Getting married for most people is the easier the to do. Staying married and having a satisfying marriage is by far the more challenge of the two feats.
Why is this?
One would think that after a couple has spent a good amount of time weighing their options and finally settling in on a decision to get married, they would have crossed all their t’s and dotted all the i’s. One would think that after spending quality time in the arms of each other, building a stronger bond day by day, the couple will have arrived at a relationship intersection where almost every day is full of bliss and discovery.
I think we will benefit from a little science lesson about love and relationships and how the chemistry of our brains reigns supreme in the early days.
The Early Days of Courtship and Marriage Are Governed by Your Brain
Hormones and certain brain chemicals often rule the day in the early phases of courtship. So most everything we see and experience is through the prism of brain chemicals, like ocytocin (i.e. the love or cuddle hormone) induced by the natural progression of love’s grip.
Your remember those days, right! I bet love had a really big grip on both you and your lover and husband or wife to be.
Oh….before I forget. Let me call your attention to an article I wrote that points to some of the top ways you can have a successful marriage after the initial excitement wears off!
We often think and conjure up in our minds how amazingly wonderful our partner in marriage will be. These thoughts are what I like to call “the marriage fanciful thoughts“. They cause us to become convinced that we are well on the road to many blissful moments. Some call it the honeymoon period. But in reality, these multitude of feel good feelings are born from our hormones firing and bathing our brain in all the right chemicals.
Yep, that is what we all are…..just walking chemical labs with two arms and legs trying to figure out our way through this world.
Oh, by the way. If you wish to later comment on any of the things we talk about in this post or if you have a question that pertains to your own relationship, then take a minute and respond. You can do so at the end of this post in the comment section. It is my aim to respond back to every question or observation I get from my readers.
Ok…so let’s get back on track because you need to understand why marriage can be so hard at times and what you can do about it to make it easier and more fulfilling.
Remember….we were just talking about the chemical bath we find ourselves in when love comes knocking on your door. At some point the release of these chemicals become less frequent as we begin to settle into the routines of our married lives. There is nothing wrong with this. It represents the cycle of how marriages and relationships work. Our marriages cannot always be like a shooting star streaking across the sky.
But I do have a few secrets I can share with you about how to have a satisfying marriage. Be sure to read my post to come up to speed!
When we come back to earth, we learn to live and love each other in different ways (not just sex and intimacy, though that does and should continue). We learn form attachments based on our many shared experiences. This is the period in which our love for each other matures and so does the marriage. But it takes work. It can be hard to make the marriage successful on a day to day basis. It is not like those early days when the two of were in courtship or even in the early days of the marriage.
The shine and excitement is not quite as it use to be. The loving and romantic words and gestures become fewer and far between. Those kisses and hugs make come with less frequency. Sex may be happen less. Now, if these things are unfolding in your married lives, do not think something is wrong. It is just the pay many marriages take because as things mature, things can get more complex and married life has a way of introducing new challenges and responsibilities.
We are creatures of habit and routines and as the marriage evolves certain new routines can develop and some of them, while not negative in themselves, cause the husband and wife to spend less time together and do things together.
Now, all these relationship experiences and paths vary from couple to couple. But one thing all couples share after Marriage Fanciful Period has ended is the need to come to realize and accept that marriage is a long term experience where the couple is seeking to maximize compatibility. Learning to adapt and be flexible as well as accept that you will need to make some individual sacrifices is an important learning.
Making Your Marriage Easy and Fulfilling
So let’s talk about some behaviors and actions you and your spouse can embrace that will help make the challenges of marriage a bit easier to overcome.
1.Make time for Yourself: No matter what you may have read or been told, while marriage is all about trying to become a more perfection union of two people, you cannot lose sight of the importance of each individual in the marriage having time for themselves. If you are constantly wanting to be part of every action of your spouse or if your husband or wife is constantly trying to be part of everything you are doing, the long term end result is usually not positive. Smothering your spouse or feeling crowded by your significant other does not allow for personal growth. So make time for yourself. And encourage your husband or wife to make time to do things that further their self growth and personal interests. You can grow closer together when you seek to become the best version of yourself.
2. Make Kindness the Order of the Day: The easiest thing for people to do is lose their patience or their temper. It is also easy to be selfish. These are basic human emotions that we frequently default to when we get comfortable with the relationship or become stressed. In a way, it is a good thing that a couple is comfortable with each other and can relax and be who they are. But who we are at any given time is seldom the best version of ourselves. One of the most important elements of a successful marriage is to demonstrate as often as possible “kindness” to each other. Think of kind acts as deposits into your marital trust bank. The more kind acts you can offer and receive, the stronger the relationship. Many studies have been performed in this area and if you are seeking a strong marriage, then talk to each other about the value of exhibiting kindness. Make a commitment…both of you….to taking the effort to embrace kindness as a daily routine in your marriage life.
3. Make Your Sex Life Interesting, Varied, Fun: One of the things that can overcome common marriage difficulties is creating an atmosphere within the marriage such that the two of you can enjoy a varied and creative way of truly making love. Making love and being in love are two sides of the same coin. One leads and supports the other. It is not uncommon for a marriage couple to get set in their routines about a great many of things….and one’s sex life is certainly one of those things. So buy a book and try some things out. Go set up a date and conclude it at a hotel. Feel free to role play. Keep things fresh. Remember, our biggest sex organ is our brain. Work in some surprises.
4. Learning to Fight Fair: A strong marriage is one where both parties understand that fighting with each other is zero sum game. Once the fight starts, you both lose. So why fight a losing battle. I know, I know…somehow while we can all intellectually understand the wisdom of avoiding fighting, it just happens anyway. We are after all beholden to our animal instincts to a large degree. But that does not mean you have to resign yourself to participating in an event that tears at the fabric of your relationship. I have written some posts that address this topic and I encourage you to check them out and learn how to treat each other and talk to each other during and after a fight.
5. Re-invent Your Relationship : So what do I mean by that? Do you need to start over and be completely different? Absolutely not. But married couples can easily become prisoners and victims to their own marital routines. And when that happens, the life of a marriage slowly ebbs away. So take it upon yourself (i.e. you and your spouse) to change up some of your major routines. For example, one thing that can easily creep into your marriage that can turn it inside out is the lack of time you spend together “alone”. We can get caught up in the drumbeat of what we think our marriage is about. The routines we settle into can get comfortable as we seek to ease marital stress and anxiety. But often times, we forget about the value of spending quality time together and to do that well, you have to plan for it. So I challenge you and your husband or wife to be .Marriage Routine Breakers. Yes, you can take back some control of your marriage and repair some of the damage done if you make a commitment to increase the time the two of your spend together alone….which means no one is around….not your friends…your family….your children. Just you and your spouse. Use this time to reconnect and talk and and play and have fun. Sometimes re-inventing your relationship is really about getting back to the way it was in the early days.