Marriage gets boring and sometimes even impossible, especially when we’re stressed or unhappy. These tips for making your marriage work might help you see your relationship in a whole new way.
In Making Marriage Work: New Rules for an Old Institution, Lynn Toler says marriage is a job, and it needs to be treated like one. However, the makeup and consistency of this job has changed so much over the past few decades that the old rules no longer apply. Making Marriage Work is an updated manual to help get the job of marriage done right in this day and age. This book suggests specific procedures that should be put in place to bridge the gap between head over heels and happily ever after.
Here’s what one reader says: “I am not in love with my husband anymore. He is boring! I want to travel. He does not. I want to meet new people. He does not. He comes home, sits on the couch with the ipad, drinks beer and watches tv until bed time. Until recently (after I got after him) he would do nothing with the kids. He doesn’t want to encourage them to try new things or be involved in activities. My husband is not a bad person. He is very kind and never abusive. He just doesn’t know how to communicate and deal with my overwhelming emotions. There is no passion in our relationship! I have begged him to go to counseling but he won’t. I am afraid that eventually I will leave him. A marriage is work and he just doesn’t get that. Is it me or do men just not think about anything? How do I get my husband to go to counseling? He says he doesn’t want to listen to me complain about him to another person. HELP!”
The “overwhelming emotions” part is interesting, isn’t it? I’m not sure if these are normal female emotions, or if she has emotional health issues that might need attention. Sometimes depression, anxiety, fear, and existential angst – not to mention monthly hormone fluctuations – can make us feel like we’re going crazy. Then we take it out on the people we love.
For the sake of this article, I’ll assume she feels overwhelmed because of the drudgery of marriage. I feel it too! Not many married couples can honestly say it’s fun and exciting and passionate to be married for years. My husband and I have been married for almost eight years, and I love him to bits…but it was definitely more exciting the first few years of marriage.
How to Make Your Marriage Work
Maybe nothing is wrong with their marriage. Maybe she’s just bored with life in general, and is looking to her husband to spice things up. But that’s not his job. I think he’s doing his job, even if he’s not the most exciting guy in the world. I think she needs to find ways to make her LIFE work, outside of her marriage.
Find ways to get excited about your life – outside of your marriage
I don’t blame her husband for not wanting to go to couples therapy, because he thinks he’ll be the target of criticism and complaints. And we know he’s trying to make the marriage work because he is spending time with the kids. Maybe they don’t need counseling…maybe she just needs to find things in life that excite her, that make life worthwhile.
Before I got married, I spent a year in counseling. I was worried about marriage because I thought it’d be dull and boring. Plus, what would we talk about every morning at breakfast? My counselor encouraged me to find ways to make life exciting outside of my marriage, such as by traveling on my own or going back to school or taking up an exciting new hobby.
Maybe it’s not the marriage that needs a tune up in order to work better…maybe it’s your life. If you weren’t married, where would you get your fun and excitement? By dating new guys? Then you’ll get married to husband number two, and you’ll be in the exact same boat (hopefully not a worse one!).
Husbands aren’t supposed to make our lives exciting. They’re our partners, our companions, our best friends. That doesn’t mean they have to go on all our vacations, socialize with all the same friends, take all the same classes, or do all the same things. It’s healthy to have different interests, to develop separate lives.
If you need more specific relationship tips, read 7 Tips for Making Your Marriage Work – Without Working Too Hard.
Stop trying to change your husband
Sure, you might be happier if your husband took more initiative, wanted to travel, and liked to socialize with friends. But he doesn’t. Trying to change him is beating your head against a brick wall – it won’t work, and you’re hurting yourself more than anyone.
This man is who you married, for better or worse. Accept him the way he is, and focus on pursuing a life that makes you feel happy, healthy, and whole.
Your marriage is your foundation. It’s where you get energy, strength, support, and courage. Build a strong foundation at home, and you can jump off into all sorts of exciting adventures in life! Don’t expect your husband or marriage to be the most exciting thing in your life, because you’ll end up disappointed.
How do you know if you should try to make your marriage work, or leave your husband? Read Do I Still Want to be Married? Signs of Restlessness.
What do you think?