Fall in love… Ha! See what I did there?
Fall, or Autumn, is a beautiful time of year for most of the area significantly north of the equator. It happens to be my favorite time of year as well! I may be a little biased, but Michigan has some of the most beautiful explosions of color as soon as it consistently dips below fifty degrees.
Fall is a great time for those of us who love anything pumpkin-flavored, cooler weather, and apple orchards. It’s also a great time to reflect on the past several months since the calendar year is winding down.
Being Comfortable vs. Complacent
You may have been married a few years, a few months, or maybe you’re in the middle of preparing for your marriage.
Regardless, any married person will be the first to tell you how easy it is to start to sway to the rhythm of the day-to-day symphony of wedlock. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, either! Routine and rhythm just means you’re getting more and more comfortable with each other. You are getting more and more comfortable with the idea and practice of actually being married. It’s pretty cool!
The challenge is to not allow yourselves to become complacent. Complacency happens when comfort turns into a desire to stay the same at all costs. It worsens when couples begin ignoring opportunities for growth in their marriage. It can even be rooted in pride, a mindset that your marriage is fail-proof, and there’s no need for improvement. Couples who choose not to grow may end up unhappy in their marriages, or they may simply become glorified roommates as time goes on.
How to Overcome Complacency in Marriage
If you want avoid complacency, here are some suggestions for growing closer to your partner.
1. Remember the Magic
It’s probably safe to say you both had butterflies at even the thought of your partner at some point in your relationship. Reminisce with each other. Talk about your first few dates. Talk about the moments when you knew you were falling in love. Life may have turned out differently than your daydreams at the start of your relationship, but that doesn’t mean excitement and anticipation are totally gone.
It may seem easier said than done, but making this part of your “reconnecting routine” will begin to feel natural over time. You’ll even add new memories as you go through life together, accumulating more stories that remind you why you’re together.
Honestly? What has worked for my wife and me is sharing our favorite memories over a rousing game of Uno. In the middle of getting bombarded with 30 “Draw Two” cards, the fond memories are a nice buffer.
Which is a GREAT segue into…
2. Do Things Together
Please excuse the broad brush here, but really think about it — how many things have you done with each other lately? No, scrolling through your phone in the same room doesn’t count.
When is the last time you really connected with each other?
We’re not saying you need to go to a five-star restaurant or spend a weekend at a fancy hotel. Those things are great when you can do them, but there are a multitude of ways to connect with your partner that don’t require a lot of money or planning. In fact, we recently published another article with some great, affordable, out-of-the-box date ideas to help you get started.
It’s also important to be intentional about the time you spend together. If you your date night conversation only centers around home and work projects and what’s on the grocery list, you may need to set aside time to have those conversations other times.
It’s okay to end up at the grocery store at the end of a successful date night, I’d just encourage you to spend a good portion of the night talking about more than just running out of toilet paper.
Find that spark again. Have fun together. Turn on some smooth jazz and wash the dishes together in a dimly lit kitchen. Do things together.
3. Talk About It
Simply bring it up in conversation. Some of the most damaging things that happen in a marriage are the things left unsaid. I may sound like a broken record here, but slipping into the monotony of everyday married life is easy — and most of the time you don’t realize it has happened. Identify that elephant in the room and embrace the conversation together.
Is it scary to be vulnerable? Of course!
We’re taught from a very young age to bottle things up, and some of us are pros at it (talking to myself here… I’m a textbook recovering bottler).
This might be the simplest yet most difficult suggestion on this list.
It can also be the most profound, if you let it.
Ask your spouse these questions:
Are you happy? What does that mean to you?
Are we on the same page on X, Y, and Z?
Is there anything weighing heavily on your mind?
Are you bored? If so, why? How can I help you to feel alive in our marriage again?
Those are just some suggestions for sparking conversation. Use your own words if it makes you more comfortable — but have these conversations. You don’t know what you don’t know, so talk about it. Bring the answers to these questions out into the light.
How Do We Start?
To summarize, start small, but start somewhere.
If you noticed, all three suggestions work very well together, and they don’t have to be done in order.
Here are some action items to get you started:
Schedule a date night (do things together).
On that date night, ask those questions, especially if you don’t want to (talk about it).
And finally, reminisce about your life together so far — the times where you were your happiest (remember the magic).
Once these things become part of your rhythm as a couple, you’ll truly find yourself falling in love all over again.