How to Avoid Growing Apart

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Couples who do things together that both of them enjoy don’t grow apart. Over time, though, the things you each enjoy change. You injure your knee, and suddenly tennis is less fun. The crowd at your favorite dance club changes, and you want to go less often. You’ve taken three Spanish classes together, but you still don’t have the money for your trip to Argentina.
Sometimes, it your schedule. One of you must work later, and the other is just too tired to start an evening of playing music together. At other times, it’s your level of disagreement on other things, like meals or parenting.
It is so tempting when this happens to go play online by yourself or with distant friends, to catch up on your reading, to take the kids out somewhere, or to text your friends. And that’s a perfectly fine alternative once or twice.
But then you find yourselves growing apart. The alternative is now competing with the thing that used to get you laughing or exercising together. Then your conversations start going downhill. You have sex less often. And soon you are like roommates sharing a house but not a life. Then one of you says, “I love you, but I am no longer in love with you.”
Love needs shared activities. It needs time apart, too, but it doesn’t survive without those things you do together that make you feel good, because you’re learning, laughing, moving, sharing, playing.
What doesn’t work is complaining to your spouse: “We don’t do anything together any more.”
What doesn’t work is inviting and getting rejected over and over.
What does work is finding new activities. And you may have to try them on your own first, until your spouse sees they make you happy and wants to be part of that. If you don’t like trying new things alone, find a friend whose marriage is also suffering. Make sure it’s a friend you’re not likely to develop sexual feelings toward, though, because you’re going to be having fun together and the two are a dangerous mix.
How do you find new activities to try? You talk to your married friends, check community calendars and course catalogs, see which YouTube videos make you giggle or feel good, walk into new social clubs or dance spots, check out menus for restaurants, even visit your local tourist welcome center. And, I hope, you will find some in the comments below as people add the surprising things they love doing with their mates.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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  • Interestingly, taking a Dave Ramsey finance class on Thursday nights and then an Alpha marriage class on Thursday nights were very helpful. We/I haven’t found another “class” for us to join and now I find us drifting due to many of the above mentioned changes in our lives. Time to find another Thursday night activity. Thanks for the post!

By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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