My wife and I have been married for eleven years, and we would both like to know how can we enhance our marriage? We have no more problems than most, but things are somewhat monotonous and well, as you might call it: zombie-like. Do you have any ideas on how to make things better? Are we destined to eventually be just old roommates living with each other? Rob
Dear Rob ~almost~ Zombie,
I believe it is a very insightful question. First of all, our long marriages (long friendships as well) will become somewhat predictable. We should have realistic expectations that all days will not be like our beginning days of our falling in love. That being said, we must be cautious not to use that reality as an excuse for lack of creativity and work. There are things we did naturally, and with no effort in our beginning days that have been forgotten due to complacency. For example, she may get looking mighty snappy as she departs for work, but rarely gets extra snappy looking for her husband (and obviously, vice versa). In our dating days, we used to want to give a good impression to our date, but then we get used to each other, and don't think about it so much. Additionally, a feature in our early days is to notice and comment on cool stuff our partner does. For an example: even though both parents are more than ready for their kids to go to bed, he will consistently go in and tuck the kids into bed. Or perhaps they say some good night prayers with them. Usually this becomes routine, and there is never a comment about it. However, an honest observation shared might be, “you know, no matter how tired you are, you always lovingly tuck the kids in”. Or he might comment: “when I was a kid, we never said night prayers with my parents. I have learned from your great example that it’s an important way to end the day with the kids”.
So here's the general philosophy: how would I see things, and how would I react if this were my second date with this great woman? So I'll drive home from work and start pretending I am heading over to this cute, curly-haired girl's house for my date with her. How do I look? I hope I smell okay. She's invited me for supper, and has told me I can just park next to her in the garage. Cool. When I go in the back door, I can smell she's been cooking something up for me. Again: cool. After all, she's been working today, same as me, but she hurried home to make something for me. Yow! She's happy to see me, and I greet her with a kiss. This is almost too good to be true. If this really was our second date, how amazing would this be? How would I show my appreciation? Help her clean the kitchen afterwards? Sit around that evening and talk and talk and talk?
We begin our relationship with amazement and appreciation. Later, as we become used to our life, we seem to not give plenty of things a second thought. People fear divorces, but few consider a lifeless marriage. Most fall in love because the other person makes them happy they are there. Although it would not seem reasonable to expect every day is filled with appreciation of each other, we should work throughout our lives together to help the other person to be grateful they are with us.
So Rob, you can fight the Curse Of The Aging Married Zombies with loving work and mutual ongoing consideration for each other. We all eventually die some day, and I hope it’s in each other’s arms, in love.