After 20, 30, or even 40 years of marriages your relationship will no doubt have transformed and grown into a different kind of love than the one you experienced when you first met your partner. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to settle for a lacklustre love.
After 42 years of marriage my relationship had turned into something I would never have imagined. My husband and I, who were once hopelessly in love, were more like acquaintances living in a share house. We would go days barely speaking a word to each other, not because we were angry with the other, but because it felt like we had nothing to say. Our interests were so different now to what they were when we were young; he liked to play golf on the weekend with his friends, while I went to the movies and visited my family.
When we met, and for the first few years of our marriage, we did everything together and spending a day apart felt like torture. Now we passed each other silently in the kitchen and barely spoke as we ate our dinner in front of the television.
We lived like this for nearly two years before I decided to make a change. We had drifted apart and I didn’t like it. My husband was a great man and had been an amazing partner to me for most of my life. We sat down and had a frank discussion. We still loved each other, we just needed to find a way to get the love back into our day to day lives.
We talked about the things that were most important to us and decided on three ways to get the love back into our relationship: quality time together, spicing things up with a little variety and doing a weekly activity together.
Deciding on these three things was easy and to be honest sticking to them was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Quality time together meant more than just sitting down to watch TV together; we sit at the dinner table every night now and talk about our day, it sounds small but I promise it makes a difference.
As far as spicing things up go… it’s a little different to what we might have done when we were younger. Now we go hiking together, try food we never would have before, we even took a 12-week salsa course together – he surprised me by being one of the best in the class! We do something together every week, whether it’s going to a movie, shopping together at the market, or playing a board game at home, it all counts and it’s undoubtably brought us closer together.
I’m so much happier than I was for those few years we spent drifting apart. Actively making a change and being mindful of sticking to it completely transformed our lives. Our kids have definitely notice the change, too. They were so surprised when we first started to spend time together and laugh with each other again. My daughter even sat us down one day to ask if we were okay because we were acting so “weird”! She just wasn’t used to us getting along so well.
After going through all this myself, my unsolicited advice to anyone who feels like the love has dwindled is to acknowledge it and make the change. Set up a list of goals and tackle them together. If you’re anything like me you’ll be eternally grateful that you did.