When your marriage gets in a bad spot, it’s pretty common that you look back and wonder what happened. After all, it wasn’t always like this. Things used to be really great. So a lot of folks complain that they wish they could just go back to that time when they were really in love. Back to that time when things were really exciting and electrifying. Afterall, that’s what you married them for.
If you’re a pro-active person maybe you’ve even tried doing some of the things you two used to enjoy doing together that was so fun; like going out to that restaurant again or playing that game together you haven’t you haven’t played in a while. But I’m willing to bet that didn’t work. Want to know how I know? Because I see it over and over again on my couch. Couples come to me all the time trying to revive their relationship because it’s gotten bland and stale. And the first thing they do is try doing all the old things together they used to enjoy. And this is what I tell them: “That won’t work because you can’t find love where you lost it”.
You can’t find love where you lost it
This is what I mean:
You lost that spark because things weren’t going great. The same problems in your relationship that are going on now, also existed back when things were so electrifying. Overtime they just came to the surface. So even if you could go back in time you’d still have those problems that were under the surface and they’d eventually come out again causing the same problems you’re having now.
The other reason you can’t find love where you lost it is because if you’re like most couples, you got married in your late or mid twenties. And now that you’re older, you both have different likes and interests. You have kids now, you have a job that is more responsible and more demanding. You’ve had to change and adapt to these new life roles. So the thing that you used to enjoy doing (like going to dance clubs or those trendy bars) just don’t excite you as much anymore. You’re a different person and so is your spouse. You SHOULD be different than you were in your 20s. So going back to the good old days wouldn’t actually be so good now that you’re both older and have changed so much.
Don’t go Back. Look Forward.
The secret is instead of trying to go back, look forward. Take a good look at you and your spouse and your relationship and think of things you’d like to see different. Take a good inventory of yourselves and what you both like to do now that you’re in this stage of life. Think of yourself in the context of who you are now: your likes, your interests, your responsibilities, everything. Make sure you’re thinking of yourself differently than you did when you were in you first got married in your 20s or 30s. Then think of who you’d like to be in the future. Talk to each other about your vision of yourselves in 2-3 years and set out ways to go about doing it.
Another way to think about this is think about what you’d like the neighbors to say about you 2-3 years from now. Do you want them to say “oh, that’s that couple who are always talking about their latest trip to the beach”. Or “they’re the ones who are always doing those barbecues”. Look forward to what you want your relationship identity to be and make some plans to accomplish it. If you want to be known as that couple who is always talking about their trip to the beach, that means you gotta spend some time at the beach. And so on.
About the Author
Aaron Anderson is the Director and Lead Therapist at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He’s an avid father, husband and youth soccer coach. He doesn’t have time to write clever bios because he’s way too busy doing one of those things.