The Power of Sustained Proximity

Today marks the end of 10 days of family vacation.  In fact I am writing this post from a cottage not 1 mile from the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.  We grabbed our two adult children (18 and 20) along with their wonderful girlfriends and trekked many hours from home.  There were movie and game nights that lasted into the wee hours of the morning, the girls enjoyed experiences such as first time at Lake Michigan, first jet ski ride and many others.  Today we leave for home.

Family vacation has a reputation for being a time of high stress and personality conflicts.  When you pack a lot of people together for an extended period of time the masks will eventually come off and most of us will show our true selves.  This is what I like to call “The Telling Power of Sustained Proximity“.  There is nothing quite like 10 days traveling with those you love most and people you are just getting to know to bring out the real you.

I am not perfect.  I am susceptible to stress.  But how that plays out depends on one thing.  What is in my heart.

Some of the worst issues in relationships happen during times of high stress and can be caused by sustained proximity.  Why?  Because of the content of our hearts.

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” – Matthew 15:18

You can only consistently, honestly and inwardly love your wife if your heart is pure towards her.  What does that mean?  Here are some signs of an impure heart:

  • Harboring bitterness about a decision that she made was not your preference.
  • Keeping track of things she has done wrong.
  • Purposefully making plans that you know will be in contrast to what she wants.
  • Waiting for her make a mistake then saying, “I told you so” even just to yourself.

If you ponder this list I am sure that more will come to mind.  Let’s turn it around.  How do you make your heart pure towards your wife?

  • Pray for her, consistently.
  • When a negative thought comes to mind in relation to her remind yourself of a specific thing you lover about her.
  • Make an effort to try more things you know she likes.  Have an open mind and expect to enjoy the activity.  You get what you expect to get.
  • Admit when you make a mistake…out loud.  Nothing reminds me of the fact that I am no better than anyone else than admitting when I blow it.

Superficial love is not love, it is a lie and will eventually be revealed as such.  True love comes from the heart and does not change, no matter the circumstances.

Now go love her – from the heart.



  • David Mike

    Every year we go to a lake in Northern Iowa with my wife’s side of the family for a week. Although we’re all kind of cramped together it’s usually a pretty enjoyable time. If things get a little interesting sometimes we just take some time for ourselves.

  • Troy Stoneking

    Sounds like fun. :-)

  • David Mike

    My wife and I have only been apart a handful of days in 15 years. Somehow, we seem to never get to that point. We are not perfect, but we work it out.