How to Keep Your Marriage From Getting Stale

My husband and I had a really cool experience recently.  Due to a set of fortunate circumstances through his work, we got to spend a week in Slovenia.  As we were packing up, we realized 1) Croatia was going to be playing in the World Cup semi-finals and 2) our hotel was 20 minutes from the Croatian border.  My husband’s eyes lit up like a little kid’s on Christmas morning when he realized this. I knew in that moment, hell or high water, we needed to be in Croatia that night.  

To be clear, there was a LOT of effort that went into making this dream happen.  For example, my husband can’t drive a stick shift and since that is all the rental car company had available, I agreed to do it (at that moment being grateful for all of those life-or-death moments learning how to drive a stick shift in my dad’s old truck on the country roads of North Carolina).  As we weaved in and out of the congested city of Pula, Croatia, which by the way, is positioned entirely on steep, hilly roads, I tried to remain calm as I was pretty sure I was going to wind up in a Croatian jail for accidentally taking out a tourist. But truly, as we gathered into the streets of Umag at the end of the win for Croatia and joined in the one-of-a-kind celebration, all of our stressors were worth it.  It was an experience, among many, that my husband and I will talk about for years to come.

We live for these moments.  

It is impossible for a long standing marriage to remain exciting and stimulating year after year.  It is impossible to not fall into the ruts of routine and the daily grind of work, swim practices and back-to-school shopping.  It is expected and normal for your marriage to get stale. You have rehashed the same conversations a thousand times over. You search to find a story to tell that your spouse hasn’t already heard for the 75th time.  You can finish each other’s sentences and predict each other’s next move. The ease of the relationship can turn from comfort and security to a state of boredom and staleness.

How to combat this natural progression into a stale marriage?  Making memories. In my opinion, you are either making memories or you are growing stale.  Memories do not have to be road trips through Croatia, however, if you are the adventurous type, don’t hesitate to prioritize these experiences in your marriage.  For you, memories may be a place that you and your partner/family love to be together. It may be a certain beach house, at a certain beach, revisiting a certain local restaurant listening to the waves crash.

How to make memories in your marriage?

  1. Focus on things in your life you both know you are going to remember.  I often ask myself, will I remember this in 10 years? If not, it loses some of its priority.  
  2. Forego other pleasures.  For me, no one is likely to walk into my house and be awed by any high-end furniture or decorating.  However, they may sit on my old couch and leaf through some picture albums of amazing things my husband and I have chosen to do.  Of memories we have made. We prioritize memories over materials in my marriage. And it works.
  3. Recognize the value.  When I assess a couple in their first session, I’m not only trying to understand their problems, but I want to understand the good too.  What drew them together? What keeps them together? When I hear the descriptions of fond memories together, my hope for their marriage intensifies.  The memories of the good times can go a long way through the bad.
  4. Learn what kind of memories make you tick. Think back to the best memories of your relationship with your spouse, maybe even before you were married.  What kinds of things bring a smile to your face? Those are the types of things you need to prioritize and plan.
  5. Do it.  Even when you are tired and too busy.  There are always excuses that interfere with making memories.  “It’s too expensive.” “We don’t have childcare.” “Work is too busy right now.” It can be easy to believe the lie that “other things are more important right now.” There are few things that are more important than making memories with the ones you love.

ADD Version

  • The antidote to a stale marriage is making memories with your spouse.
  • You are either making memories or your marriage is growing stale.
  • Prioritize memories over materials.
  • There are few things that are more important than making memories with the ones you love.

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