What makes your heart sing? What did you used to enjoy, prior to marriage, that you just don’t seem to have the time to do now that you’re married?
Perhaps you have kids who are in multiple activities. You spend so much time traveling from sports to music to dance and back to sports that you now call yourself your child’s “personal assistant”.
Some of you don’t have children, but you must work multiple jobs. Your schedules never jive. Your complaint is that you rarely see each other, let alone get to do something that makes your heart happy.
Do you even know what brings joy to your heart other than your mate and/or your children?
Do you ever stop and think, “this is not only my child’s life, it is my life too. Are there parts of you that you have ignored now that you’re married? Do you ever feel like you’re getting lost in the midst of all the demands?
STOP AND EVALUATE!!!
Don’t wait a second longer!
What have you let slide that makes you feel alive?
Is it exercise, time with same-sex friends, time to journal, time to read, time to rest? Is there a sport you used to love? Are you into crafts or painting or music or dance? What makes you happy?
After you have defined what you think would make you feel more alive, go to your spouse. Share your discovery and ask them what they would like in their life that might make them feel less like a machine and perhaps more human.
Please don’t call this a selfish conversation.
We, as marriage and family therapists stand behind Dr. Carl Jung’s words…
“Nothing has a stronger influence on your children than the un-lived life of their parents.”
Partners who bring an adventuresome, creative, alive self to their marriage usually have a happy partner. They also influence their children to attack life with gusto and curiosity.
The next question that you need to bring to each other is, “How can I help you put that activity into your weekly schedule? Then you need to be ready to share how your spouse could help you so that you could include your chosen activity in amongst your weekly obligations.
A Marriage on Auto Pilot is a A Boring Marriage!
When we bring a boring, depressed self to our marriage, our spouse often feels like they are being given scraps. This can go on for a long time without our awareness. Sadly a couple can coast, paying little attention to what’s important to them. After a while though, the results begin to take their toll. It’s easy to become more and more resigned, distant and detached.
When one person is unhappy, their attitude negatively influences their partner. It probably won’t be long until both partners are taking out their frustrations on each other. When you’re married and exhausted, there is always someone in the near vicinity to blame. What we must do is face the truth.
We haven’t made our own needs important in this relationship!
When that has been true over time, we too often find ourselves living in the world of “if only”. Beware! It’s a slippery slope. Our thinking starts out as, “If only my mate would start doing this…”, “If only they would stop doing this…” This thinking often deteriorates into the fantasy of, “If only I was married to someone else, I’d be happy.”
You will never find happiness unless you take personal responsibility for your own needs.
We know couples that set aside 2, two hour blocks, on a weekend where each partner takes their turn babysitting so their mate can have some time to do whatever makes them feel alive.
We know intentional mates who have changed their work schedule so that their mate could get an early exercise routine in two mornings a week.
Perhaps you and your partner could only make this happen twice a month rather than every week. Regardless, it pays dividends. It’s worth the conversation, the planning and the extra effort.
You are taking personal responsibility to do something that makes you feel vibrant and alive. Then you bring that attitude to your relationship and to your parenting.
When you are married, with or without children, taking time for yourself is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity.
It touches each of our hearts when we realize that our mate is just as invested in helping us find our joy as we are in encouraging them to find theirs. We cannot ignore the truth that…
“We were people before we became partners.
We were people before we became parents.
We will be more effective in both roles if we discover what recharges us.”
As a result, we will bring a joyful, grateful and more passionate self to our marriage and to our family. We will also encourage our mate to find his/her joy, gratitude, and passion.
Deep down, isn’t that what each of us wants?
It won’t happen without a strategy.
(Check out Marriage Moments this week on our website. We want to help you develop a strategy.)
Until our next Conscious Lover’s Blog…