Is your marriage in a rut?
It’s common for married couples to go through seasons where they feel out of sync with each other. Once you’ve found yourself in this place, it can be too easy to assume that you’re going to stay stuck. Luckily, there’s hope for getting back into a happier, healthier relationship.
Stop Making Future Assumptions
The first important thing to do when you’re stuck in a rut is to stop making assumptions about the future. Just because you feel this way now doesn’t mean you will forever. Whatever patterns of behavior or conflict you’ve found yourselves stuck in can be changed.
It’s also time to stop making faulty predictions about each other. Assuming that your spouse will always act or react a certain way, and vice versa, sets you up for more conflict. Ultimately, you end up repeating those behaviors and disagreements over and over.
Express How You Feel
If you’re feeling discouraged and like your marriage is in a rut, it’s important to kindly express concern to your spouse. Take some time to think about what you’re going to say and how you plan to present it before you approach him or her. Conversations like this can be incredibly emotional, so it’s best to have a plan beforehand.
Let your spouse know how much you love them, and that you would like to feel as close as you once did. It’s important to focus on the things you love about them, rather than zeroing in on negativity. Your spouse may not be fully aware of how unsettled you’re feeling. On the other hand, you might learn that they’ve been feeling the same way.
Make Positive Changes Yourself
Once you’ve let your spouse know how you feel, it’s important to start making positive changes yourself. You can’t control your spouse’s actions and reactions, but you can control your own. Think about ways you can show up in a more positive way. Show love and affection to your spouse, especially if you’ve been withdrawn recently. The shifts you make in your marriage will have a ripple effect going forward.
Stop engaging in behaviors that may have been upsetting to your spouse. If you know your spouse expects you to react to a situation in a certain way, think about how you might respond differently. If the two of you have been prone to arguing frequently, think about how you can de-escalate the situation.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Next, you’ll need to set healthy boundaries for yourself in this situation. If your spouse is behaving in ways that are upsetting to you, it’s important to identify those, then set a boundary. Boundaries aren’t about punishing your spouse, but they are about setting an appropriate consequence if specific things continue to happen in the relationship. A licensed therapist can help you navigate this if needed.
Have More Good Conversations
Sometimes, in order to get out of a rut, we need a little help. One simple way to point your relationship in a better direction is by having more good conversations. If you’re feeling a bit stuck here, we can help. Our book, Love Talk Starters, contains 275 prompts to help get the two of you communicating on a deeper level. You can find it here.
Has your marriage ever been in a rut? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments.