Dear Jack, the thing about marriage is that it’s easy to just “settle in”. It’s easy for a marriage to become something quotidian – a routine exercise of life, something we do mindlessly. You both wake up, perform ablutions, go to work, return from work, watch TV, night ablutions, sleep. Quotidian. Your lives become routinized, with the salutary how was your day thrown in every once in a while. Add to that the irritations of the day carried home to be discussed and you understand how a marriage can grow tepid.
The tepidity can create room for a marriage-threatening extracurricular excitement entrepreneur and opportunist. It’s why it’s necessary to spice up a marriage, to do things different from normal. It’s why you travel as a couple, to places you’ve not been to; or revisit places meaningful to your relationship. It’s why you browse the wedding albums, to trigger memories and nostalgia. It’s why you decide to go away for the weekend, and spend time with another couple. A double date. It’s why you check into a hotel over the weekend, for a change of scene. Just the two of you. It’s why you bundle the children off to your mum or sister or aunty, so you can spend time with yourselves. It’s why you go to movies alone, without the children; and go for dinner together, alone. It’s why you seize every anniversary opportunity to rekindle your romance, make valentine special.
It’s very easy to get into the we’ve-seen-this, done-that routine in marriage. It’s easy to “grow up” in marriage, which essentially is the sucking out of the juices of excitement in a marriage. It’s why you try to go back to when you were boyfriend, girlfriend… remember how you were, how she was. You remember how you wanted her, how beautiful she looked, how much you looked forward to seeing her. You remember those shoes she wore, those legs she had, her hairstyle… Memories. You remember your first date, the first kiss, the feelings you had when she said yes. You remember the exhilaration of knowing she can be yours, that you have a woman! You remember the spot you proposed to her, the first gift you bought her, the late phone calls and texts. You remember how passionate you were about each other, the dewy freshness of her love for you. You remember those strolls, those excuses to touch each other, the unspoken languages of the heart. You remember visiting her house for the first time, the first meal she cooked, the first attempted meal you cooked. You remember the first time you went out together, declaring to the whole world your love for each other. You remember these moments to rekindle romance in your marriage. It’s deliberate effort, not going to come by itself.
The routines of life smother romance in a marriage, seeking to suffocate it. It’s how couples get tired of each other. Many times couples are not really tired of each other, they’re just tired of routines but they mistake the two. It’s what makes you very vulnerable as a man. Someone’s offer of excitement may show off your neediness. If you’re older and the girl is irreverent the anomaly can create excitement and you become reckless. Yet after you marry the new channel of excitement, it soon becomes routine too and you’ll need a new source. That’s sometimes what accounts for serial marriages. Some serial husbands are people in search of newer excitement. You’ve got to rescue your marriage from the doldrums. Of course it’s going to take both of you but you should set the ball rolling. Go and toast your wife! Sometimes it’s just good for couples to be young, dress young, not be their age. It’s mold breaking. Jeans help!
The responsibilities of life can trivialize romance. You want to preserve friendship in your marriage. You need to become girlfriend-boyfriend all over again. What were the things you used to do? Plan a trip where you can be away from everybody and just be yourselves. The cost is worth it. Responsibilities will never end. Especially where you have children. If you’re not careful, you’ll get lost in the civil service responsibility of being a parent, forgetting your marriage. Children take up time and space in a marriage. They demand attention. And you can pay so much attention to parenting you forget your spouse. That’s dangerous to a marriage. Even if you can’t travel you can just send her a love note in the office. Or flowers. Little things count big in marriage. In living don’t forget to live! Love is a gift. Love is the emotional dedication of someone’s heart to you. Don’t forget that peck in the morning. And that peck in the evening. And that peck in between. Don’t forget to put your arms around her, telling her how much she means to you.
Pride has no place in marriage. Neither does inhibition. Marriage is nakedness. Marriage demands nakedness. It’s mutual vulnerability. Marriage is a bond of the heart, the warehousing of knowledge shared, of secrets undeclared. That knowledge of confidential information is what makes us defensive of our spouse. We’re initiates. It’s the sense of shared secrets, shared nakedness, shared life…that’s what makes a marriage. Don’t let life smother your marriage. Don’t bury the romance. You’ve got to make room for romance, create room for it. Or your marriage will become routine.
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org