Marriage Staff Meeting: Roadblocks to Closeness


Learning to love takes practice and some work.

This little thing called, “love” is hard to figure out. It’s not enough just to fall in love with that special someone. Nor is love complete when you decide that you care enough about someone to marry them.

It’s not too long before every couple figures out this truth: Learning to love takes practice. Couples may not realize that there are also obstacles along the road toward marital closeness. These obstacles distract us, deter us and even make it harder to experience love. We’ve identified three of the biggest obstacles to relational closeness. Take a look at the descriptions below and ask yourself: Which obstacle seems to get in the way for you?

  1. Self-reliance is the first road block to closeness. You might be self-reliant if you tend to be more task-focused, rather than people focused. You may miss the needs of your partner because you’re busy getting things done or checking off the list. You may be self-reliant if you often act independently from your spouse, neglecting to consider the other person’s view, opinion, preference or schedule.  You might be self-reliant if you tend to do your own thing, meet your own needs, and resist needing anyone else. You may even view others who are vulnerable or express their need as weak and needy.
  2. A second road-block to closeness is self-centeredness.  You may be self-centered if you tend to have your own agenda that is centered on your desires and your goals. You might be self-centered if you often demand, control or manipulate in order to get your way. You might have a tendency to talk more than you listen, take more than you give. You may be self-centered if you are frequently disappointed when others don’t notice or feel that others always let you down.
  3. Self-condemnation is a final road-block to close relationships.  You may struggle with self-condemnation if you have a difficult time receiving care from your partner.  You may often feel unworthy of or undeserving of your partner’s love.  You may be experiencing condemnation if you seem to take everything as a personal attack or accusation. Or you might even have a tendency to apologize too much or too often for things that are beyond your control. You might be self-condemning if you seem to reject your spouse’s love–even when they express it freely.

Discuss your answers to the following: 

  1. Which one of these do I demonstrate the most?
  2. How does this obstacle hurt me?
  3. How does it impact my relationship with God?
  4. How does this obstacle hurt my spouse?
  5. How did my family-of-origin possibly contribute to this obstacle in me? 

Now Do the Book!

Do the Scripture James 5:16

Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

Here’s what that might look like:

Admit your faults. Express a confession to your partner, especially your feelings of sorrow about how this road-block has impacts him/her. Express your sadness about how your road-block has painfully impacted your relationship and hindered your experience of love.  

Sweetheart, I regret that my _________________________(self-reliance) keeps me from being more compassionate.  I know that this has impacted our relationship because you’ve felt hurt by my insensitivity.  Will you forgive me?

I am so sad that my _____________________ (self-centeredness) has left you feeling used and taken for granted. I know this has impacted our relationship because there are times when you’ve felt controlled rather than loved by me. Will you forgive me?

Pray for each other that you may be healed. Now pray together. Say a pray to God that your partner can overhear. Ask God to remind you often of these hindrances and how they have impacted your partner. Ask Him to prompt you and empower you to love your spouse differently. Ask Him to heal your partner’s hurt.


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