“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s a cliche for a reason.
We take for granted the things and people we see every day and we deeply crave what most of us cannot have regularly: a new car, an amazing massage, a fancy vacation.
The problem is that to be in a happy marriage, you need to put the marriage first. People who travel all the time are not great relationship partners. People who communicate exclusively by text are not great relationship partners. You need daily touch points, conversations and regular in-person meetings. Consistency matters a lot.
But what happens when you have too much consistency and too much togetherness? Things can get a bit too familiar, too routine and too stale. Suddenly, your relationship is in a rut, even though you have done nothing “wrong” to cause it.
“Stop spending so much time with your partner. This isn’t novel advice. Everyone understands that when you’re in a relationship you should “have your own life.” But I’m suggesting a more aggressive, or purposeful, separation. If you usually spend every weeknight together, try to have a week where you make plans with friends for at least two or three nights. Volunteer to stay late at work. Help your stepdad build a deck. Tackle tasks you hate and luxuriate in ones you love. Orchestrate distance.”
This does not mean going dark for a few days. This does not mean playing games. This does not mean you pull away from your partner in any way, shape or form.
Actively pushing yourself to behave the way you behaved when you were single–i.e. agreeing to go out to an awful, loud, crowded bar, or saying yes to your outdoorsy-friend’s annual camping trip–is a good way to regain your interest in yourself.
All it means is “just make time to be the person you were when you were single. See a movie alone. Try a restaurant that isn’t really her thing. Or simply go on a walk around your city in a place you wouldn’t usually go. Actively pushing yourself to behave the way you behaved when you were single–i.e. agreeing to go out to an awful, loud, crowded bar, or saying yes to your outdoorsy-friend’s annual camping trip–is a good way to regain your interest in yourself.”
As a self-employed guy who works from home and married to a stay-at-home mom, you might say that my wife and I have too much time together. But, as it stands, we pretty much stay out of each other’s way from 9-5pm. And while we usually spend Friday and Saturday night together, during the week, I’ll have dinner with guy friends and she’ll have book club or PTA, thus making us feel more connected to our single selves and anticipating our weekend outings as a couple.
Check out the original article and, as always, please share your thoughts below. What has and has not worked well for you?