Too often, marriage becomes comfortable, like an old pair of bedroom slippers. Cozy. Warm. Always there. And about as exciting as a bowl of oatmeal.
We’re all for loyalty and contentment, but emotional and physical intimacy suffers when married life becomes too routine. When marriage is on autopilot, you are just going through the motions. The real you isn’t there — so you stop connecting with who your spouse really is. And you end up as two comfortable people rubbing along side by side, at best a little lonely and a little grumpy, at worst cold and distant.
It’s time to break out of the old routine. In the first mission, we asked you to shift your attitude about your marriage to a healthier, more unified place.
But the Reunion stage isn’t merely about getting back to where you were prior to having children; rather, it is a perfect opportunity to reinvent your marriage for the better. After all, you’ve got the time, the place, and the energy. You’re probably also more aware of your marriage now than you’ve been in years — a clarity brought to you by exiting children and a lessening of the responsibilities that kept you running 24/7 during the Cooperation stage.
Your first step? Don’t ever assume you know all there is to know about your spouse. He or she always has the capacity to surprise you, as Margaret Martin has learned. “We believe we’re never too old or married too long to learn something new about each other,” she says. “Once, years into our marriage, my husband, Rich, found out that I know the Greek alphabet. He was really surprised. It’s a small thing, but it illustrates my point. I also believe you’re never at the point where you can say, ‘This is as good as it gets.’ It can always be better!”
Here’s how to bust out of the old routine and reclaim a marriage that’s full of surprises, freshness, and the potential for always getting better.