For years it used to be that marriages were said to struggle once they hit that seven year mark. Anymore, there seems to be more of a three year itch than a seven year one. Based upon some sociological studies the primary reason a seven year itch happens is because life happens. It used to be that most couples waited a couple of years before having children. (Today, many couples are getting married after children have been introduced to the home). Once children enter into the home the couple gets distracted with life.
Gone are romantic evenings or fun filled adventures. Now you spend your nights fighting with children trying to get them to brush their teeth, get dressed for bed and keep them in bed until they fall asleep. Gone are the weekend retreats. They are replaced by kids ball games, practices, and the occasional home improvement activity.
Intimate time with each other is over. By the time the kids are asleep, you and/or your spouse are exhausted and just want to relax with a good book, watch the game, or go to bed. There just isn’t time for each other. So, the mind begins to wander. Would it be better if I had taken door #2? We see a post from an old flame, someone at work still laughs at our jokes, etc. Or maybe someone at work listens when your spouse isn’t. That is when wandering becomes seeking and seeking becomes action and next thing you know you two are separated. The relationship that started with butterflies in the stomach ends in a divorce.
While our relationship as a church and a preacher is not a marriage in the traditional sense of the word, I do believe that our relationship at least on some levels is like a marriage. We have been working together now for seven years. Next Sunday marks the beginning of our 8th year together. It is an exciting time to look on anniversaries and consider what we have done together. However, it is also a time of reflection for others. A time to think, did we make the right choice?
In the last 7 years we have had 14 different preachers speak at various gospel meetings. That is 14 other men that have undoubtedly shared their stories concerning the work that they have done in their churches. Some of those preachers have moved on to other works, others continue to labor at the same churches. Most of you have traveled during these 7 years and have had opportunity to visit other churches and hear other preachers. You have had the opportunity to see what the work could be under different preaching, different leadership, etc. We have had a chance to see what else is out there. You have to ask yourself, is what we have now working?
If it isn’t working, we need to determine why? It is because the preaching isn’t the truth? It is because the preacher has changed? Or is it because, like most seven year itches we all have gotten busy with life? We have ball games to attend. We have work to engage in. We have our own vacations we want to take. We have opportunities to visit friends and families. And we all need that down time when we can breathe. And yes, we all have our own interests. You might be interested in hunting, fishing, sports, literature, gardening, or maybe you are just a workaholic. But, we all have these things that keep us busy. And do you know what happens? That “newlywed” feeling we had when this relationship had just started begins to wear off. Just like in a marriage, we have to be working on keeping our relationship strong. This becomes especially important when we consider the fact that we are so spread out here in Central Iowa.
Now, this article is just as much for me as it is for you. Are we doing things that cause our relationship to grow, or are we letting life get in the way of our relationships.
One thing I try to remind my children when they are fighting with each other is to consider what life would be without the other. Would life really be sweeter without Kaitlyn in it. Would life really be funner if Josiah wasn’t around. Would life be improved if Autumn wasn’t here? Ask yourself. Would the church really be better off without each other? Would may faith be stronger as a part of a different church? Would my faith grow under the teaching of a different preacher? If the answer is yes, then obviously it would be time to end the relationship. If the answer is no, then what are we doing to make certain that the preacher doesn’t want to move on? And with it, what am I doing to make certain that you don’t want me to leave?
The seven year itch doesn’t have to be one for us.
Grinnell church of Christ
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How to Make the Best of This Holiday Season
Volume 7 Issue 47