I often hear couples after years of marriage, lament that they no longer seem to have much in common. In their early days together, they had shared appreciation for movies, music, and restaurants. They had mutual friends and enjoyed events and activities together. These shared interests gave a feeling of being in sync with each other and a sense of commonality in their life together.
Years have passed, and they've had a family, a home, and careers, including all the activities and complications that go with those parts of life. They've struggled to find time for each other in their busy schedules, but it has been quite some time since they have had a night out or planned for a weekend alone. They have grown and changed and acquired different tastes and interests and have forgotten or left behind some of the passions of their younger years. They haven't nurtured their relationship for a long time and have distanced from each other in a variety of ways.
So now, with children growing up, they are trying to reconnect and restore their relationship. They feel their lack of common interests presents a huge hurdle and fear their life together will never be satisfying. They are stymied as to how to pick up the pieces left from the neglect of their relationship, or to recreate a sense of togetherness and simply enjoy each other as they move forward.
Perhaps this sounds like your relationship. Responsibility, maturity and experience changes all of us in some ways, often in ways we don't expect. Those common interests you enjoyed together in the past may have been replaced by intriguing changes and interesting differences between the two of you. It may be that letting go of your preconceived ideas of each other, and learning about your partner's inner evolvement over the years will open the door to a new view of one another. So, perhaps It is time for you and your sweetheart to get reacquainted.
are some things to do to begin:
- Pay attention to your spouse, noticing them as you would someone new in your life.
- Make time to talk. Get to know who they are today, how they have grown and changed within themself over the years.
- Share with each other the things you feel strongly about at this time of your life and things you look forward to in the future.
- Acknowledge the contributions to your lives you both make daily and have made overall in your years together.
- Listen with interest, not with judgment, or for agreement.
- Make a point to treat each other with respect and kindness. Offer affirmations and appreciation.
- And, lighten up! Make an effort to not take your self too seriously if you run into difficulties in these conversations.
There is a lot to be said for having history together. Being fully known and appreciated, for past as well as present, can provide a solid bond that could be the foundation of rebuilding your relationship. However, these steps are just a beginning and may not lead to further restoration for every couple. You may find you requires more serious help with this adventure. You may need tools to help you improve your communication or help in healing some painful moments of the past years. You may need to learn to forgive. If so, please call me at my Charlotte Office - 704-770-7743 - for information about Marriage andCouples Counseling. I would love to help you find your way to recreating a nurturing and fulfilling future together.
M. Leslie Owens,MSW, LCSW