When you get married, you promise to devote yourself to both your spouse and your marriage. But for some couples, the longer you’ve been married, the easier it is to forget why you said your vows in the first place.
Often, couples start to struggle because they stop focusing on each other and put their efforts everywhere but their marriage. Although they are still technically married, they have mentally “checked out.” Their relationship has, unfortunately, taken a backseat to everything else going on in their lives.
If this sounds like you, know that you’re not alone. It’s incredibly easy to get increasingly pulled away from your spouse by life obligations, and almost all of us do it in some way or another.
But this feeling of drifting away doesn’t have to continue. It doesn’t have to inevitably lead to divorce. As long as you are willing to work to fix the situation, it can just be a bump in the long road of your marriage – a phase that you need to get through.
So, what’s the solution? You need to seal your exits.
I touch upon the concept of sealing your exits in my chapter in Putting Kids First, but I wanted to elaborate on that concept here.
By “seal your exits,” I mean that you need to try to eliminate the behaviors and activities that are pulling your focus away from your marriage. These “exits” are being used as substitutes for what your marriage should be providing you.
Do you discuss your marital issues with your friends, family, neighbors, or anyone who will listen? While talking with people outside of your marriage can be helpful, you really should be communicating with your spouse.
If you truly want to address and resolve your issues, your spouse is the only one you should be talking to. With one exception – you can seek out the help of a professional. But in general, when you talk to other people about your marriage, you’re using them as a substitute and as an exit.
Do you seclude yourself or busy yourself with work, taking care of the kids, running errands, or even the internet? By avoiding your spouse and throwing yourself into other activities, you’re simply perpetuating your problems.
Alone time is important, but there are two people in a marriage. And if you run off every time an issue arises, you’ll never be able to bring about positive change. For a marriage to work, or to save your marriage if it is struggling, you have to spend time together with your spouse and actively work on creating good habits.
You need to connect and re-connect. You need to remember why you chose each other as life-long partners. And you need to face your marriage head-on.
Take a moment to think about your own marriage. What are your exits? What are you trying to avoid?
By recognizing that you have exits to begin with, you can make a conscious effort to seal them when you feel yourself being pulled in that direction. And if you’re not seeking those exits, you can re-focus your time and energy back into your marriage, which ultimately leads to a deeper and stronger bond and relationship.
Rooting for you!