November 17, 2013 by Kaleb Scharmahorn
“I said I love you on our wedding day. If anything changes, I’ll let you know.” 🙂 Then for the better part of 20-25 years, we give all of ourselves to our children, often at the expense of the relationship that existed before they came along – our marriage. Is it any wonder that many couples aren’t sure if they still like each other once the kids move out? They don’t really know that person anymore, and the kids aren’t there to serve as a helpful distraction. Some say there is no greater stress on a marriage than when you become empty nesters.
Wouldn’t it be great to learn from the successes/failures of others, so that our marriages can thrive when it’s just the two of us again?
In one of our most recent meetings we discussed the 5 tips to staying out of the marriage rut…aka…staying connected to your wife after the kids leave, etc, etc. There are many reasons why our relationships may begin to fray over the years, but there are few tips out there that can help us keep this from happening or rekindle the relationship where it may have already started. Take a look at this quick video from a FOX news interview – the ladies are pretty cheesy but the points are good, Im just glad this isn’t my local news;) …
Here are the 5 things we decided to do, starting now:
1) Reclaim Date Night – It is so important that we spend time with our spouse so that we can stay connected and growing together through the changes of life.When careers and kids come onto the scene spending that much needed time can get very tricky, but the key is to be intentional about it. How would a Holy Smokes guy handle this? A Holy Smokes guy would be the one to initiate the date night when it isn’t happening. Or, be the one to protect it if it is. By showing the importance on date night you are also showing importance to your spouse.
2) Set Boundaries with Kids and Careers – Its important that in any relationship there are boundaries. Specifically when it comes to your career(s) and kid(s). Our career can easily become a relationship bomb for us because we spend so much time at it. On one hand, our careers allow us the flexibility and financial freedoms to spend time with our spouses and kids. But, they also can become time and attention suckers and work against us and our relationships if we aren’t careful. Our kids are another area that we must address. In our meeting we used the analogy of a the marriage being a “team”. We often place our kids on that team as well, but in reality, even though we love them very much, they aren’t intended to be on the ‘marriage team’. Its you and your wife. What’s a Holy Smokes guy do with this? He sets proper boundaries when it comes to his kids and career, and never lets either compete with his marriage. Different seasons need different areas of attention, but we can never forget our “team-mate.”
3) Allow Spouse some Space – Everyone needs their space. Everyone needs their own interests and hobbies. These are the things that keep us individuals and make us unique. What happens when a couple forgets to allow each other space? They become “already discovered” and the relationship suffers. The adventure part of our relationships is constantly rediscovering our spouse and learning about them as they grow older and change. What does a Holy Smokes guy do with this? Well, a Holy Smokes guy makes it a point to block out some self time in his schedule to hunt, fish, drink a beer, smoke cigar with a buddy, play golf, etc and encourages for his wife to do the same (you know what I mean, she doesn’t have to smoke a cigar and drink a beer…but that would be cool!)
4) Spice Up Your Love Life – Okay guys…if you can’t handle the other 4 tips, I am sure you can handle this one. But, as the video says, it’s not just about sex. Make sure you wife knows you still find her attractive by the words you say and how you act with her. What’s a Holy Smokes guy do with this? Well…if you don’t know I am not gonna tell you;)
5) Fight Fair – We have had an independent discussion on this in the past (click here), but this is a great point to revisit in these 5 tips. Every couple has their disagreements and battles and having them doesn’t make you a bad match. Couples just have to learn how to communicate better and how to fight fair so that the resolution comes in a healthy way. What does a Holy Smokes guy do with this? Well, A Holy Smokes guy doesn’t shy away from fighting with his wife, but in every fight, he is always aware of why and how he says things. A holy smokes guy doesn’t fight to win, he fights for resolution. We made this comment in our last discussion about fighting fair and it has stuck with me, “Healthy relationships fight for resolution, unhealthy relationships fight for victory.”
So, if you are one of the guys that hasn’t told your wife you love her since your wedding day, then it is probably time to let her know. These 5 tips should help you let her know that she matters. Whether your marriage has been in a rut, or you are just trying to make sure it doesn’t get there, this is a good place to start.