6 Relationship Savers When You’re Stuck in a Rut
Is your relationship stuck in a rut?
No one likes to admit it, but the truth is that it happens.
In fact, it’s quite common. In some ways, it’s completely normal and actually healthy for couples as long as it’s addressed in a positive way.
Getting stuck in a rut can be a symptom of these issues
- It might indicate something as simple as one or both partners fell into complacency.
- It may be a sign that someone is feeling stressed and overwhelmed, perhaps from work or kids or another life issue, and that is causing them to withdraw.
- It might even be an indication of a deeper personal issue that requires support.
If you suspect your relationship is stuck in a rut, ask yourself the following:
Are there big fights over small things?
Happy couples roll with the punches and adapt easily, in a healthy and collaborative way.
When fights emerge over small things, it’s a sign there are bigger issues.
Is the grass greener?
If you think that everyone else is happier and every relationship is smoother, then there’s a problem. Also, remember that those thoughts are a fallacy, as no relationship is perfect.
Are there uncomfortable silences?
Relationships are built on communication. So when there’s a dearth of collaboration, problem solving, (healthy) venting, and laughs, something’s amiss.
Try these surefire rut-breaking strategies
The good news is that you can always break out of a rut.
The even better news is that in doing so, you often strengthen your relationship over the long-term. Try these six strategies to reignite the spark of your relationship.
1. Pay attention
Can you name new things you’ve learned about your partner in the last year?
That’s an indicator of a healthy relationship as per expert Harville Hendrix, and this all starts with paying closer attention to what they say (or don’t say) and do.
As you do this, it’s also worth asking yourself why you stopped paying attention.
It may be simple or it may go deeper, but the answer will be important to improving your relationship.
2. Plan time for spontaneity
Planning for spontaneity is not a self-defeating suggestion.
It’s giving you the space and permission to be spontaneous. It can be going to your favorite B&B for the weekend with no set plans, or picking a random restaurant to try on a babysitter night.
The idea is to shake out of routine and expectations, and by doing so, you create new experiences that can lead to a sense of adventure and fun.
3. Get a couple’s hobby
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Then pick it up as a couple and take turns regularly over who gets to select the new thing to try.
Discovering a new hobby together creates a great way to experience a new journey as a couple.
This can be anything, from sports to a set of classes. Maybe you’ll like it and maybe you won’t, but the important thing is attempting a new activity together.
4. Reconnect with your tribe
A common trap experienced by many couples is feeling like the relationship has dissolved our identities and the ensuing resentment that brings.
Counteracting this is simple: find time to get together with friends and refill the well on relationships outside of your partner.
Whether you do this alone or as a couple, it’s a healthy practice – humans are social creatures and strong relationships improve our sense of self.
5. Prioritize self-care
Relationships are a two-way street, which means that both parties are giving and receiving at the same time.
But receiving attention, care, and engagement from another person isn’t necessarily the same as self-care.
- What do you need to recharge?
- Do you give yourself permission to indulge in that?
- More importantly, does your partner?
A healthy relationship allows both people to recognize the need to recharge as an individual, and even encourages it.
A chain is only as good as its individual links, and self-care means strengthening both the individual and the unit.
6. Make a sex date
If you’re stuck in a rut, chances are all forms of intimacy have been off the board, from emotional connection to sex.
By rebuilding the foundations above, couples will feel closer and more attracted to each other, now what to do about that?
Modern lives are jam-packed, especially if jobs require travel or if there are children involved.
The solution is to plan a date specifically around sex.
This doesn’t have to take the fun out of it; in fact, it could lead to all sorts of fun teasing and planning to build anticipation.
Just remember, if you’re getting in the mood by sending risque photos to each other, provide a fair warning before your spouse opens it in a meeting!
Prepare for ruts to return
Nearly every relationship will experience ruts, no matter the reason.
But by talking about the reasons why and working together to break out of them, you and your partner will reinvigorate your relationship for a stronger bond down the line.
Ruts are natural and they’ll happen, and as long as communication remains open and best interests are at the forefront, they’ll never become a permanent problem.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.