It's easy for a marriage to fall into a rut, to become routine and distant. We say the same things to each other over and over. We ask: "How was your day?" "What's new?" And our answers are also routine. “My day was fine.” “Not much is new.” We’re in a rut when we avoid all topics except those having to do with the children or our work. We’re in a rut when we talk mostly about the news, the weather and sports. These topics are all fine and some of them are necessary in order for a family to function. The problem is they do not help us get very close to one another. Nor do they give us much new information about each other. We remain stuck in a rut.
How to Get Out of a Rut
Couples whose marriage is in a rut need to change the way they communicate. Getting out of the rut will take effort and determination. Here are some ways to do this.
1. Vary your communication. Make one "different" statement each day. If you’re usually quiet – share something about your work, for example. Take a small risk and tell your husband or wife some of your thoughts and feelings; tell some of the things you want him or her to know about you, but don’t usually share.
2. Tell about your early life. Ask your partner to tell you about his or her childhood— in detail. Tell your partner about your childhood also. What was he/she like as a little boy or girl? Tell the worst thing that happened? Tell the best time in your life? Describe the funniest memory? When were you happiest? Find out all you can about each phase of each other’s life. One easy way to do this is to get out old photo albums and look through these together, describing your childhoods as revealed in the photos. There is no need to do this all at once. In fact, if you spend an hour at a time and keep coming back to it, you may enjoy it more and learn more.
3. Talk about the future. What are your hopes, dreams and ambitions? What do you each want to have or be or do? What are your career goals? What do you each hope to be doing five years from now? Ten years from how? What kind of retirement do you hope to have? How would you like your marriage, family and children to be in the future?
Talk about your marriage. Describe the happiest day of your marriage. Which vacation was the best? What surprised each of you the most about marriage? About being a parent? About each other? What do you like best about each other? Talk about the rut your marriage is in and how to liven things up between you.
During all of these discussions be a good listener and be positive in responding to each other. This will encourage further communication. Notice most of these topics focus on positive experiences. We tend to communicate more about the negative experiences we go through in marriage and we forget to communicate about the many positive things. Communicating in this new way may feel very strange at first. Go slow with it and be patient with each other.
Worship and Pray Together. One of the most effective ways to get out of a rut is to worship and pray together. Sharing your intimacy with God is life-changing.
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 NIV