Remember when you first fell in love with someone?
Remember that quickening in your heart and mind, as the pieces of you that aligned clicked magically into place? Suddenly, there was another person in front of you who had interests and desires that seemed to match your own, and you were drawn to one another like magnets. You had intoxicating conversations that revealed similar goals, hobbies, musical tastes, past life experiences–so many things. Wasn’t that exciting?…It’s been awhile, though, and things aren’t as exciting as they once were. Think it might be time for some marriage help?
Here’s part of the problem: life is a constant journey.
We’re not static beings, cemented to one another in order to be dragged along through the cosmos. Our world is a beautiful place, full of endless things to see and experience. We evolve in response to our environment, and it’s natural to zip from one thing to the next as we make new discoveries. We may pick up new hobbies, new friendships, new jobs–all sorts of things. Then, we may put them down again, and move on to something else. This is healthy evolution, and part of our normal human experience. Having a life partner doesn’t change that this happens. Having a partner can actually accelerate this process, because that other person can provide you with new variables to consider. This constant change can be scary to the other person, though.
So as you undergo this exciting evolution, you really only need to remember one thing: remember home base.
Home base is your safe zone, created with your partner. It’s a safe, secure and consistent space, based upon mutual love and respect. It’s built on your shared past, which started the day you met, and continues to this very moment. Home base gives you the stability of your shared relationship, which allows you the freedom to try out new classes, hobbies or interests.
What do you do though, if you feel like you’ve lost home base?
What happens when you feel you are each splitting off, permanently, into different directions? Here are tips to steer you back towards one another, if you realize you need some marriage help.
Set up a time to review your shared history.
Every year, on our wedding anniversary, I pull out our wedding album. As my husband and I review the pictures together, we are immediately drawn right back into those powerful moments when we became husband and wife. We remember the private jokes, the last-minute dramas, the way our minister’s wife made us giggle–all of those tender things that are uniquely ours. You can do the same thing, and it doesn’t have to be your anniversary. Pull out your wedding album with your loved one, and review together the day you committed to each other. If you’re not married, get hold of something tangible that shows your shared history. Photos, past gifts to one another, whatever you have that records your time together. Allow yourselves to feel again the strong emotions that you felt at the beginning of your journey together. Then…
Set up a time to connect each week.
I don’t have to tell you how insanely busy our world has become. My husband and I are each drawn into hundreds of different directions, because of our different jobs and responsibilities. However, each Sunday morning is our time together. We have pledged that Sunday mornings, nothing else will be planned, except for us to be with each other. We may just drink coffee and read together on the porch, or we may hash out something that we had difficulty with over the course of the past week. It doesn’t matter–this is our consistent time to re-connect, and find our own home base again.
This is where we share our new goals, funny happenings or secret worries.
We share the difficulties that may be coming up in the days ahead, and ask the other for advice. Our Sunday mornings have hosted many different kinds of discussions, but each one of them has served to reconnect us in a world gone mad. You too can find this sacred space as a couple. Decide together what time can consistently be yours, and then make a habit to reconnect, and find your own home base again.
Research how you can further develop a shared interest.
Something brought you two together all of those years ago–what was it? A shared hobby, specific genre of music or identical majors in school? Recall whatever your initial connection was, and find something that further develops that shared interest. Perhaps you both love to read. Look online and find a local book signing that you can attend for a date night. Or dedicate a time to go running together, if you’re both sports enthusiasts. You both have at least one shared interest, which has helped connect you in the past. Hang onto that shared interest, and further develop it so that it can draw you forward into the future.
Go the opposite direction, and try to find something NEW that you can do together.
See if your partner wants to go on wine tasting with you. Or together, pretend you are a tourist in your own town, and visit some of the museums or art galleries you’ve never visited. Try a new ethnic restaurant, sign up together for a class at the local community center, or join a local supper club. Find something new, and see if it turns out to be something you both enjoy. There are plenty of things out there –work at exploring some of these things fresh together, so you can have some shared evolution to share and discuss.
Ask your partner for direct feedback if you realize it’s time for marriage help.
Stare the problem right in the face, and ask your partner for help. Say something like, “I feel like we’re drifting apart from one another. What do you think we can do to reconnect?” You may find (s)he has been feeling the same way. You may get a frank and helpful discussion, because you are right–you are veering apart. Or, you may get an apology, because the other person has no idea what you’re talking about. You won’t know until you ask, but by asking, you’re opening up the problem to your best friend, which can only be a good thing.
Being part of a couple can be challenging.
By always remembering home base, you can work together to find those moments that connect with your spouse, which will strengthen not only your commitment as a couple, but also who you are as individuals. I look forward to any feedback below, and remind you to please subscribe so we can stay connected.
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**Chanler Jeffers is a woman who has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent, was a single parent for many years, has survived cancer and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.
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