I have heard many times, “I am not in love with my spouse anymore”. The person begins to believe they need to get out, they need a new marriage to be happy. Every marriage has seasons of struggle and change. The key is to change and adjust as your both grow. The marriage has to change as the people change. Every couple needs a new perspective on marriage.
Most marriages start with the hope, the belief that they will be happy. The sad part is happiness is replaced with a rigid closed marriage that is stressed with tasks. When this happens hope begins to fade, they feel stuck. Inside you begin to ask “Do I Need a New Marriage or a New Perspective on Marriage?” I think you need both.
Over the life of every marriage it has to change. Flexibility and change is a mark of health. Your body and emotions need to be flexible in order to grow. Your marriage is the same way, it has to stay flexible and willing to change. The joy of kids arrive or the stress of your job comes in and you become rigid. Your relationship stops growing and changing. Most couples start out their journey together and have some problems and struggles but adjust. They build the foundation for a family and begin to have the profound blessing of children. Sometimes it is just that life gets too hard and stressful and we become rigid. Couples become more dissatisfied with each other but more committed to their children. They invest in their children but not their marriage. The marriage becomes stuck.
The perspective is that every marriage has to grow. Every couple should desire to create an intimate flexible marriage that grows through the changes of life. The perspective is marriage is about growth and change, not about getting what you want. Focus on change and serving your spouse and contentment and peace will come.
Here are some ways that can help you keep the right perspective.
- Pray Together – You grow in intimacy and connection if you spend time together praying. If you spend time in prayer your hard heart will soften and become willing to change.
- Keep Dating – Never stop pursing each other. Show with words and actions that you would still choose them. Put more energy into your marriage than your children. If you put your marriage first your kids will be happier.
- Play before you talk – Don’t just try and talk your problems through. Play and connect first. Talking about and solving problems will be easier if your play first.
- Give seven or more compliments for every one fault-finding suggestion – You are drawn to people who affirm you and are positive. Be that person for your spouse.
- Override Predictability – Make intentional effort to doing something different. New experiences will create a warm connection and memory.
- The “strong silent type” doesn’t work – You have to talk. They will never know if you don’t tell them, and yes it has to be more than once.
- Perfectionism kills connection – If you can’t relax or engage unless the sink is empty or everything is just right, talk to a counselor and fix that. Life will never be done this side of heaven. Learn to relax and enjoy the present in the messiness of life.
Change is a constant organic process. Be willing to invest energy and time to create a intimate connected marriage. Would you add or take anything away from this list?