Have you ever thought “Is this all there is?” in your marriage? After the honeymoon phase is over, the house is bought and the kids are born … then what?
The daily routine has a way of making life stale sometimes. Mediocrity has a way of stealing passion. And many times, the ship is slowly sinking and we don’t realize it until we start feeling like roommates with our spouse, or like we have fallen out of love entirely.
How do we keep the fire, passion and desire in our marriage for years to come?
Change Your Story
I believe we often settle for less than what is entirely possible in the realm of marriage and love. A lot of this is influenced by the world around us. There is little to no external pressure to stay married anymore. Most people say marriage is hard work, and we should expect the excitement to end. This is the expected norm, so most have no reason to aim their sights higher. And without many great role models, it is easy to agree with this limiting mindset. But that is just what it is – a mindset. And any thought or belief can be redefined or changed according to what you want.
The first step in building a stronger marriage is changing the belief it can’t exist. We must change the story from what we think marriage is limited to in terms of love, passion, desire and the ability to maintain those qualities. Change your story to say, “I won’t settle for a loveless and lifeless marriage. I will create it at all cost.” The right mindset creates the right environment for all that is possible to occur.
Beating Mediocrity Takes Intentionality
They key to creating the marriage of your dreams is intentionality. It is being crystal clear on what you want, what you know is possible and what will be required to get there. Here are a few examples of things you can start doing today to start creating a stronger marriage:
- Know the basics: Knowing your spouse’s idea of love, passion and romance is vital. Understand how to love them in a way they appreciate. Know their love languages, their pet peeves and their needs. Know their fears, dreams and insecurities.
- Be present always: Presence is being fully attentive in communication, fully present in loving gestures and being all-in at all times. There is never a moment where you are not intentionally focused on creating the level of love you desire in the marriage, and nothing ever gets prioritized above that. That doesn’t mean your attention and time doesn’t get utilized in other areas of your life. It means that the time and effort given to those other areas is prioritized under your marriage.
- Have a vision: Have a clear vision and set measurable goals on where you want your marriage to be. Keep track of your progress.
- Avoid unhealthy confrontation: Per the Gottman Institute, there are four common factors in all divorces: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Avoid the use of these in your marriage at all cost.
- Have weekly check-ins: Set aside at least one evening per week where you check in with your spouse. Both parties should be free to express their concerns, frustrations or areas that can improve without being criticized or invalidated for their remarks. Conversation should center around achieving more connection and intimacy. This is the time to measure where both partners feel the marriage is at and determine what you can both do to serve each other better and resolve any conflicts.
There is much more that can be done, but utilizing these few steps, and making it a lifestyle change in your marriage will have a dramatic effect. If you feel like your marriage has plateaued, consider what story have you told yourself about your marriage … and what new story could you have instead. Change your mindset to make your marriage stronger than ever.
You may also be interested in It Only Gets Better: Why Our Marriage Is Built To Last