It’s a very subtle shift – one spouse gets a new job, a child is born, or both become more involved with ministry. Before you realize what’s happened, you’re living parallel lives as roommates instead of lovers. Bill and Pam Farrel lay out the basic rules for staying connected in a season of busyness or distractions.
Pam shares their own story.
“We married with very lofty goals… we wanted to finish our education… I was working more than full time, Bill was going to school with more credits… even though we got married because we wanted to spend time together, we were spending less and less time together. Our lives seemed to cross when we co-taught, but it was very easy to not have down time together.”
Bill and Pam list several symptoms of parallel lives:
- Separate agendas and conflicts in scheduling
- An attitude of independence regarding finances
Bill and Pam say that every couple goes through this. “There’s a whole system in our world that tries to separate us into individuals instead of a couple.” They choose to pursue intimacy by praying together every day and syncing up their schedules on a regular basis.
The Farrels walk through seven temptations that lead to parallel lives:
1. To serve yourself.
2. To build a wall around your heart and enter a “martyr” mindset.
3. To look good for others instead of your spouse.
4. To create a different reality through romance novels, social media connections or fantasies about others.
5. To neglect your spouse with a heart of bitterness, “to return the favor” of their emotional distance.
6. Have a wild thought life.
7. Living in the shallows, loosening your hold on the deep things of God and getting distracted by lesser things.
God calls us to love and serve our spouses as we walk with Him in every season – if we choose to serve and keep a soft heart our marriages will endure every hardship.