Need a new wife, or a new view of life?

December 7,2009

Seattle, WA Relationship Therapist 

Whoops! Did I type that right? I know the title sounds a bit crazy…but hear me out, and imagine this scene…

You’ve been going to bed the same person for twenty years, but today as you wake up, wondering who she really is. She’s been a bit distant lately after your last heated discussion and this morning you notice that her hair is disheveled, and she still has those earplugs in her head, which she says is because YOU snore! Grunting a “Whatever” you trundle off to the bathroom, thinking “so this is marital bliss?” Of course when you glance at the grizzly faced middle aged guy in the mirror, who just farted, and realize that those hefty love handles aren’t exactly a turn on either. But since you’ve got to get to work early these days, there’s no need for a peck on the cheek as you leave the house. Driving off to work you think you deserve more, and fantasize what it would be like to fall in love again, and then this crazy thought crashes into your little grey cells, “I need a new wife, to get a new life.” Whoa! Where did that come from? Is that just a random thought, or is it a warning shot being fired over the bow of your love-boat?

I’ve been helping people with troubled relationships for years, where I often remind people that love is more than a feeling of bliss, it is also a choice. People don’t fall out of love overnight. They let love relationships get stale, forgetting to open the windows of kindness and respect to air the room. Lacking oxygen, love will wither on the vine. Every relationship needs to be nurtured in order to be alive. To love another person for a lifetime is not only a commitment to stick it out with each other through thick and thin; it involves a series of choices made on a daily basis.

Do you remember what it looked like when you were first attracted you to each other in the first place and the kinds of activities and interest did you shared? Can you see how you prioritized making time for each other? Where did those people go? What was your view of love like back then? What is your view of love today? Hopefully it has matured beyond having a good hair day.

It is a choice to decide to view each other in a positive light, and to forgive the mistakes in judgment we all make. When your partner makes a stupid comment or is just in an irritable mood, it is also a choice to judge, become critical or take it as personal rejection. However, you can also choose to remember that your loved one is just having a bad day, or week, or made a mistake that needs your forgiveness. Global thinking that says “George is a hopeless idiot” is toxic. Seeing your partner in context as a loving person who just didn't catch the clue train today is a smart choice that will help you to continue acting in loving ways.

Falling out of love happens when people forget to keep things in perspective. It happens when people forget to make time for each other when they have kids. It happens when we blame others for the unhappiness in our own lives. To say ‘we just fell out of love’ is lame because it fails to reflect any self agency. Falling out of love is a result of choices to disengage.It is not like falling into a lake with your clothes on. Do you really need a new wife to find a new life? Or do you just need to decide to turn towards each other again to re-create a new life together?

If you could use a marriage tune up, send an e mail to [email protected] 

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