Friday, February 5, 2010

ChangeThings up to Keep the Marriage Fresh

It's an old cliche', I know. Every marriage needs to be spiced up a little to keep it interesting. There is something about cliche's, though, because there is often a lot of truth to them. My husband and I have been married almost twelve years, and we are at the stage in our marriage where it is easy to get into a routine rut. We have school-aged kids who require supervision and chaperoning. They are not able to drive themselves places yet and they are at the stages in their lives where scheduling is tricky. There is a lot of child-maintenance, and there is not a whole lot of time left in a day for marriage maintenance. It takes effort to work at that most important relationship in our house, but I remain committed to prioritizing the marital relationship first.

My husband turns forty this year, and although I am younger than he is, we are most definitely at a mid-life stage in our marriage. We've created habits that are just "the way things have always been." In the hours after the kids have been put to bed and before we retire for the night, we hang out in front of the tv with our laptops. We rarely have time for dates because our jobs keep us busy on the weekends and the kids' schedules take up much of our remaining free time. We know that we need to change things.

So, what are we doing to keep things interesting?

Well this week, we moved furniture...

We spent the last day and a half moving furniture from room to room and inside the rooms too. We moved my husband's office to a bigger space and the kids are now each in their own rooms. In our room, we moved our bed to a different wall, and it is amazing how great it feels to have new spaces to occupy.

We focus on relishing the seasons...
My husband and I have three jobs between the two of us, and all three of the jobs are seasonal jobs. It is important to us that we are not in the mundane routines week-to-week, and when things are seasonal, the seasons regularly change. When my husbands' hockey season is over (he is a college coach) we move easily to that next stage. His second job is as the operations manager for the Renaissance Festival in Colorado, and although his summers are busy, it is a season that we enjoy with the new spaces we occupy there. I coach college soccer in the fall, and the strategies to survive that incredibly busy time makes and keeps things interesting, albeit a little stressful.

Recognizing our life as a choice...
There truly is no such thing as being stuck. As much as we may feel like our lives are at the whim of children or schedules or relationships that suck energy out of us, we ultimately control what and where we spend our time. It is the attitude about the things we feel we have to do that provides some control in seemingly out-of-control situations. I have a choice to sit routinely on the couch at night, or to take up a new activity, and if I am bored with certain routines, it is up to me to make those changes. The same goes for the mundane of a marriage relationship. Every human encounter is a fluid one, and as routine as a marriage may feel, it is always a choice to stay that way. Granted it becomes the choice of both people in a marriage to make any real lasting change, but it has to start somewhere, and if I am feeling stuck, it makes sense that I do something about it to make it fresh again...even if just for a little while.