Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of the Marriage Series.
I hear your life stories rooted with desire and fear.
You married someone that you thought w0uld be great to start a family with. Now the kids are getting older and you are looking for something more. Is it too late to have passion with your spouse?
Or you had a fiery romance with your spouse and after you moved in together, it started to simmer down. When you don’t feel the passion you once felt, you worry if your marriage is in trouble.
I too used to worry about my marriage when the high of falling in love simmers down. But now I view marriage with more smiles. To have a best friend that you still get to have sex with after all your years together doesn’t sound like a failure to me.
“The mad passion, the ecstasy, the longing, the obsessive thinking, the heightened energy: all dissolve. But if you are fortunate, this magic transforms itself into new feelings of security, comfort, calm, and union with your partner.” ~ Helen Fisher, Why We Love
I am not sure marriage is a magical transformation of calm and union, but I do think we can either get in the way of embracing the change or we can grow to love the change. A marriage relationship can still grow as it evolves from passion to life companion. Let’s explore what cultivates as well as erodes this marital friendship.
Eroding the Marital Friendship
While many variables can contribute to the erosion of the marriage friendship, I think expectations play a big role. We each carry expectations about what makes a good marriage. And these images feed what we expect our spouse to do to meet our needs. Expecting someone else to make us happy starts the unintentional erosion process.
If you expect to feel like you did when you fell in love, you will be let down. Love hasn’t always been apart of the decision to marry but now the majority of people say not being in love contributes to their wanting a divorce.
I love the romantic loving feeling too. But when we focus too much on our feelings, we get anxious and worried about them. One way we deal with anxiety is to blame our spouse for our feelings.
The more we focus on our spouse as the problem, the more negative we think and the more unromantic we act. In turn, our spouse reacts to our negativity with more negativity, proving to us that they are the problem. So we try harder to change them to feel better, and the vicious circle continues.
Now imagine both partners have unmet expectations and negative thoughts about their spouse. Put both together and the marital friendship starts to erode away as the soil dries up. Both partners are helping create these negative interaction patterns from the inside out.
Although it may be hard to see your part in generating negative patterns that get in the way of positive feelings or cooperative interactions, it is present. No matter what season your marriage is in, you can always work on your part, how you interact, and what you think about your spouse.
This is the work of marriage. Not shaping up your mate, but exploring new depths within your mind’s soil.
What kind of soil are you nurturing in your mind about your marriage?
Stay tuned for Part 3 of Marriage Series where I explore how to cultivate your marriage friendship by nurturing your mind’s soil. Subscribe to stay in the loop.
Photo Credit: “Come Together” by Hartwig HKD