“We have different lives, like passing ships.”
“It’s like we’re not even married anymore; we’re just roommates.”
I hear these difficult words all too frequently in my work with couples. It is heart-breaking to realize the distance that has grown in your relationship after going through so much together. How do you come back from that? I always recommend taking a step back and going back to dating each other. Remember when you were dating and willing to do almost anything your significant other suggested because you wanted to spend time with them?
In a marriage where things have become routine and monotonous, some quality one-on-one time can do wonders in keeping things exciting and fresh. However, A dinner date night every few weeks is not enough when you naturally have different interests, hobbies, and lives. While it can be good for spouses to have their own interests, it is also important to find something to share between the two of you. If not, you run the risk of living parallel lives. We need to be purposeful about finding points of intersection and connection. If not, you become exactly what you don’t want to become: roommates. Here are some suggestions for finding ways to enjoy your time together.
Find Common Ground
If your spouse has always wanted to skydive, but you have a crippling fear of heights, perhaps taking up skydiving together isn’t going to fit your relationship. Whatever you are going to do together shouldn’t be completely out of the question for one of you. My husband loves football, but I didn’t know a thing about the sport when we started dating. However, I did enjoy fun activities, spending time with friends, and eating good food. Years later, I’m still not an expert on football, but we both get excited for football season because now there is something in it for each of us. We were able to take something that originally separated us and enjoy it together. You are not going to love every hobby your partner is interested in. However, it can become a common ground if you are able to find something you enjoy in it.
Take Some Risks
Being open and willing enough to find common ground is going to take some risk on your part. After all, you will be getting out of your comfort zone, opening yourself to different experiences, and giving something new a chance. That can be intimidating! As I stated before – if this new activity is extremely uncomfortable and out of the question for you, it’s probably not the best choice. If it is a risk you feel comfortable with taking, I encourage you to test the waters and give it a shot. Your partner will hopefully notice your effort and will bring you closer together as a result.
Try Something New Together
If you already have a hobby that you and your spouse do together regularly (or semi-regularly), that’s great and you should keep doing that; however, having new experiences together is also important. An article from the Berkeley Science Review reports that, “psychological research suggests that couples who play together feel closer, experience more positive emotions, and as a result are happier together.” This is especially true when the couple is trying out something new and exciting. These activities often involve cooperation, shared meaning, and excitement in your relationship. The feelings of pleasure from the experience extend to feelings of pleasure for your partner, and as a result, you grow closer to one another.
In marriage, our experiences either bring us together or add distance to move us apart. Once you and your spouse find something to share, two feelings are likely to emerge: excitement from doing something together and love for each other. It is the point of intersection for the dual paths you were forging that brings you back to a singular one. It is what keeps you tied to each other, brings you back into each other’s’ internal worlds, and helps you both grow as people – together.
Give Amy Wine Counseling Center a call at 832-421-8714 if you have questions about our therapeutic services or would like to schedule an appointment.