You wake up one morning several years into your marriage and wonder how in the world did I end up here? Not wondering this in an overly negative way, as in I can’t believe I am with this person (although that may indeed be the case) but instead wondering how marriage ended up being so far from what you thought it would be.
Think about it.
How did you think marriage would be when you were growing up?
Does it look anything like what you are experiencing? There are very few people that when honestly assessing their life, can say that everything turned out thus far like they dreamed.
Many people go into a marriage with an ideal in mind. After saying “I do” to him or her, life will be happily ever after. Long walks on a sunset beach, hand in hand, staring into each others eyes, and then making love in the morning with the cool breeze through the window and the birds singing in the trees… Blah, Blah, Blah. If you are married, you know full well that this fairy tale seldom, if ever occurs.
Many people also don’t go into a relationship having thought through worst case scenarios. What’s the worst that could happen in a marriage?
Is it the prospect of divorce? Maybe.
For me, the worst case scenario would be marital monotony. Settling for the same thing each and every day for as long as we both shall live.
How do so many marriages end up ho-hum?
The answer lies in this statement: people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
They choose to settle with their spouse. The idea becomes “well if this is as good as it’s going to get, ok,” or “they are never going to change so I might as well get used to it.” In this scenario, the only thing left to do is wait for death, which may be a long way off.
So what’s the secret to a lasting marriage? It’s simple, two people who choose to stay together. That’s it.
But what’s the secret to a passionate and adventurous marriage? Glad you asked.
At first guess, your answer may be love. The cynic Ambrose Bierce defines love as “a temporary insanity, curable by marriage.” The answer really lies in the realization that marriage is not about happiness, it’s about the two people becoming better humans.
Marriage done right is a people growing machine.
Marriage will test you, stretch you, and cause you to grow. This is inherit in every committed relationship. We want the best from them. They want the best from us.
Rather than making marriage more complicated than it has to be, here are 6 principles that are key to adding passion and energy to marriage.
1. Grow spiritually. Whether you believe in God or some other higher power, it’s safe to say that many people believe there is a spiritual nature around us. We are interconnected to the world. The spiritual nature of the world frees us from acting as the end-all-be-all. It’s not our responsibility to keep the world functioning. But I am connected to the world around me. To others around me.
To grow spiritually, I need to acknowledge this interconnectedness and seek to serve others. To love more. To give more of myself.
2. Learn to live complaint-free. The world around us is not as many would like it to be. Things don’t always go our way. It’s easy to react to life’s disappointments by complaining. The problem is, complaining doesn’t help the situation. It’s like sitting in a rocking chair. It’s comfortable, and you may even feel like you’re getting something done. But you don’t end up going anywhere.