Marriage is a ride. Sometimes you and your partner are traveling up hill. Other times, you are enjoying the fast ride downhill that feels like a roller coaster. And yet, most of the time marriage is like the prairie. Flat, and reasonable….uninteresting and routine. Expected.
For married couples, the loss of spontaneity and the adaptation to a routine can feel mundane, and can make you question the success of your marriage. In the beginning, you would take chances on a weekend getaway, score tickets to a hot concert at the last minute or go out for pancakes at midnight just because you’re hungry. Now, your day to day life is much like the prairie.
If you are wondering what happened to spontaneity after marriage, you aren’t alone.
For many couples, the lack of spontaneity rears its ugly head in the bedroom first. Whereas the two of you used to make love wherever you wanted to, now you notice that you are only having sex in the missionary position – and in the bedroom. You might even begin to only have sex on Saturday mornings. So each and every Saturday morning, you get to know the drill. But should Tuesday night come along and you are feeling amorous, you can count sex out because you have settled into your routine of missionary Saturday sex in the bedroom.
Routines and schedules are not necessarily something to baulk at, or to gauge the success (or failure) of your marriage by. Most experts in every field of study will tell you that routines and habits, as well as schedules and organization is what makes the world we live in become more manageable. We need routines to get to work on time, to feed the family in a timely manner, to make sure that things run smoothly. The adult life is full of routines that lack spontaneity. And while relationships don’t necessarily start out cool and relaxed or ‘expected’ and predictable, they often get that way. This too, makes the relationships more manageable. It may not feel very excited and it can begin to be a problem at some point in the relationship.
The problem of course begins to exist when instead of living your life to its fullest – you are stuck living by the clock or calendar. If its 5pm, you eat whether you are hungry or not. If it’s Saturday morning, you have sex, whether you want to or not. If it’s Wednesday night, you watch your favorite sitcom, take a bath and go to bed by 9pm. Every normal day of the week, you call your spouse at lunch time to see how they are doing – and wind up saying the same thing to one another that you said the day before. And the day before that. On Sunday afternoons you go to your mother in laws house after cutting the grass. Essentially, you could map out the days of your life on a calendar and each week would look fairly similar to any other.
After some time, the routine begins to control you. Instead of making your life and your relationship more manageable, it begins to manage you. And since its comfortable, safe, predictable and expected – and easy compared to the hills and slopes of life, it’s easy to feel satiated or at least complacent with the routine. And then, the spontaneity in your marriage is over.
It is very difficult to reinvent a marriage, to recreate your life and yourself, no matter how badly you want to. But it can be done. The easiest way to reintroduce some spontaneity into your marriage, to spice up your life and your relationship a little bit is to make small changes every day. Instead of complaining about the lack of spontaneity, try to introduce a bit of your own. Take a different route to work. Work out in the morning instead of the evening. Decide not to have dinner at all. Stay up late, or go to bed early. Call your spouse at an unexpected time of day. Make a special dinner. In other words, shake up your own little world a little bit to get used to the reintroduction of spontaneity. At first, doing things out of order will feel all wrong. You will likely feel a little uncomfortable as you break from the constraints of your routine and schedule. But you will also feel liberated.
Once you work on your own mindset, you can begin working on the routine of the marriage. Think about some of the things that you and your spouse used to love to do, and just plan to do them. Work hard not to let excuses or uncomfortable situations interrupt your decision to shake things up a bit. Again, it will feel awkward. When your husband or wife comes home from work on a Friday night, instead of waiting with a pizza and a movie – be dressed and ready to go out on the town together. Don’t take “no” for an answer. On Saturday morning, when its time to have sex say, “Lets try this,” and work on something new and interesting together.
If you take mini steps to reintroducing spontaneity, you will realize that living a more exciting life is not as difficult as you think. You will also realize that your spouse probably welcomes the change, and will likely introduce some new things of his or her own by following your lead. In a year’s time, you will have broken free from some (not all) of the routines and habits of your marriage and being more spontaneous will feel normal again.
As you move into the uncomfortable territory of spicing up your marriage, it is important to remember a very important and famous quote. “The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions” – by Ellen Glasgow. The dimensions of your marriage are flexible and every changing. All it takes to bring back the spontaneity and excitement is the will power to do so.