Breaking Out of Your Relationship Rut
If your life is not going the way you would like it to, it may just be time to reevaluate things. You have to be objective about the situation. Begin by being honest with yourself about your own role in the relationship. After all, you're not the only one with fantasies that aren't being fulfilled. Sweats and T-shirts may be comfortable and functional but they will not put us on the cover of any magazines. We may find ourselves in a rut and may be just as boring to our husbands as they are to us. Consider making a change in your routine. Even if it is a night of dress up, or attendance at a lecture, anything that says, “You are special. I want to be with you” is a good thing for the relationship.
Here are some things you can do to change your relationship routine:
- Make a date for a trip to a “no-tell” motel. If you do not know what this is, I am not going to tell you.
- Get away for a weekend alone and agree not to talk about the children.
- Attend a lecture that is not above either of your heads and that will give you something to talk about.
- Turn off the television for at least an hour at night.
- Take long walks alone together.
- Talk about the early days of your relationship.
- Talk about dreams and goals for the future and do not laugh at or belittle each other's fantasies.
- Spend an evening kissing each other with no sex allowed.
- Ask questions of each other and listen to the answers. Sometimes couples need to become reacquainted.
- Think of five things you like about each other and repeat them to yourselves when you feel restless.
- Write a list of what you love about your husband and give it to him. Reinforce what he does right.
Now you have children, bills, plugged toilets, and too many things to do. If you are not careful, you may have a marriage where no one shows up. At the end of the day you may not even have the enthusiasm to have a good argument.
Take a Reality Check
Some of your efforts at breaking your routine may feel artificial but they will go a long way toward preventing you from becoming hypercritical of your marriage. If the marriage becomes a monster of infinite proportions you will find yourself in an endless cycle of frustration. It may seem as though it would be fun to get back into the single world after you have heard all your husband's jokes for the 100th time, but it is really not worth the backlash of breaking up a family. It can be very lonely outside the safe world of the ordinary. And it is never going to be easy for your children.
Just a Phase?
If you can weather this boredom and familiarity phase with your husband, you just might find yourself coming out on the other side of it with new resolve and a refreshing new relationship. Treat it as a period of renegotiation. When you have been together for a while your needs change. Instead of using these changes to tear down what already exists, and moving on to something and someone else, you can tear down what is obsolete and create something new together. This will usher in a new phase of love that gives security to your children and a solid foundation for you. It requires effort to do this, of course, but in the end it is all a question of attitude. You need a sense of acceptance of each other to find this level of intimacy.
More on: Marriage and Divorce
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motherhood © 1999 by Deborah Levine Herman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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