Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Identify the Dreaded "Marriage Rut" and How to Get Out

This post was a guest post on A Little Too Jolley

In the five years Zach and I have been married we've experienced a lot--completing school (him), new jobs (mostly for him), graduate school (for me), major scheduling differences, and so much more. In almost every year of our marriage I noticed that we started to get a little too comfortable with the same old same old. A night shift schedule followed by a baby have definitely caused the biggest shift.

We sometimes get into the unfortunate rut.

It seems that five years is not that long and a rut shouldn't be something I've had experience with, but in the age of Redbox, Netflix, and take out--it's all too easy to fall into a routine--which can often lend itself to feeling like your spouse is really a roommate. Ruts can be tricky. My husband and I still spend time together just about every night--so in all honestly it looks like a date night, but it stops feeling like a date night. Our lives become very routine.

Routines have a time and a place. They are great for building a friendship with your spouse and they are so nice at the end of a long day or week. It's important, though, to branch out and discover new places, interests, or things about one another throughout your marriage. This allows you to grow together as a couple.

Bringing the Spark Back to a Marriage

How We Can Tell We're in a Rut

When Planning becomes a Hassle
I know it's time to take action when I am too lazy to put effort into planning. We both enjoy our show and our treat on the couch--so rather than do something different and put the energy into making plans, I decide not to. When making plans for something fun or different becomes more work than fun I know we need a change. 

We Don't Ask, "What Are We Going to Do?" 
When our date night comes and we don't even put an effort into anything, it's time for change. We know what we're going to do and we just naturally do it. We don't change or put any effort into our appearances (especially after having a baby), we don't do anything extra or special, we just fall into the routine without even considering that maybe we should be doing something different.

My Attitude
When I start to resent the same old/same old it can cause contention and fast. I start feeling stuck or trapped and I want something different or more. My husband isn't as affected by doing the same things, but eventually it can wear on me and I know I need to make an effort to get us out of a rut.

Ask Yourself
Am I making an extra special effort to give time to my spouse and/or our relationship each and every day? If you're spending time with your spouse, but not putting a lot of effort into it, it may be time to start making some changes.

How We Get Out of a Rut


Communication is like the pinnacle of marriage advice, and with good reason. When you recognize that changes need to be made, it is always a good idea to discuss why you feel that way. It is important to ask for your spouse's advice in making changes for the better, but be sure to come to the table with your own as well. Making it a joint effort to keep things fun and lively will make the next few steps a lot of fun as you partner together.    

Force Creativity
Last year, my husband worked a night shift. Our happy little dinner, clean up, show, treat routine was no longer ours any time we wanted. When he was home and we had date night that's what we did. Always. It was something we enjoyed and we missed it when he wasn't home. Eventually I started to feel like we weren't spending our time together as well as we could. I suggested we change things up and brought up  "Alphabet Dating." We planned dates around the letters of the alphabet each week, alternating turns.

We really enjoyed forcing ourselves to be creative and discover new things to see and do together. We had a blast and it really made the time we spent together a little more memorable. Try alternating turns, alphabet dating, finding dates to do that are cheap or inexpensive--usually when you limit yourself in some way, you wind up with far more ideas than when you ask, "What should we do?" Instead start asking, "What could we do with $5 tonight?" Or "What could we do without leaving this house or turning on the t.v. tonight."

Make the objective of this change to discover more about your spouse. Read other date ideas online and if you find yourself wondering I wonder what he would do if we did ________? Or I wonder which restaurants he would pick for a dinner passport? You know you've got a good start. It's always fun to find entertainment together, but it's even more fun when you start to learn new things about your spouse.

I'd love it if you'd share your experience with this or any fun date ideas in the comments section, I'll come back and check them out!

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