I knew we were in trouble when we started avoiding eye contact. The mundanities of life had completely consumed us.
I was not only frustrated but downright scared when we would go days without saying anything of value. Yes, we would speak to say things like “Are you picking the kids up from school today?”, “Is it your turn to grocery shop?”, “Are we out of cat food again?”
That’s not sexy. That’s not joyful. There was no laughter. Where had we gone?
I often referer to this time in marriage as “middle marriage.” You get it. In early marriage, you are still young, hot, sexy and fun. At the end of marriage (if you make it to old age with the same partner) you have years of shared experiences. You can look back at your wonderful kids, your amazing career and your adorable grandkids. You are retired and can putter in the garden, relax and read a book or visit a friend.
Oh! But that time spent in the middle can be tough. That time spent raising the kids, attending every school event, oftentimes feeling broke as a joke, being tired all the time, and caught in the proverbial hamster wheel can really suck the joy right out of a marriage.
I understand that this should not be the case. Speaking for my own marriage, I knew we planned and wanted our children. They were not a burden, yet the care and expense did take a toll on our energy and financial resources.
I knew we loved our own aging parents but the added responsibility of helping them navigate old age and the illnesses they acquired took a toll on the time we could spend with each other.
But now as a couple who has successfully plowed through the ugly years of middle marriage, we have learned many tips, tidbits, and nuggets that can bring joy and laughter back into a marriage.
For today I will openly and gladly share three. If you would like more, please take me up on the FREE coaching call that is on my website (www.StaceyGreeneCoaching.com)
- If you have any journals from the beginning of your relationship dig them out. If not, sit in a quiet place and write down three or four characteristics that made you fall for your spouse when you first fell in love. If he or she has ANY of those traits still lingering, begin by working with those. Let him verbally know you still admire that quality about him. Let her know you still enjoy that specific attribute about her.
- Dig out the old photo album of when you were first dating. Copy or remove each one that brings you joy. Create a new album that only includes the silly photos of your young love. Now, remembering that love is a choice show this to your mate and make a vow to put new photos in this album of love.
- Make eye contact. Make eye contact. Make eye contact. Did I mention that eye contact is important? Again remembering that love is a choice, look straight into the eyes of your beloved. I like to gently take my husband’s face in my hands and softly direct his eyes right to mine. When we do that we see more than brown, blue or green eyes. We see more than the wrinkles, scars and other blemishes. We see the soul. We are revealed. So much can be spoken without words.
I choose to say a quick prayer of gratitude each morning as I roll out of bed. I choose to brush my teeth and prepare healthy meals for the day. I choose to listen to music, videos, and audiobooks that enlighten or inspire me. I choose to keep in touch with my wonderful adult children while allowing them freedom to live their own lives. After all of that, do you know what the best part of my choice making day is? It is making the choice to love, adore, and cherish the man I married on a lovely, sunny day in 1986. When I made that choice, he started loving me back again!
May your marriage be blessed with trials, tribulations, and events that will stretch you. May your marriage come out on top and be a blessing to not only the two of you, but to those around you as well.