They say that there are good marriages, but there are no exciting marriages. Over the years many married couples find themselves sinking into indifference and apathy. They feel paralyzed with hopelessness, joyless relationships, lack of passion and monotonous existence. It is not uncommon for married people to feel that they are sacrificing a hope of ever having a love life and paying a dear price for their financial and emotional stability and for the well-being of their children.
Love with an expiry date
French Philosopher Michel Montaigne claimed that love-stricken people lose their minds, but marriage makes them notice the loss. Sad but true – marriage carries such an overwhelming dose of reality that it can be life-threatening to the illusion of love.
Many married couples claim that their feelings of “love died”. Sometimes feelings do change strongly and suddenly and someone’s love can unexpectedly drop dead, but in many cases, romantic love changes into something else – unfortunately much less exciting, but definitely not worthless.
Only a completely delusional couple will expect their strong romantic excitement, lust, and infatuation to remain unaltered by time and ordeals. After a drunken euphoria always comes a hangover, every honeymoon is followed by years and years of everyday routine, joint bank accounts, chores, screaming kids and dirty diapers.
The crazy head-over-heels agony usually lasts from several months to two years. For many couples that have been dating for a while and living together, a strong romantic infatuation is D.O.A. on their wedding day.
Here is a real dilemma of marriage – how to replace an admiration for idealized prince/princess charming with real love for a real imperfect flesh and blood spouse.
How to C.P.R. affection
Some couples regard their love as an independent creature that can come to life or die of starvation at any time, regardless of the lovers’ actions. That is almost always not true. Nobody has a right to claim that a nurtured love will last forever, but a neglected one is definitely doomed from the very beginning.
Very often people hear a clichéd and nauseous remark: “Marriages are hard work”. As annoying as it is to admit, there is something to it. “Hard”, however, is an overstatement. It would be fair to say that relationships take some work and a certain amount of time should be invested in them.
Here are some simple suggestions that can help take care of one’s significant other and a relationship:
- It is not a good idea to take one’s spouse for granted. When young people go out on dates they make an enormous effort to look their best. How come after they get married the majority of husbands and wives dress up for work and completely neglect their looks at home? It is extremely important to look decent in front of husband/wife and try to avoid a temptation to get into old sweatpants just because it’s comfortable.
- Having quality time alone is crucial for any married couple. Once in two or three weeks get rid of the kids and have a date night. It will be an excellent reminder of the early stage in a relationship – a mind-blowing new love. Avoid talking about kids, chores and financial issues, have a real date night.
- Make the expectations realistic. It is impossible to have butterflies in one’s stomach forever. Make peace with it. Extramarital affairs provide people with some excitement, but the price is usually too dear. The excitement is temporary, while the damage of lies, the devastating blow to the spouse and children is likely to become permanent. Not to mention the butterflies will end up disappearing anyway.
- Little signs of attention are important. Making their favorite meals once in a while, buying birthday and anniversary presents, simply asking:“How was your day?” and then listening are very easy things to do, but they make a huge difference.
Beating a dead horse
Sometimes love and affection can completely self-evaporate for God knows what reason. If that is the case, it is important to admit it and get ready to move on. Millions of people do it every day; there is no reason to panic. Many ex-husbands and wives stay best friends even after a divorce. Here are the signs a marriage might be dead:
- There is an absolute indifference between the spouses and the communication resembles that of two roommates.
- The very thought of having sex is disgusting.
- Imagining a spouse with someone else brings a feeling of relief, not jealousy.
- Constant fighting over every little thing, the persistent feeling of dissatisfaction.
If there is a strong suspicion that once soulmates have turned into cellmates, it is always a good idea to talk to a professional. Friends and family can be too emotionally involved and with all their best intentions can bring serious damage. A marriage counselor, on the other hand, might not help, but won’t hurt. For a frustrated couple, it’s usually very hard to be objective and to completely understand what is going on. In any case, it’s common knowledge that there are three sides to every story “his, hers, and the truth”.