Reconnect with your Spouse

We all know the typical stereotypes of married couples we joke about to our other married friends.  The reason it makes us all laugh is because many (okay all) of these stereotypes are pretty much true!

We all want to end up marrying someone we can be best friends with, but what happens when the anniversaries keep coming and going, reminding us that maybe we need and want more than just a best friend.  It is so easy to get lost in the every day shuffle of kids, work, life, etc., and we end up ignoring our relationship with our spouses.  Everything is running somewhat smoothly, so we are focused on the next milestone our children will reach, how to stay focused at work, what to make for dinner and trying to maintain a shred of youth by fitting in the gym.

Married boredomWhat happened to romance, mystery and excitement?   Why does that have to be put on the back-burner or come to an end?  We become so wrapped up in the day-to-day life we created as a family, that we forget who we were as a couple.  Here are some tips to shed the layers that the years of marriage have added, and discover who we are as a couple today.

  • Respect one another:
    • This is so crucial to remember because it is very easy to forget, especially as the years go by.
    • We are stressed over our busy lives and it is easy to get frustrated and take it out on our spouse.
    • When you feel respected, it’s easy to want to be respectful.
    • We need to pay attention to how we speak to one another and the tone we choose to use.
    • We assume our spouse will always be there, so consequences of fighting dirty often do not exist.
  • Date nights are key:
    • This is such an obvious bullet point but a very important one.
    • Couples need time to themselves, so leave the kids home and enjoy a night out.
    • Conversations tend to center around the children, all we need to do around the house, work, etc. so date night is an opportunity to talk about something different, such as your interests and your dreams.
    • It’s always fun to meet friends out for dinner but there is nothing like spending alone time with your spouse after a week of mayhem and (controlled) chaos.
    • Can’t find or afford a sitter? Utilize family or drop the kids off for a sleepover at a friend’s house, and return the favor the weekend after.
  • Communication:
    • Lack of communication leads to resentment, frustration and lack of respect.
    • Utilize a quiet time after the kids are asleep and have a simple, non-threatening conversation about how you each feel.
    • You may be pleasantly surprised by your spouse’s reaction.
    • Be willing to recognize faults in your own behavior lately and be sympathetic to your spouse’s feelings.
    • Remember you are two different people and just because one may be a great communicator, does not mean the other is as well.
  • Realize that life has changed since marriage.
    • First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.
    • Life is all about evolving, changing and experiencing new things.  How boring would it be to stay the same person forever?
    • Change is always hard to swallow, but at times, can be better than before.
    • We not only change as couples throughout our marriage, but as individuals as well.
    • Just because you are in a committed relationship, doesn’t mean you cannot explore and discover new things as an individual.
    • Share each other’s excitement for reaching personal goals and succeeding at work, instead of being resentful and jealous.
  • Don’t take your spouse for granted.
    • Everyone wants to feel appreciated and be recognized for the person they are and the things they do.
    • We get so comfortable in our relationship that we tend to forget that marriage is a fragile thing.
    • Marriage is a relationship and a bond that needs to be cherished, valued, respected and nurtured.
  • No marriage is perfect and that is okay.
    • Marriage is not easy and takes a lot of work.
    • To expect a perfect marriage will lead to disappointment.
    • Accept each other’s faults.
    • Don’t pretend to be the perfect couple.
  • Don’t compare your marriage to anyone else’s.
    • You never know what occurs behind closed doors.
    • Do not judge anyone else’s marriage.
    • Instead of trying to emulate your friend’s marriage, utilize your friendship to get advice.
    • It is always helpful to be able to talk to a friend and unload your stress.
    • Perhaps your friend has been through rough times in her marriage and can offer you advice from experience.
  • You are married to your roommate:
    • It is very easy to start thinking of your spouse as a roommate, especially the longer you have been married.
    • We often get too comfortable with our spouse, eliminating the element of mystery and excitement.
    • It never hurts to surprise your spouse and get creative.
    • After the kids go to bed, cook a romantic dinner together and open a bottle of wine.
    • Perhaps you can share less with your spouse, i.e. pointing out the random coarse hair you discovered on your chin, how heavy your period is this month and how badly you have to go #2.  (If you are horrified reading this, yes, I share all of this with my husband, but he over shares as well.  It makes us laugh and feel close…perhaps too close!)
  • Figure out why there has been a disconnect:
    • Do not put off approaching your husband to share your thoughts and concerns.
    • Chances are your husband/partner is feeling the exact same way.
    • Communication is so important in a marriage and is a great step to working on flaws.
    • Figure out together how you can make some changes to get back on track.
  • Be prepared to make compromises:
    • Remember marriage is a two-way street.
    • It is not just about what you think he needs to alter, but what you can also change to help create a better marriage.
    • If you will not consider making some changes, how can you expect your spouse to?
  • Consider marriage counseling:
    • Seeing a professional is nothing to be embarrassed about and not in any way a sign of failure.  In fact, quite the opposite.
    • The idea of attending marriage counseling sessions can only make you stronger as a couple.
    • Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to make you see the light.
  • Your kids are watching:
    • Even if you think your kids are too young to comprehend, they are not.
    • You and your spouse are your child’s role-models and their foundation for what they believe a healthy relationship should be.
    • Teach and show your child how important it is to respect one another.
    • Never use your children as tools in an argument.

No one ever said marriage was easy because it is not!  It takes work, respect, patience and love.  Remember to enjoy each other, laugh together and respect one another.  Take a step back to cherish the family you have built together and realize how blessed you both are.

happy marriage

To my husband of almost 13 years…thank you for this beautiful life we have built together and my amazing three little boys.  The journey continues…

2 thoughts on “Reconnect with your Spouse”

  1. This is huge! I honestly don’t know why this discussion is no longer at the forefront. Maybe its because we erroneously think that the battle of the sexes is over?

    From a Social Science perspective, one of the things that bothers many mothers is the fact that while we men have taken up some of the slack of sharing the the nurturing and household chores, the honest truth is we still have a ways to go. Working women still end up working “double-overtime” AFTER getting home from work.

    On the other hand, a sizable proportion of men who are open to change, complain that their wives really only want their hubbies to SHOW interest. At a deeper level, they actually feel we are invading their territory, and will subtly sabotage real efforts to equally share responsibility and decision-making where care-giving and chores are concerned.

    Can the resulting stalemate be the real reason why this isn’t debated so hotly any more? I think its time we re-start the dialogue. Until we do, all the REALLY cool suggestions in this post remain only mute points.

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