Let me get right to the point. Marriage drift. This is a phrase we use to describe the lack of intentionality in marriage. In your marriage (and most other things in life), you will either be intentional to learn, grow, and improve or you will drift. Think of drifting as what happens when you are in the middle of the ocean in a boat without any power or the means to move yourself anywhere. Think of the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks. When you are drifting, you will merely end up wherever the forces of nature happen to take you. You will feel utterly powerless.
Drifting through life in this way is an awful and lonely place to be and even more so in your marriage.
When most of us were dating and trying to woo and win the love of our life, we were intentional. We planned dates. We called each other often and connected in deep and meaningful ways. We were two becoming one.
Once married, many spouses get caught up in the daily grind and difficulties of life. It’s so easy to do — unless you are being intentional. Without intentionality, most spouses feel more like one becoming two than the other way around. Most spouses start to feel more like roommates than lovers.
Further, once we have been drifting for awhile in our marriage, we become unhappy. We start thinking about our disappointments. We think about how marriage, our marriage, was supposed to be different. Soon, our unhappiness becomes an open, festering wound whose scab is ripped off each time there is a disappointment in our relationship. My husband is home late — again, I feel so disappointed. My wife does not respond to me the way she used to — disappointed. We never go on dates anymore — disappointed. We don’t laugh like we used to — disappointed. And so on.
And do you know what the leading cause of infidelity in marriage is? Marital dissatisfaction and disappointment.
In fact, most current research tells us that up to 55 percent of women and up to 65 percent of men will have an extramarital affair by the time they are 40!
If you took the time to read any of this (because you care about your relationship), by now you are wondering if it’s possible to stop marital drift and remain happy and content in a thriving marriage. The answer: YES! The way to accomplish this is by being intentional. You don’t have to be the most amazing and perfect person on the planet. After all, your spouse is not perfect either. Just work intention into your routine.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself (or your spouse) to see where you both currently are:
1. Are either of you starting to focus more on disappointments?
2. Are you lacking the motivation needed to plan dates together?
3. Does it feel like there is often tension between the two of you?
4. Do you find yourself comparing your spouse’s shortcomings to another person’s strengths? (As in, “I wish my spouse was more like _________.")
5. Does it feel like your life has become one big hamster wheel ride with no way to stop?
By now you already know that if you answered YES to any of the questions above, you are lacking intentionality and heading towards marital drift. Fortunately, the solution can be pretty simple. Just do what you did when you were dating. Recall what you did when your were wooing each other and trying to win each other over. Do more of that.
Doing what you did when your were dating will take your current state of drifting and turn it back toward intentionality. It will feel like you suddenly found an oar for your boat and you are finally heading for the safety and comfort of the shore once again.
We have taken the liberty of giving you a head start with an article titled, 10 Things You Can Do Today To Take Your Marriage From Good To Great. We will also give you a FREE version of the “10 Things” poster just for sharing your email address with us at: https://tandemmarriage.com/10things
Look for us on most social media platforms for daily marriage inspiration: @TandemMarriage
This article has also been published on Medium.com. You can find it there at:
By Brad & Tami Miller. Copyright © 2017