Jan has been feeling worried lately. The past 6 months have been fabulous in terms of her career. She has been taking more risks at work and experiencing success. Her boss has given her a promotion and raise and she’s loving this new position.
The outlook for her rise within the company she works for is very positive. The outlook for Jan’s marriage to her husband Paul is not so hopeful.
Jan and Paul have always been a very busy couple. When their children were younger, they were often running them to and from lessons and ball games. Now that their children are driving themselves around, Jan and Paul have each shifted focus.
Now, they’ve each been developing their individual interests. Paul has become more active in a community organization and he’s enjoying the work he’s doing. Jan has been putting her all into her career.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t left much time or energy for their relationship. Jan always assumed that it was normal for a couple to grow apart and be focused on individual interests, but she didn’t think it would feel so lonely.
On the rare evening when they are home alone together, Jan sometimes looks over at Paul and feels so distant and estranged from him. She does not want to lose Paul, but she isn’t sure if they have anything left to bond over except for their children.
Scenarios like Jan and Paul’s are common. It almost seems like no surprise anymore to hear about a couple who simply grow apart over the years and find that they have no passion, connection or much of anything left to keep them together.
For some, this means the end of their relationship. For others, the couple continue their relationship, but they don’t do much to bridge the gap. Essentially, they become like business partners or friends who live together.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
Question expectations that don’t serve you (or your relationship)…
The very first thing we recommend is for you to question your expectations. If you believe that it is inevitable for the passion to fade and for a couple to grow apart, stop yourself.
We’re not asking you to deny the distance you might feel in your own relationship at this moment; we ARE recommending that you challenge your beliefs that this is normal and unavoidable.
It can be transformative to open up space for a different experience.
It’s somewhat like unlocking a door that previously was bolted shut. When you stop telling yourself that this loneliness is what your future has to be (if you are to stay in the relationship), you unlock the door and start to create valuable space for a new reality to form.
Watch the expectations you have of your spouse as well. If, for example, you consistently tell yourself that your partner is “boring” or “won’t ever change,” challenge those beliefs too.
Free your mind and you will be better able to see that your partner actually isn’t as “boring” or “opposed to change” as you think. You can also start to see that there is a possibility for passionate moments in your relationship.
Challenge yourself to make connection a priority…
In the vast majority of cases, when a couple grows apart, it’s because they take their relationship for granted. In the busy-ness of life, each person has allowed their relationship connection to fall off the priority list.
It can be tough to balance a family, career, personal interests and your relationship. Something has got to give– this is the mindset a lot of people take.
Again, it all comes down to expectations. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, you might be sure that you’ve got to let something go and maybe your relationship is that thing.
Stop thinking in terms of “not enough.” Challenge your beliefs that there’s not enough time for you to have the career, relationship with your kids, home, hobbies AND kind of marriage or love relationship you want.
Instead, start to make mindful decisions. Be very conscious of what is most important to you. When you let go of the things that you do because you’ve always done them and you start to say “Yes” only to the things that are truly a priority for you, the stress can diminish.
If you affirm to yourself that connecting (or re-connecting) with your mate is one of your priorities, then make sure your choices reflect that. Even if you commit to being fully present with your partner and fully enjoying being together for 10 minutes every day, this is a valuable start.
Every time you make a decision that prioritizing your relationship, you start to open that unlocked door just a little bit more.
This is the way you two can begin to grow closer again. And, it is choices like these that will renew your passion.