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Marriage 911 05/03/16

Finding Your Soulmate in Your Marriage

Senior couple drinking coffee

It is so very tempting to look across the street to see if the grass is greener. We may do it with a job, concerning the city you reside in, and perhaps even with your mate. Have you ever imagined that being married to so and so would have to be better than the mate you're with? If so, you're in good company as many do this.

But, the grass is not greener. As a wise person once said, "the answer to your problems is not out there." While we may wish and even believe that if we lived somewhere else or were married to someone else we would have no problems, that of course is not true.

I have even better news for you. Not only is the answer to your marital dreams not 'out there,' the answer is right where you are. Yes, you have the power to make your marriage be the love life of your dreams.

OK, some of you are really wondering about what I'm promising.

"You don't know my mate," you say. "You don't know what he/she can be like on a bad day. You don't see them in the shadows of life when others aren't watching."

Fair enough. I don't know what they are like behind the scenes. What I do know, however, is that most marriages can be revived with one person choosing to make matters better. While there are exceptions, one person can usually make a dramatic difference.

So I'm inviting you to find the soulmate in your mate, right there within your marriage. Will you join me in this journey?

Most couples, at one point or another, notice a gradual decline in the excitement of their marriage. While the drift may not be dramatic, and you may not have seen it coming, at some point you wake up and realize your marriage isn't as exciting as it once was. Your mate does not bring the same spark as he/she did years ago. Many couples begin drifting, becoming caught up in the various distractions of life: getting kids to soccer practice, cooking meals, care of the home and even church life. Slowly, inexorably, drift happens.

One day, however, you do notice the change. You look across the table at your mate, and don't feel anything. You're not attracted to your spouse. You're not excited to be with him/her. You wonder where the feelings have gone. But, if you're like most other couples, you do nothing.

"We have nothing in common," Tam said to me recently, referring to her relationship to her husband, Douglas. "I don't know what's happened, but we don't have much to say to each other anymore."

"I doubt it happened all at once," I said to her. "Tell me about the drift that has taken place."

"I don't know," she said pensively. "I can't put my finger on when it happened. It just seems like it has gotten worse. I'm not sure what to do about it."

"Why don't you do what you did at the start of your relationship?" I asked.

"What do you mean?" she said, appearing confused.

"Well, at the beginning of your relationship, you went on a hunt to discover what made your mate tick. You asked question after question about his life."

"But, that was then and this is now," she said. "So much distance has grown between us. I don't know how to bridge the gap anymore."

"But I think you do," I said. "It takes the same kind of dedication you had when you first met Douglas. Are you willing to apply that same kind of dedication again?"

"I guess," Tam said slowly. "But, I really am not sure what you mean. Can you tell me a bit more about what Douglas and I can do to regain the spark?"

"Let me share a few tips on what you and Douglas can do," I said. "Let me reassure you that you two can find your way back to each other with a little effort."

"OK," she said. "What are some things we can do?"

With that, I shared some key strategies to finding the soulmate in your mate—something you can do as well.

1. Decide to learn more about your mate.

Learning about anything takes an initial decision and intentionality. When we make a solid decision on anything, we set aside time, determine what we want to accomplish, set specific goals, and follow through. Talk to your mate about a decision to become best friends again and rediscover who they really are.

2. Make new decisions based on what you discover.

Take what you learn and decide to learn even more. Appreciate the unique qualities of your mate. Admire their special interests and decide to grow together regarding those interests. Make decisions that will grow your relationship, such as taking a class together, travel to new places you both might enjoy, or read a book together. Even if you don't feel interested at the start, you can cultivate an interest in your mate based upon what you discover.

3. Find commonalities you didn't know existed.

As you learn about each other and make new decisions together, you will discover commonalities you didn't know existed. Share these common beliefs and activities together and enjoy each other in these ways. Join with your mate in doing those activities together you didn't know existed.

4. Experiment with new experiences.

The foremost creator of boredom is an absence of sensual experiences. It is very difficult to be bored when our senses are awake and alive. Recently my wife, Christie and I went on a weekend away. We left work behind, slept in, went to the movies, out to dinner, and even wandered around a bookstore. Our buckets were filled with experiences, excitement of our senses, and simply being available to each other.

5. Give one another feedback on your experiences.

Learning to date again is really a matter of trial and error. In the early days of dating, you gave each other consistent feedback on your experiences. You based future decisions on earlier ones. If something was exciting, you did it again. If it was less than exciting, you changed directions. The same applies today. You and your mate are fully capable of awakening your excitement for each other, but it will take trial and error, seeking experiences you both find pleasurable.

Like onions with many layers, each of us is filled with different dreams, ideas, and feelings waiting to be discovered. Are you willing to go on a quest to discover your mate again? If you will invest time and energy in this endeavor, you will enjoy a wonderful journey back to a loving relationship.

We all have the power to strengthen our connection to our mate, to discover the soulmate in our marriage. One small step built upon another and soon we have reignited the sparks in our marriage. If you have further thoughts on this topic, we would love to hear from you.

Share your opinion below or send me a confidential email. Read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on my website, www.marriagerecoverycenter.com, where I offer more ideas on how to save a marriage in trouble.

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