Beware of Marital Drift

By Daniel Jurek, M.Min., M.A.

Imagine if you put two boats next to each other in the middle of a calm lake but did not tie them together. Just the energy of the boats in the water will have them rocking back and forth and separating. Once the water gets a little choppy the boats drift farther from each other. Should a storm pass over or another boat drive in between them, the boats can end up on opposite shores of the lake. This natural tendency happens in marriage. This is called Marital Drift. The goal is to find ways to tether the boats and keep them close.

Physical science and nature itself moves from order to disorder, if left to its own energy. If you build a new house, it will steadily deteriorate from the day you moved in. Our bodies are slowly aging and dying. Businesses not managed carefully unravel and fail. The principle that governs this move from order to disorder is called the “law of disintegration.: (Scientists sometimes call it the “law of entropy.”) The only way to postpone or temporarily combat its influence is to invest energy and intentional growth and maintenance into that which is to be preserved.

Human relationships conform to this principle as well: the law of marital drift, or the law of marital entropy. If married couples are those two boats in the middle of the lake, then each spouse must paddle vigorously to stay together and stay connected. When spouses get too busy or distracted to maintain their love and their connectedness, marital entropy begins. If they don’t take time for intentional activities that draw them together, something precious begins to slip away. Couples can fight against marital drift, but the currents of life will try to pull them apart unless constant and consistent effort is made to remain together.

This is an important point for all marriages: newlyweds, couples with small children, couples raising teens and empty-nesters. So tether the boats, work on romantic activities and experiences that will keep you connected.

Action Plan:

List four things each of you can do with your spouse that will intentionally keep you close.




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October 5, 2015

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