When Your Marriage is Limping, Fix Your Life
Do you have one of those marriages that just doesn't feel so great? Nothing's awful. You're not in any danger. You don't really want a new spouse; you just want to feel terrific about the one you married again.
When this happens, before you fix the marriage, fix your life.
Is there something you love to do that you no longer do? Do 5 minutes of it a day or do it for an hour once a week, whether it's writing or painting or tying flies. Do not walk away from your job or stop coaching your kid's team to make room for doing as much of this thing you love as you imagine others get to do. Just make room for it in the life you already lead. It will change you and your marriage.
If you divorced, would you lose weight, get in shape, learn to dance, get new clothes, have a drink with friends after work? Do it! Marriage does not stop you from doing any of these. Not doing them stops you from enjoying your marriage.
Do you feel you are carrying too much of the load? That you are working a crappy job so your spouse can stay home with the kids or pursue a dream or avoid asking for a raise? That you are doing more than your fair share of chores to keep up your home or give your kids the life they should have? Absolve your spouse of his or her half of the overwhelming load. Decide how much of the load you would continue to bear if your spouse dropped dead tomorrow. Stop doing the rest. If your spouse values what it provides, he or she will pick up that part of the load. Otherwise, it's your load and you are free to drop it.
Are you depressed, finding no joy or hope in anything? Go see a psychologist, talk to your doctor, or start eating better and exercising more. Your spouse has even less control over your mood than you do.
Do you appear to like the idea of getting out on your bicycle, on the dance floor, or to a restaurant more than your spouse does? Just go. You will find out if the effort of getting out there and doing it is worth the rewards to you. And your spouse will be free to join you with a lot fewer impediments, because getting out the door is usually the toughest part of doing any of these. There is nothing more deadly than discussing doing something in the abstract as a "should."
Is your commute so long that it keeps you from enjoying your mate and your family? Change jobs. I always thought my commute was a given and got angry over what my husband would not or could not do to make up for it. When he died, I changed my commute right away, because I needed to be closer to our son's school. But what surprised me was that the new office turned out to be very close to where he had worked. We could have lunched together while our son was at school, had some much needed us time, in addition to solving all the problems my commute created.
Is your business draining you? Focus the business or hire help instead of asking your spouse to take on every other chore in your life and still be thrilled to see you when you finally get home.
When your spouse feels helpless to fix what's making you unhappy, it's a huge drag on your relationship. When you resent the fact that your spouse also will not take care of the things you won't do to improve your life, it's an even bigger drag. Before you fix the relationship, fix your life.