Marriage is hard. I adore my husband. I really do, but we’ve been in a marriage rut for quite some time now.
February is the love month. It’s characterized by red hearts, flowers, cards, and gifts with big bows draped across the boxes. Not for us. We call Valentine’s Day a Hallmark holiday and try not to give in to the pressure.
A couple of weeks ago on the 14th as I lay in bed sick, my sweet hubby brought me roses and my favorite latte. He gave in to the Hallmark holiday this year even in the midst of our rut. This led me to think of all the little things he does for me, those loving gestures that should more than make up for the difficulties our many years together have brought us.
So, why don’t they? Why do we insist on focusing on the hard parts of marriage, the mundane, the arguments, the annoying quirks of our partners…?
Simple changes to our perspective and autopilot habits can do wonders for bringing our marriages out of the rut they fall into far too often.
Here are 3 areas my husband and I are working on to pull us out of this less than ideal space we’ve found ourselves in: (He doesn’t quite know about #3 yet but I’m thinking it’s the most important for us right now…)
1. Think (and get all the facts) before you speak. Don’t run on autopilot or jump to conclusions.
A sad example of what NOT to do: My husband brought me breakfast in bed last month when I happened to be on a sugar fast. It was pancakes. Instead of praising the sweet act of love, I just couldn’t seem to get past what I saw as a violent sabotage on my health (I know, very dramatic).
I later found out he replaced the white sugar with honey, which I usually allow in small amounts during these fasts. But the damage from my quick tempered words and lack of appreciation had already set in.
Choosing words wisely is an area in which my dear hubby is much better than me, but after 16 years of marriage, I’m improving more every day.
2. Focus on the solution instead of the problem. Worry less about how the issue started and more about how to fix it. We aren’t meant to live out our marriages in bickering and power struggles.
Instructions for Christian Households
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
~Colossians 3:18-19 (NLT)
We both need work in this area. He struggles with bitterness and holding onto animosity, while I love control and can have great difficulty letting him lead at times.
3. Put away all devices after dinner. We are on complete autopilot on this topic. My husband, son, and I sit on the couch every night and play on our phones, iPads, laptops… This is what I would call the deepest root cause of our marriage rut.
Device-free time is a new habit we will start now. (Surprise, my love!) I’ll update you soon with how it goes…
These 3 simple tips can no doubt go a long way in bringing joy and contentment back to a struggling relationship. All marriages go through difficult periods. It’s how we respond to those times that can make all the difference.
Can you relate to any of these issues? Do you struggle with feeling your marriage could be so much more? I would love to chat in the comments. Let us know a favorite tip for how you and your partner stay connected!