How’s your marriage? Are you and your spouse doing well? Terrific! But this column is not for you; it’s for the people who are struggling.
If some decades have passed since you walked down the aisle, the bloom may have come off the rose. You probably now have a few issues that slowly are driving you nuts. Some may come from familiarity, as people who have known each other for a long time tend to take each other for granted. But others could be tendencies or habits that seemed cute and funny in the courtship and now feel like marriage-killers.
What do you think of that oft-repeated advice to take your spouse on a date? Treat him or her like you are just meeting for the first time. You know what that’s like – curiosity, questions, the feeling of wanting to know everything about each other and to answer the burning questions of “what was your life like before we met?” and “where are you at right now in your life?”
For this to work, you have to start fresh. Stuff about the past has to be embargoed – completely put away as if it never happened. The focus is building on the present and what may lie in the future. Instead of regurgitating past grievances, concentrate on appreciating any courtesy, big or small, since it is a subtle demonstration of affection towards you.
You may be on the fence about your spouse, and who knows, your marriage may not be fixable. But maybe it is. Maybe, just maybe, it is possible to start over again with someone you’ve known for a long time. And that almost certainly beats pioneering a new frontier with a stranger who might emerge from the needs and lonesomeness of the unknowing beyond. It’s worth a try, isn’t it?
PATRICK J. WOOD