zenhabits : breathe

The Secret Ingredient for a Better Marriage

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Corey Allan of Simple Marriage.

As you progress through a marriage, or any committed relationship, routine is bound to dictate a lot of what happens. As the glitz and glamour of romance subside, daily schedules, obligations, kids, and chores take over.

Routine becomes such a factor in life that I’d be willing to bet you could accurately predict your spouse’s schedule of interaction with you throughout the week. And they could do the same with you.

Life is often lived predictably because when you get right down to it, you’d rather live life in your comfort zone than step out into the uncertainty of true life and relationship design. Change is scary. I get it. But change should not be debilitating. It pains me to say this, but many people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

If you’d like to break out of the routine and change a few things in your relationship, it’s easier than you think. Here’s the secret ingredient: a touch of spice.

Start small. Break a few of the patterns and see what happens. I think you’ll be surprised at the results.

  1. Change up the seating chart at meal times. If your family has sit down meals together, there is probably assigned seating that has evolved over the years. Dad sits here, mom there, and so on. Try sitting in a different seat.
  2. Give up your chair in the living room. This same seating principle applies to TV watching furniture. I have a recliner that is assumed by my family to be mine. Give it up and sit on the couch or some other chair for a while.
  3. Sleep on the other side of the bed. Same principle, perhaps a bit more closely guarded however. Try it. See what happens.
  4. Assume different household responsibilities. You may be the one who takes out the trash, does the dishes, or laundry, puts toys away, or maybe all of the above. Try doing something you typically don’t do during the week. Mow the yard. Make the bed. Whatever. Just do something your spouse would usually take care of.
  5. Ask your spouse out on a date. Actually call them up. Ask them out. Dress for a date. Show up at the front door. Bring flowers. Hold the door for them. Who knows where this idea could lead.
  6. Have a good make out session. Not every physical connection must lead to sex. Spend some time making out with your spouse. Kiss each other slowly. Enjoy each other. For added spark, try this during a movie at the theater, or outside under a tree.
  7. Talk about your unhappiness. I’m a big advocate for honesty. Too often we expect our spouse to read our mind or sense that there’s something wrong. Speak up. Tell them what’s going on with you. A word of caution however. Tell them what you’re feeling and thinking, not what’s wrong with them. Anyone who feels attacked will respond defensively and be less open to seeking solutions.
  8. Initiate sex. Inevitably routine will creep into your sex life. It’s his responsibility to initiate sex. Or hers. It’s brought up the same way. Starts the same. Follows the same routine. Even ends the same. If you are the one who initiates sex the least, initiate more. If you’re the other side of the equation, slow down. More than likely, you both would enjoy better quality sex rather than simply more sex.
  9. Try eyes open sex. Sex is the one time we can be closest to another person physically while staying miles apart mentally and emotionally. If you typically keeps your eyes closed while kissing, during foreplay, and during sex, open them up. Engage your lover throughout the encounter. Look them in the eye. Let them see you. Interested in more on this idea? Go here.

Read more about experiencing more in marriage and life in Corey’s new book A Simple Marriage, available today. Or head to Simple Marriage and read more.

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