By Linda G. Ritchie, Ph.D.
If your marriage relationship feels like a roommate relationship, then the relationship probably has a low priority relative to other activities that demand your time and attention.
One of the most frequent statements that marriage therapists hear is: We are more like roommates than husband and wife. For many couples, their relationship has stagnated and there is no longer a sense of connection. The feelings that once existed of tenderness and passion have been replaced with boredom and resentment. How does this happen? What goes wrong and why is it such a common problem?
There are a number of factors that contribute to this all too common scenario but ranking high on the list is that life got busy. As a result, time available to maintain the intimate connection that makes a married couple different from roommates decreased. Kids came along, there were PTA meetings to attend, soccer practices and games to attend, work demands increased, there were e-mails to answer, yard work, clothes to wash, meals to prepare, and dishes to do. By the time that all the things that needed to be done got accomplished, both partners were too exhausted to think about each other.
If your marriage relationship feels like a roommate relationship, then the relationship probably has a low priority relative to other activities that demand your time and attention. In order to regain that intimate connection, it is essential that you carve out some time on a regular basis to spend with each other. This is alone time that is spent only with your partner. That means no TV, no kids, no cell phones or computers, no distractions of any kind.
One of the most frequent recommendations that marriage counselors make to couples is to institute a weekly “date night”. After all, how did you come to be married in the first place? You dated! You talked to each other and listened to what the other had to say. You asked questions about what was happening in the other’s life. You did activities together that were enjoyable for both of you. You had fun. For many married couples, this practice stops after they get married. The day- to-day demands of life get more attention than the relationship does.
The importance of spending time alone with each other cannot be overemphasized.As little as 10 minutes a day devoted to simply connecting and talking with your partner with no distractions can make a difference in a relationship.Throw in a regular “date night” and feel the difference.