Ha! See what we did there?
Fall, or Autumn, is a beautiful time of year for most of what’s 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 explosion of colors as soon as it consistently dips below fifty degrees.
Fall is a great time for those of us who love anything pumpkin, cooler weather, and apple orchards. It is also a great time to reflect upon the time we’ve spent for the past several months, as the year begins to wind down.
Comfortable vs Complacent
For some, you may have been married a few years, maybe you’ve been married 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 are getting more and more comfortable with each other. You are getting more and more comfortable with the idea and implementation of actually being married. It’s pretty cool.
The challenge here is to not allow yourselves to become complacent. When that happens, and when left neglected, it is easy to simply become glorified roommates as time goes on.
How to Overcome Complacency in Marriage
We don’t claim to have all the answers here, and we recognize that every marriage is different, but we do have some suggestions that seem to work.
1. Remember the Magic
It’s safe to say you both had butterflies at some point in your relationship. Reminisce with each other. Talk about your first few dates. Talk about the moment you knew you fell in love with each other. Life may have turned out a little different than what you both dreamed up at the start of your relationship, but that doesn’t mean those butterflies are gone.
It may seem easier said than done, but making this part of your “reconnecting routine” will begin to feel natural, not forced.
Honestly? What has worked for my wife and myself is to bring up our favorite memories with each other 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 while being in the same room as each other 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… In fact, we recently published another article with some great, affordable, out-of-the-box date ideas to help you get started (shameless plug).
What are some things that help you and your spouse easily connect?
Do you find yourself only being able to connect with the logistics of planning out your daily or weekly schedule?
On date nights, do you find most of your time spent talking about the projects you’re in the middle of at work, what projects you have open around the house, or what groceries you need for the next week?
Like we said before, it’s easy to slip into motions of everyday life after you’re married, not knowing how or when it happened. It just… happens.
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 greatly impact 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, 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 questions to help spark conversation. Use your and your spouse’s language along with the standard methods of communication you’re used to if it helps make you more comfortable — but have these conversations. You don’t know what you don’t know, so talk about it. Bring it to the light.
How Do We Start?
To summarize, start small, yes, but start somewhere.
If you noticed, all three suggestions work very well together. It doesn’t have to necessarily be in order.
Our action item for you is:
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).
See? That’s not so bad now, is it?