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Get Your Marriage Out of a Rut

A Seven-Step Approach

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Photo: Peter Mason / Getty Images Photo: Peter Mason / Getty Images

Do you ever think that your marriage relationship is stuck in a rut? Do you feel stifled? Do you see your marriage as going nowhere? Do you believe the two of you are growing apart?

It took time to get your marriage in a rut. It will take time to get your marriage out of a rut. Here is a seven-step approach to help the two of you get your marriage out of a rut and to repair your marriage.

Driving on the Freeway

When you take a trip on a freeway traffic usually moves along pretty smoothly. However, there are times when you may find yourselves stuck in stalled traffic speeding along at 20 mph.

You may experience a temptation to get off the freeway. The side roads through the various towns look pretty clear, and are moving along okay. Then you think about the traffic lights and the curves and turns and you reconsider that decision.

Marriage is a lot like driving on the freeways. It can be easy for your relationship to get bogged down in the traffic and rush of everyday living. Your communication may just be crawling along, slower and slower, til you are tempted to think that another relationship may be the answer to being stuck in a rut.

Hopefully, after you stop to consider the reality of your lives and you each look at your own responsibility in allowing your marriage to be in a rut, you both will realize that the "easy or quick" route of changing relationships will not make your lives better.

Seven Approaches to Getting out of a Rut in Your Marriage

So what do you do when the freeway comes to a dead stop or your marriage feels like it is on a dead end street? A road map with some alternate routes or a GPS device help on the freeway. The way to get out of a rut is to reconnect with one another.
  • A Weekend Away. Take a weekend away to a quiet place with no kids, no TV, no Internet, no chores, and no work from the office to distract you from one another. Make this a time just for the two of you. Use this time to talk with one another. Talk about good memories, of future dreams, of current concerns and fears.

  • A Weekly Date. If finances are tight or you can't be away from your children for an entire weekend, find a way to spend time alone with each other each week. Saying you will have monthly dates isn't good enough when your marriage is in a rut. You need more time than that to reconnect with one another.

  • A Peaceful Room. Look at your home environment. If you don't have any rooms in your house that are uncluttered and inviting, then create such a space. Decide together to make at least one room in your home free of clutter. If you can't get a room uncluttered in a weekend together, spend 15 minutes each day working on the room. You both need a space that enables you to feel relaxed and calm. Such an environment can actually make you feel good about yourselves and your marriage.

  • Write a Letter. When talking about sensitive issues in your marriage, express yourself without showing hostility. Do not blame your spouse. Keep sarcasm out of the conversation. Examine your own attitudes about the issue to see if you are contributing to the problem in your marriage. If this is difficult for you to do, write down your thoughts and feelings about one issue, wait a day or so, then re-read what you wrote before giving the letter to your spouse.

  • Make Plans for Your Future Together. Ask yourselves if you are living the way you want to live. If not, do some brainstorming about strategies to get yourselves to where you want to be -- emotionally, financially, physically, etc. Make specific plans for achieving a goal the two of you have set.

  • Spend Ten Minutes Together Daily. Develop a routine of spending ten minutes alone together each day. Make this a time to reconnect. It is not the time to share frustrations or to want to solve problems. This ten minutes has to be a positive ten minutes together. You could spend ten minutes talking about your expectations of the day, or talk about good things that happened to you in the past 24 hours. You could take a ten-minute walk together or do breathing exercises together. What you do with that ten minutes shouldn't be the same every day. Some couples sitting together quietly and watching the sun set or looking at stars.

  • Do Something New. Do something new each day. Take a different route home. Eat a vegetable cooked in a different way. Watch a television show or movie you haven't seen. Discover something new about your spouse. Move a piece of furniture. Plant a flower seeds you never planted before. Walk on a different street or path. Play a new card or board game. Learn how to dance together. It doesn't matter what you do that is new. What is important is sharing what you did that was new with your spouse.

For more on having a successful marriage, visit the Keys to a Successful Marriage section of this site.

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