(a q+a series of questions you’ve asked, each answered anonymously by a loving friend in our community)
Recently I’ve been having a hard time in my relationship. When we first met we were so deeply and madly in love; my heart would skip a beat when I saw his name on my phone and I would be aching to be with him when we were apart even just a couple hours. As the time and life has past, it seems like so much has changed. The firey love and excitement has diminished and some days I feel like we’re just roommates in the same home. I know relationships take time and effort but I don’t even know where to start now that we are in this space. Nothing is wrong and at the same time everything is wrong. Am I over thinking this? We don’t have any “real” problems but I don’t want to live life with a roommate, I want to be the couple we once were.
Best, Hopeful Holly
Dear Hopeful Holly,
Life, and your relationship, will never be what it once was. As time has past you both have evolved and grown. Each high and each low has played a roll in the molding of your character and as much as you wish, the past will always be in the past. Being stuck in the moments and feeling you once had will only hinder you in what has the possibility of being. The most beautiful thing in life is to grow with someone, pass time with someone, to go through life’s season with someone. And just as seasons of life change so does your relationship. Just because things are different doesn’t mean that they are wrong.
It’s true that love takes work, but the biggest obstacle is figuring out what work to put in. Every season has a new skill that needs to be developed. In the beginning you developed the skill of learning to love and be loved. You allowed yourself to be vulnerable and learned to put someone above yourself. As time has passed and you built a home together you learned to enjoy and embarce the change of “I” to “we.” And as kids have come into your life, you learned to put the needs of them above yours and your love. So what are you developing now? What goals and skills are you working on?
Like most couples in this season of their life, you might be at a loss for where you are and where you want to go. So many of us spent time getting ourselves ready for “the one,” spend time dreaming of our engagement, hours and days planning a wedding, months searching for a home, and then start planning and preparing for our children. But what happens after that? After we’ve reach all the stages we’ve spent most of our life planning for?
Like many, you have to sit down, reflect, and find the purpose and skill of this new season. One of the things that bring couples much closer is having a common goal. Sit down with your partner and talk. Talk about how much has changed, talk about how beautiful certain parts of your life have become, and talk about where you see yourself in the future. What are their goals? What are yours? Write them down and put it somewhere you can both be reminded of everyday. Feeling like you have a partner, a supporter, a helper in your relationship will change everything. You go from having a roommate to having a best friend again. The reason why the beginning of love is so strong is because it’s the first time you feel that you’re apart of something bigger than just yourself; you aren’t alone anymore. And that feeling of being wanted and needed is one of the most beautiful things to experience in this life.
Defining your goals and developing those skills: Making new goals for your relationship can be anything from saving money or opening a new business to planning a family vacation or committing to date night once a week.
Setting a goal is half the work, planning a way to execute is the other. Since you feel that you and your husband are becoming a bit more estranged, let’s make your goal more time together, for example. Your 6 month goal can be to have saved enough money for a trip to replicate your special honey moon, just the two of you. Working backwards how can you both help make that happen? If you need $4000 for a trip away that means you’ll need to save $670 a month to do that or come up with a plan for how to make it. Hosting a fun garage sale where you both pack up all the things you don’t need would be a great idea. Going through old stuff, reminiscing on old memories, and the excitement of doing something new, together, for a common goal you are both so excited for. Another could be skipping your morning starbucks and having tea in bed; having an extra 5 minutes together talking about being on the beach and enjoying the relaxation in no time.
This example, and any goal you set, will make you realize that it’s not necessarily achieving the goal that will bring you happiness, but the journey and love you re-spark on the road to reaching it. A romantic vacation might not change everything alone, but the everyday micro goals that you both are doing and supporting eachother in definitely will.
One of the biggest misconceptions about love is that the beginning is the magical part, but that’s not true. Every chapter has magic so long as you continue to grow with eachother. The second you stop growing and creating visions for your future, the second you will feel the cloud of unhappiness on you. Sit down, reflect, embrace every ounce of change; one day you’ll be looking back on these very moments thinking they were the good old days.
You’re Dearest Friend