“Am I Just Settling for Less Staying in This Lackluster Marriage?”

After the umpteenth time listening to her complaints about her marriage, Tina’s friends ask her– yet again– why she stays. Tina is beginning to wonder about that herself.

To Tina, it seemed unavoidable that her once-spicy relationship with Larry would become dull. After all, they’ve been together for 14 years now.

Isn’t this what happens in all long-term relationships?

Even though Tina believes that it’s only natural that her marriage will lose its spark, her relationship with Larry is so lackluster, she dreads the evenings and weekends when they are alone together.

She wonders if she should just put up with the dullness and be happy that Larry’s not out with other women having affairs or if it truly is time to leave.

Your marriage or long-term relationship may not be as dissatisfying as Tina’s is to her. At the same time, it may be that you and your partner have busy schedules and responsibilities that don’t seem to allow for passion anymore.

Should people have to settle for less?

First of all, it is not inevitable that a long-term relationship has to become dull or boring. This can be changed.

A big reason why many people in lackluster relationships don’t do anything to change the situation is a fear of change.

You might worry that if you voiced your desire for more excitement, romance and lovemaking to your partner, he or she would possibly get angry, irritated with you or close down and become defensive.

You may fear that this is the best your mate can give you. What then? Is it time to leave the relationship and head out into the single’s world again?

When you know what isn’t satisfying to you, yet you worry about making a significant change, you can easily become stuck– stuck in resentment, complaining and bitterness.

Really make the choice whether to stay in or leave this relationship.

As much as the thought of making a big change might cause you to cringe, we suggest that you remind yourself that you do get to choose.

Each and every day, it is up to you whether to stay in this relationship or leave it.

Of course, we know it’s not usually as simple as we make it sound.

At the same time, it is more simple than you might believe it to be.

When you find yourself unhappy with your relationship, take a step back and pose this question to yourself:

Am I ready to explore leaving this relationship or do I want to stay and begin to improve it?”

Whatever answer you give to this question can help you to become unstuck.

Tina’s answer is that she does want to stay married to Larry. Despite all of her complaints, she loves him deeply.

She decides that it’s time to start adding to her marriage by spicing things up again…rather than taking away from it with her criticisms.

Stir up the lackluster.

Start with yourself. If you want more passion in your relationship, don’t expect your mate to do all of the work!

Too often, one person looks to his or her partner to provide the “Wow” and the sparks for the marriage. This is unfair and limits the amount of passion that can be generated as well.

Look within yourself for what helps you feel more alive and excited about life. This might mean that you take up a hobby or discover a new interest.

Whether it’s an activity or a new way of approaching life, open up to what stirs you up– in a positive way– and create more space in your life for that.

Stoke your own internal fires about life. Encourage your mate to do the same.

As you do this, begin to bring that renewed passion into your interactions with your partner.

Invite your partner in.

Be assured that even spark-generating activities you do by yourself or with other people can positively affect your marriage.

It’s never has to be an “either/or” dilemma.

You can invite your mate to join you in the activity or approach to life. He or she can share in the excitement by even watching the new light in your eyes and cheering you on. You can do the same for him or her.

Even if you don’t see the point in golf, gardening, book clubs, restoring cars or whatever it is, pay attention to how taking part in that activity light’s up your mate.

You two could find some passion-inducing things to do together too. There are plenty of resources that offer ideas.

What is perhaps most important is for you both to stay open to and supportive of one another’s interests. Acknowledge that spark and communicate your appreciation for it and for your partner.

This will help you to bring that feeling of passion into your relationship and keep it burning brightly.

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