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Does any of this feel familiar?
Do you feel as if your spouse is lost to you? Have you spent more time watching TV than watching and learning about your spouse? Do your responsibilities at work run into your personal time? Do you or your spouse feel less important to each other?
Our daily lives can bring so much resistance to the prospect of us working on our marriages. Look at how busy every family is these days. It is no wonder how sometimes our relationships can become disconnected. But taking the time to change things is always very important for all of us.
In my marriage, we have the stress my husband’s job, our stressful and busy children, my medical problems, lack of sleep, the house, and lack of energy. To explain the stressful children, our eldest is Autistic with ADHD, and our middle child has been very explosive with his behavior. We moved into our new house in March and things have been very hard for him ever since.
What is easy is not always best
All of us go through a lot of activity and pressure every day, so how do you find time to connect with your spouse? Zoning out in front of a screen is very relaxing and easy. Trying to do anything besides relax after the kids have gone to bed seems like too much to ask of us. Those of us with young children are exhausted and ready for bed before the kids have gone to bed. We are the ones ready for that 8 o’clock bedtime. Or how about even 7 o’clock? That would be a great day!
So now we have a marriage where we no longer feel that true and pure connection. We no longer know very much about the person we share our life with. When you come to that crossroad it can feel unnatural or help you develop insecurity. Knowing where your spouse is in the marriage, and with you, is of the utmost importance.
How can you work on something when you do not quite know what the problem is or if your spouse even wants to work on things with you? Very simply, love yourself and your marriage enough to speak up. Talk to your spouse about everything that is bothering you. If you cannot be open and vulnerable with the one you share your life with, then that is a bigger issue that must be worked on.
What will your change bring?
If you get out a piece of paper and titled it, “Why we may not find the time to work on us” what would be on your list? Do you have money concerns, medical problems, no sitter for the children, are you two no longer getting along? There are many different objects that can stand in our way of a well cared for marriage. But if you want to work on your marriage then start the work one way or another. If your spouse is so unhappy that they are unwilling to work with you then you do what work you can by yourself. There are many books out there with marriage help ideas you can do all on your own. If the book idea does not suit you then maybe a relationship coach? We owe it to ourselves to be happy, content and loved. No one is going to do these things for us, we must first show ourselves how valuable we are.
Showing myself value is something I have been hearing a lot of lately. In messages, both verbal and written, these make me think about the younger me. I used to let others talk down my value. Letting people say anything to me and I might wonder, “am I really unlovable?”. I now know that I am not unlovable and have known that for many years. But when I did wonder if I was loveable, my life showed it. I had many problems with situations in my life and none of it made me happy. Now I live a different life and wish for you to know you deserve more than feeling less than.
How we have decided to help us
This week, with both my husband and I feeling a disconnect we decided to challenge ourselves to give our marriage the most focus we could. Our goal was to change our feeling of disconnect. The feeling of disconnect was brought up by me. But my husband is participating none the less. Happy wife = Happy life.
For the challenge, we decided on two hours at night after the kids have gone to bed. (We both get up at 5 o’clock in the morning so staying up late is not great for us.) We are planning for all seven days of the week to be of use for our challenge. Next Monday is our start date. Starting on the day that starts off the work week just makes it feel more official.
Our marriage challenge plan
On Monday we are challenging ourselves to no TV and conversation. Guidelines on topics for conversations have not been limited because when I limit myself it feels as if the conversation cannot grow organically. Therefore I feel as if there is something fake in the conversation. I found out this issue for myself when we were at a marriage retreat for a weekend. When we were told to tell our spouse three things we thought they did well I did not feel accepting of any of it. I like for my husband to tell me things as he is feeling them, not on the spot. And for me, I felt forced to say something and nothing great was coming to mind. He had been home for a month since his last deployment and we had not found our rhythm yet.
Tuesday we are planning on no TV and painting some bedroom decorations we have in a closet to surprise our kids. We took the option of doing an activity we already have around the house rather than buy something new. Which are many things but we chose to paint. Painting is relaxing and can brew up a small conversation.
Wednesday is movie night. We have a movie we bought just waiting for us to watch it. The rule for that one is, we have to watch it in our bedroom. Nicely stretched out and relaxed together on our bed.
Thursday is game night, we will pick a card or board game from our hall closet and enjoy ourselves. Mostly we enjoy card games because of the connection we seem to receive while playing. Board games can get more rambunctious and silly fun. Both options have great attributes for us.
Friday we have Date Night!!!! Who doesn’t love a great night out with your loved one? What we are going to do is still unclear but it will probably be something we have done many times before. My husband and I were born older than our ages and we enjoy that fact about us.
Saturday just happens to be a day we have Baseball tickets for so that day will be amazing for us. There is just something great and relaxing about being outside watching a game. A good back of fresh roasted peanuts and the one you love next to you. Can life get any better than that?
Sunday we are looking at reading the same book and having a discussion about it. Nothing to fancy is on our list because it is that time of the month when money is getting tighter. If the Baseball tickets were not purchased last month we would not be doing that. So no reason to think that reconnecting takes a lot of money, it just takes time and the desire.
What are your challenge ideas?