Whether you have been married for only a brief period of time, many years, or…
Living Apart Together
Marriage can be a relationship that takes a form all its own without you even realizing that things are happening or changing. We get so used to being with someone that we begin to take them for granted. When this happens we also begin to develop our own life apart from the spouse. There are personal friends and hobbies and time spent doing things we enjoy. The only problem with this picture is the fact that the spouse is missing.
Some marriages turn into separate living arrangements but without forethought. In other words, you basically live a separate life without your spouse and yet stay in the same house. When people come over to visit, it appears as if everything is well. Yet you don’t sleep in the same bed or do anything together. There is no companionship because you are living separate lives for all intents and purposes.
This is a picture that describes many marriages. The couple cares enough about the marriage to keep it alive, and yet there is no effort to share time together. This is a compromise that keeps people married, but there is no real marriage. In fact it can be a bit eerie to watch a couple go separate ways and know they are still living together.
For the Sake of the Marriage
Unfortunately, when you live separately long enough there is a good chance the marriage will end at some point. Living together but without putting any effort into the relationship is sure to eventually ruin the very foundation of the marriage. The problem is you will have no idea when your spouse might meet someone else or decide that it makes no sense to live this way. It’s like living in a state of limbo.
When you don’t share your lives in reality, your marriage does not even take on the level of friendship. Instead it becomes a survival technique. You just decide to remain in the marriage as a matter of convenience. Without being judgmental, it’s hard to find a couple where they ignored the passion and were still able to keep the marriage alive. It can actually be a very dreary existence even though other people may not be aware of what is going on behind closed doors.
Living together physically but not emotionally is the state many marriages end up enduring after couples have been married for years. It can happen to younger couples but often it is the years of living with each other’s faults that creates the cynicism and lack of respect. The old expression, “familiarity breeds contempt” comes to mind. Marriage is a state of being that requires diligence. You can’t ignore your relationship and expect it to survive without damage. It may seem easier to just go about your business and not worry about connecting with your spouse, but if you really look inward what you’ll probably find is a lot of unhappiness and discontent.
A Couple Again
The chances are that if you live this way that one of two things will happen. First, you will just continue to survive as a spouse without experiencing the companionship you should be getting from the marriage. The word “survive” indicates your life is not fulfilling. Second, either you or your spouse will eventually meet someone else by chance while looking outside the marriage for friendship. This will lead to divorce.
You can stop divorce by renewing your friendship with your spouse. It may be difficult at first to change behavior patterns, but if you put a plan into action the rewards will be outstanding.
- Ask your spouse out on a date
- Make a point of having at least a ½ conversation each day with your spouse where you express interest in their activities
- Surprise your spouse with a romantic evening
- Do something nice every week for your spouse
- Do something which is reminiscent of your earlier love for your spouse, i.e. send the same flowers you used to give
- Join a fitness center together
These are just a few of the little activities that can make a big difference in a relationship. After a couple of months of proving you want to be friends again, you can then begin to make other plans with your spouse. You can plan a vacation or getaway for just the two of you.
Your marriage cannot be ignored and expect to survive as a real union. You can live together, but if you let the friendship die from neglect you will not be enjoying the best marriage has to offer. You need to pay attention to your marriage and not let it just drift towards divorce.