In our last post we shared 11 possible indicators your marriage might be mediocre. Today we want to offer some practical tips to help get you out of this trap.
As a reminder here is our list:
- Your life revolves around your kids.
- You no longer flirt with each other or share private jokes.
- You would rather spend an evening alone than with your spouse.
- You can’t remember the last time you laughed together.
- You rarely go on dates or have fun together.
- You haven’t read any books on marriage recently and you have no desire to start.
- The first word that comes to mind in describing your marriage is “boring”.
- Time together is spent watching TV, running errands or doing things with the kids.
- Sex is sporadic at best.
- You’ve settled into believing this is just how marriage is after years of sharing life with someone.
- You believe your best days are behind you.
Practical Tips To Get Out Of The Mediocre Trap
If your life is busy with activities for your kids, this is a normal part of raising a family. However, you don’t have to sign them up for every activity they want to pursue. In our family we limited our kids to one activity a year, and they had to choose. This was teaching them the importance of making priorities in their schedule. Of course, they didn’t like it. But in order for Tom and me to keep our relationship primary we had to limit the time we were doing other things.
If you no longer flirt, but you used to, it will be easier for you to start this again. If you have never flirted with each other this will feel really awkward. Little steps in showing your spouse you are thinking of them as you walk by each other. Where one wife might run her hand across her husband’s butt as she passes him, another might express something you admire in him. You set the next level of flirtation according to what would mean the most to the both of you.
If you don’t enjoy being alone with your spouse, there are issues beyond mediocrity that must be addressed. We encourage you to seek outside help from a friend or pastor if bringing up this discussion seems too difficult. The important thing is to not ignore it! If you do your marriage will suffer for it.
If you don’t laugh regularly ask yourself why? Is it because you don’t find things funny? Or maybe you just haven’t tried to make it happen. My daughter-in-love shared with me this story: Her grandmother, who lived well beyond her 90th birthday, said her secret for long life was finding a way to laugh really hard everyday. Some days she would just belt out a good laugh for no reason. Ashley said the amazing thing was she always made everyone else around her laugh too. Even if they had no idea what started it all.
If you rarely go on dates or have fun together, make an effort to change. Plan something special you know your spouse will enjoy and surprise them with it. We have a made it a habit to study each other to know what each other likes and then take it to the next level and make it happen.
If you haven’t read a good marriage book in as long as you can remember, can we strongly encourage you to do so? We recommend two: Cherish, by Gary Thomas and our book, Cherishing Us – 365 Healthy Marriage Tips to Help Your Marriage Grow. Both are easy to read and even more easy to apply. Sometimes growth doesn’t happen because we aren’t challenging our habits with the truth. Think of marriage books as a vitamin to promote health and avoid sickness.
If your marriage is boring, refer to #5.
If the only time you spend together is in the car going somewhere or on the couch watching TV you must make a concerted effort to change. Not only is this bad for your marriage, it is setting a poor example for your children who are watching more than you realize. Limit electronic device use as well.
If your sex life is sporadic at best, you most likely have other issues to discuss. Sex is the only activity your spouse alone can supply, and to limit this precious gift is a detriment to the intimacy you share. I understand there can be a boat-load of issues preventing the frequency and quality of sex. But are you doing anything about it? If not, you are settling for less than God intends for you both to experience. Please don’t put physical intimacy on the shelf of “what used to be”. Get help! We recommend another book, Sheet Music, by Kevin Leman, to help you discover what’s missing.
If you realize you’ve indeed settled, that’s the first step to change. You’re admitting that there can be more. And I say as loudly as I can–YES, there is more, so much more.
If you believe your best days are behind you, you are listening to the enemy of your soul. He has come to steal, kill and destroy, and that includes our marriages. He hates our union because it reflects Christ and His overwhelming love for His Bride, the church. Your best days are not behind you, unless you read this post and do nothing as a result. God has given us the power we need to resist the lies and schemes of the enemy. We must draw near and submit to God, resist the enemy and he must flee. I believe as you do this you are opening a new door into a new room in your marriage called fulfilled. God wants to fulfill His purposes for you and your marriage. Our responsibility is to cooperate with Him. When He convicts, we repent. As He leads, we follow. When we change, He gets the glory. How can we say no to such a gracious, loving God.