By Matt Eschler
Should marriage be work? Work means different things for each of us. I happen to love my work, so when I hear that my marriage requires some work, I don’t think it’s such a bad thing. However, if my wife describes being married to me as “work,” it could sting a little bit. As your relationship fitness coach. I am telling you that marriage requires attention, nurturing, and even work to remain juicy, passionate, and healthy.
Let’s begin by remembering the beginning of your relationship. Remember the passion, the drive to be in vicinity of each other? Remember when you ignored everyone except your lover? Those “love focused” days do not have to disappear. Although you do have to manage other responsibilities, you don’t need to give up your focus on a passion-filled relationship with your spouse. There are two clear issues that give pause to the joy and the passion couples feel toward each other. First, they begin to time starve their relationship. Second, they stop being curious about each other. I am going to give you two challenges. Accepting these challenges will completely alter the slide into roommate zone for the person with whom you want to feel hot, juicy passion.
First challenge: Use your phone time “intentionally.” In other words. the phone is not your higher power. You do not need to answer the calling of your telephone. When I was 14 years old, my old dad said, “Son, you don’t need to answer the phone every time it rings. People will call back.” I didn’t immediately believe him. I thought that I would lose friends and felt my life would suffer. This advice from my dad regarding using and answering telephones more intentionally came when telephones were connected to walls by a phone cord. Today, because we all carry telephones in the palm of our hands. my dad’s advice is even more potent. Let’s not interrupt personal face-to-face relationships with calls, texts, or social media. Being intentional in your phone and screen times will free up time to nurture your relationship. Lets give this challenge a chance.
The second challenge is similar to the first: Be curious about each other. After being married for a bunch of years and having children, many couples have busy, hectic lives. They work, chase kids, get worn down. There is little time or energy left for their marriage. They start to assume they know each other so well that they don’t need to check in. Be curious about each other by asking and answering open-ended questions. Here are some you might consider:
- What is the best and worst memory of your childhood?
- What are your three biggest needs, and how can I fulfill them?
- Of your friends and family, who do you think has the best relationship and why?
- What is the best part about being together?
- What kinds of things do I do that annoy you?
- Does anything keep you awake at night?
- Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing but haven’t done yet?
- Why do you love me, and when did you feel most loved by me?
- What would you consider unforgivable and why?
- How can we make our sex life better?
Putting these two challenges into action will help improve the intimacy level with your partner that sometimes gets lost in the hectic lives you lead.