Do you need some marriage guidance? Have things become stale, unexciting… yawn-inducing?
In today’s blog, we’ll look at common marriage guidance we’re given, the attitudes we bring with us to marriage, and what gets forgotten along the way, and 3 tips for turning it all around. Please keep reading…
What’s Your Marriage Mindset?
Many of us have entered our marriages with preconceived notions of what a marriage actually is. This has been influenced by those who have served as role models in our life, i.e. parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family, friends, neighbors. In addition, we have seen marriages portrayed on television and in films.
You may even hold in secret the ideal of Ward and June Cleaver from that old show “Leave it to Beaver” or a similar type of ideal. Everything was in its place, right? Dad went to work, Mom took care of the home, and food was always on the table, on time. When there was a problem, it was neatly resolved by the end of the show.
Then you turn the camera on your own life, and it’s not a nice and neat sitcom at all: it’s messy, time-strained and filled with a never-ending “to do” list. You may feel like a failure next to that ideal you have in your head and brought into your marriage. Your life seems like one long trail of dirty socks and dishes. You and your husband or wife discuss nothing more exciting than what groceries you need from the store.
You wonder, is this all there is to married life? And if so, why on earth did I sign up?
Marriage Guidance That Will Give You a Boost
Think of some of the common marriage guidance we all know and try to adhere to:
- Be patient
- Use respect
- Keep your vows
- Listen well
This is all very good guidance. Why? Because it makes for a nicer relationship—and in a marriage, it’s a way to keep relations smooth and respectful.
But what rarely gets addressed are those pre-conceived notions you may have about marriage, about that quest for the “ideal” life together: the perfect house, the perfect kids, keeping everything glued together and pleasingly presented. Or, we never saw our parents or those folks on sitcoms continuing to date each other.
The Key Ingredient to Marriage Repair
- The # 1 predictor of divorce
- New ways to connect emotionally
- How to heal after an argument
- How to rebuild respect again
- How to open up without getting hurt
And what is one of the first things that is given up in favor of getting it all done?
Fun. It is one of the single, most important elements of a successful marriage, and yet, so many marriages really don’t look… fun. We mimic what we’ve seen others do: keeping up appearances, letting go the other nice things. But having fun as a couple helps to keep your spirits light, reducing some of the day-in, day-out nature of the drudgery that may be nice, but can also make life boring and stale when all the time you have goes to it.
Fun keeps your personal love balance sheet just that: balanced. Your spouse and you didn’t have to throw out your party clothes just because you got married, so dig them back out and make a new commitment to each other: to actually enjoy time together.
Tip 1: Make the Commitment – in Writing
What is it about writing something down versus just saying you’re going to do something? You’re more likely to follow through if it’s written down. This is why people who coach others in attaining their goals tell them to write it down somewhere, and review it regularly until they reach the goal.
In this case, your goal is to have fun. It may sound simplistic to just write down, “We commit to having fun.” But if it were so easy, why aren’t you doing more of it? The reason is the idea itself is not concrete. Written down helps bring it into the light.
Tip 2: Designate a Date Night
Once you’ve made the commitment to build fun into your married life, you need to follow through and write down your date nights.
These do not have to be elaborate, pricey things to do. The most important thing to spend is time together. And if you think about it, that’s usually what people have a hard time spending: time. There’s “no time for fun,” is a common excuse for why couples cut it out of their lives. “There’s so much to do around the house, and errands to run on the weekend.” Yes, there will be challenges, but make it a priority, and the time will be available.
Tip 3: Take an Interest in Your Spouse’s Interests
Take an interest in what your spouse’s likes and dislikes are. It will take some practice to start learning about each other again, discussing something more than who should pick up milk from the grocery store on their way home from work. When fun is a priority, you will suddenly be watching for things to do, and your spouse will, too. “Did you hear about that new movie coming out?” or, “I’ve been wanting to try salsa dancing,” or, “I really love to go walk in the woods when all the leaves have dropped.”
When you hear these cues from each other, make it happen if possible. You may not be interested in salsa dancing, but the intimacy building that can result from simply trying to please your spouse and his or her interest is immeasurable.
My best to you as you and your spouse commit to fun and set aside some of those pre-conceived notions of what a marriage looks like.
Has fun been the first thing to get axed in your marriage?
Did you come to marriage thinking it was supposed to be like this: dull and boring?
When was the last time you and your spouse did something just for fun?
Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,
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