer to your spouse.