I mentioned earlier in a post that relationships have cycles…almost as predictable as the seasons. In the beginning, everything seemed easier. You “fell” in love with your spouse. You were eager to see them and spend time with them. You wanted their touch and their kiss. You even liked most of their idiosyncrasies. It was easy because you didn’t have to do anything. Falling in love is a completely spontaneous experience. It happens to you without any effort.
After a few years, the thrill starts to fade. Slowly, but surely your spouse starts to annoy you. Touching and kissing are not always welcome. Sex can even become a burden…something you know you should do and feel guilty about not doing but often you would rather not participate. Those idiosyncrasies are no longer cute. In fact, they drive you nuts. It is the natural cycle of every relationship.
The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship but if you think about it, you will notice dramatic differences in the way you felt at the “falling in love” stage and the way you feel in later years. Some couples describe this phase by saying they are “bored with their partner” and some will be angry. Their reality is simply not living up to their expectations.
This is the point where you or your spouse might start wondering if you married the right person. Either of you may begin longing for the thrill of a new romance again. This is a critical point where many marriages begin to break down. When one or both of you begins to blame the other for the unhappiness you feel and then starts to look outside the marriage for fulfillment.
Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes. Infidelity is the most obvious and most talked about. But sometimes people turn to work, church, a hobby, a friendship, excessive TV or abusive substances – anything that might fill the void of loneliness and unhappiness.
But the solution to this problem lies within your marriage not anywhere or with anyone else. Can you fall in love with someone else? Yes, you can…and temporarily, you will feel better. But you will be in the same situation a few years later. That’s because succeeding in marriage is not about finding the right person to love. It is about learning to love the person you found.
While “falling in love” is passive and spontaneous, sustaining love requires action. It will not just happen to you, you have to make it happen every single day. It takes time, effort, energy and whole lot of wisdom. You have to have skills to make a marriage work. Skills most of us were never taught or had modeled for us.
A long-lasting, loving marriage doesn’t have to be elusive or mysterious. There are specific things you can learn and practice that will give you the rewards of a satisfying, fulfilling relationship.
How do I know this? The same way I know that diet and exercise makes you healthier. Certain skills and habits will strengthen your relationship…it is a fact.
If you are wondering what happened to your marriage, don’t wait another minute. Things will not get better unless you change something. Call us at The Marriage Place and let us show you exactly how you can sustain your marriage for the rest of your lifeLearn More