Gary Chapman writes, “Being in love is an emotional and obsessive experience. However, emotions change and obsessions fade. Research indicates that the average lifespan of the “in love” obsession is two years. For some it may last a bit longer; for some, a bit less. But the average is two years.”

We all rationally know that relationships change. They are not the same on day 1, day 1,825, and day 14,600. And in so many ways, this is a good thing. Love does grow, but not without elements to foster the process. Just as a plant needs air, soil, and water, relationships need key ingredients, too—love, trust, time, grace, truth, patience.

Some of these things are more willingly given at the front end of the marriage because we’re high on the newness. We have a lot of energy to devote to one another.

But then, other things start to come into our lives—demanding jobs, children, financial responsibilities, elderly parents, volunteer obligations, etc. We feel pulled into so many arenas, our priorities fall out of whack, and sometimes we forget to feed the very relationship that is part of our sustenance. Yes, God is always the true source of love and wisdom and power, but He also said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. He knew what we needed to function in this world—a solid relationship with our partner.

Whether it’s been 2 years, 10 years, or 20 years, what marriages need is intentionality. There will be some parts of your relationship in which it’s easier to remain intentional. But just as a plant will not grow with just water, a relationship will not grow fully if you only pay attention to certain parts of it. 

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