There’s nothing like the excitement of a new relationship. I recently went to a friend’s birthday party and watched as she interacted with a gentleman I didn’t know. However, their body language said it all. His eyes followed her around the room. Her smile brightened each time he was near her. She leaned in toward him when she spoke. There was a care and attentiveness to their interaction that bespoke of newfound love. And, it was actually fun to watch.
But aren’t they all like that…new relationships. He’s in tune with her needs. She makes an effort to learn about and enjoy the things he likes to do. He takes time each day to call her just to say hello. She surprises him with a homemade lunch at work. He asks her out on a date, plans something special, and arrives on time. She steps out for the evening with her man, hair and make up on point and dressed to the nines.
Marriage, albeit complicated, is an amazing relationship and it needs our attention on a daily basis if it’s to stay that way.
The journey into romance is sweet and if it leads to marriage, all the better. It’s just that for many couples, after they’ve been together for a while, things start to become routine. The excitement of the relationship wears off and somewhere along the road, either…or both, push the dreaded auto-pilot button. You know the one – wake up, shower, eat, drop off the kids, go to work, leave work, get the kids, eat dinner, bed, repeat. When that happens, life, and your relationship with your spouse, begins the slow descent into an unfulfilling, boring, and dangerous abyss.
- He’s no longer concerned with her needs
- She’s no longer aware of his desires
- Work and career become his first priority
- The needs of their kids become her only focus
- She leaves him to his interests and flies solo with her own
- He no longer asks her out on dates and chills on the couch
No matter the culture, race, or religion, marriages across the board are taking a hit because they have succumbed to being on auto-pilot. If you find your relationship spiraling downward and desire to regain control, here are three suggestions to get things back in the air and avoid the crash and burn.
Daily Face to Face
Marriage, albeit complicated, is an amazing relationship and it needs our attention on a daily basis if it’s to stay that way. We perform our checks and balances to make sure that nothing has gone wrong that could further complicate matters. Just as each partner needs to give daily attention to a new dating relationship so that it can grow and mature, a husband and wife needs to give daily attention to their marriage for it to continue to blossom. Whether you spend five quality minutes or fifty, put in the time that works for you and talk…not about the kids or the chores or the finances. Rather, spend time talking about your dreams, laughing about your faults, and connecting with each others hearts…and wherever else you want.
Giving your marriage the respect it deserves can easily begin with a date. One of the quickest ways to turn off the auto-pilot is to find fun and exciting things to do with each other. Take a salsa class. Learn a new language together. Go on an art infused date. There are so many opportunities to engage in the new and the unusual. Developing new hobbies and spending time doing them together will keep the relationship fresh, just as it did when you were dating.
Establishing a monthly focus in your relationship is paramount if you intend to get your marriage off auto-pilot. Where is your marriage in need of work? What are the areas that need your attention this month? What potential pitfalls should you be aware of? What are your partner’s needs and concerns right now? Getting back in the habit of being in tune with your partner requires the same focus you had when you were dating. So while you take the time to laugh daily and date weekly, don’t forget those monthly heart to heart conversations that focus your attention on the rough spots and help draw you close.
Getting your marriage off auto-pilot and putting your relationship back on track is worth the effort. You will find that putting in the time needed will be just as exciting as developing a new romance. For you and your spouse, it will be a beautiful journey. For the rest of us looking in, it will be fun to watch.
BMWK, are you ready to take your marriage off of auto-pilot?
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