Let’s be honest, married life isn’t always a walk in the park! But if we’re better prepared for the realities of marriage, we can navigate this important relationship with compassion, patience and honesty.
Feel-good hormone dopamine is released when we fall in love. As we commit, it is replaced with oxytocin – the so-called “cuddle hormone” – and another hormone, vasopressin, which both keep us in “mating mode”. Even so, passion can wilt in the face of daily life.
From the start, set up a date night for romance, conversation and intimacy to keep the sexual energy alive.
Remarriage or renegotiation
You can reframe marriage using compassionate – not passionate – love. If you do divorce, seek out self-awareness and self-knowledge to avoid making the same mistakes again.
If you’re renegotiating your relationship, develop a new approach with your partner that’s right for you both. On the other hand, be aware that if the new union involves stepchildren and becoming a mother all over again, that can also have an impact on romantic love.
Many couples with children experience a significant drop in the quality of their relationship, caused by an unequal division of labour and helicopter parenting.
Despite how busy family life is, work on your marriage’s emotional and physical intimacy.
One bed, two dreams
Marriage can feel less than rosy after a few years. Tell-tale signs include diminished interest in sex, hiding behind the kids and avoiding one-on-one talks.
This stage doesn’t spell the end of a marriage, but it is an adjustment period. Emotional honesty and intimacy can redefine a marriage. Find ways to be spontaneous and romantic.
Two beds, two rooms
It can be hard to sustain closeness over time. In some cases, this is where infidelity, sexual disinterest or separate beds start.
Invest energy in common goals and interests. If you feel you’ve lost your identity in the marriage, work on yourself as well as the partnership.
Money is a loaded issue in all sorts of family relationships, particularly if the budget is tight. Women can feel a power imbalance if they only work part-time in order to stay home with children.
Communicate honestly about money, particularly if one partner earns less than the other. Open up your dialogue and fewer misunderstandings will arise.
You’ve weathered the worst, replaced fantasy with comforting reality and decided to stay married. That’s not to say there aren’t still challenges to face, such as health issues, empty-nest syndrome and retirement.
Forget power plays and manipulations – you’re past that now. Count on yourself and remain committed, but remember you aren’t twins. Each of you has your own valid opinions and interests.
After several years of marriage, some feel that they outgrow their husbands socially and emotionally.
Talk to your spouse and let him know how you feel. Also, ask yourself if your relationship has harmed or helped you.