By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
From time to time, every married couple gets stuck in a rut. It can happen for many different reasons, but the results are similar: ruts leave us feeling like life has just become “blah.”
Fortunately, this is totally normal–and you two can work together to break out of your rut if you’re willing to put in the effort. Today, we’ve put together 3 ways to revive the excitement in your marriage.
It’s important that you and your spouse work together to shake things up. Even though you might feel like you’re in a rut, your spouse might not; the important thing here is that you don’t make this personal, because it happens to everyone.
This rut isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault; it’s about some routines in your life you’d like to liven up. It’s not necessarily about your spouse, about you, or about your children. Communication is key here, so treat one another with kindness, understanding, and love as you move forward.
1. TAKE STOCK OF YOUR CURRENT ROUTINE.
If you feel like your life is on autopilot, you’ve probably spent a fair amount of time stewing over it already. So, hash things out with your spouse. Whether you need to make a list together or just talk it through, get clear on the areas of your life where you’d like to have more variety.
Here are some common areas that can fall into a slump:
- Date nights
- Shared activities
- Outings with friends
- Daily routines
- Family time
If the two of you mutually agree that certain parts of your life feel like they’re in a rut, prioritize those areas first and start making changes at whatever pace works best for your family. If you can only take baby steps, that’s fine–but start taking them now.
If you disagree, see if you can find a happy medium that will work for both of you. Is there something you can both compromise on? For example, let’s say your spouse has a cooking routine that he or she follows for meal prep every week and you want to shake it up–but your spouse is resistant. Work together to land on a few meal ideas that could fit into the existing routine instead of changing it completely.
Breaking out of a rut takes work, but it’s well worth the effort. Ready to liven things up?
2. BREAK YOUR ROUTINE…ON PURPOSE.
Once you and your spouse have decided on what areas in your life need a little extra spark, it’s time for action. Here are a few ideas for the areas we listed above:
- Date nights – Too comfortable going out to the same places over and over? For an entire month, commit to trying out new destinations for your romantic date nights.
- Meals – Try at least one new meal at home every week. It’ll allow you to hold onto the stability of your existing routine, while throwing something and exciting into the mix.
- Shared activities – Instead of going to the tennis court for your daily exercise, why not try biking together? Make a list of a few new activities you’d like to try, pick one, and go for it.
- Outings with friends – If your outings with other married couples have fallen into too predictable of a routine, suggest something new. For example, if your weekly get-together has always involved playing cards, ask if your friends might be up for a different game instead.
- Sex – It’s not uncommon to let outside responsibilities reduce our sex lives to a predictable pattern. Set aside some extra time alone together and break that routine!
- Daily routines – If you feel like you’re just going through the motions everyday, find ways to make your routine more pleasant when you’re starting your day. Maybe you’ve got it down to a science, but it just feels boring; why not play some new, upbeat music to make it feel more exciting?
- Family time – Not feeling very creative when it’s time to go out with the spouse and kids? Ask the kids for ideas!
Once you’ve begun changing your usual pattern around–even if it’s just in a small way–you’ll start to feel reinvigorated and more excited about life.
3. PLAN TO BE MORE SPONTANEOUS.
We know, we know–it sounds crazy. But if you and your spouse plan to be deliberately spontaneous more often, spontaneity will actually happen! (And, it won’t feel contrived.) Set yourself a reminder on your calendar every week to do something out-of-the-blue that will be fun, romantic, or exciting for you and your spouse.
Most of us crave some measure of spontaneity in our marriages, but when it’s not happening, we don’t know how to address it. Even though it can feel strange to set an intention or make plans to be more spontaneous, it’ll pay dividends–we promise!
Life is busy and things can get mundane; sometimes, the only way to combat that is to decide you’re not going to let it stay the same. Don’t wait for one another to liven things up; talk about it, and then take action.
If you would like help with your marriage, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.