Monday, November 28, 2011

December Doldrums

Ruts: we all fall into them. Very subtly, routine becomes ingrained and you start doing things because, well, that’s what you do. You forget why, or how it started, you just do it... mindlessly. The longer the pattern holds, the harder it becomes to change. Some repeated behaviors are positive. A routine can be a good thing if it removes decisions that cause undue stress, if it stops conflicts before they start. There is a dark side to routine though.

It becomes hard to change even when the change is for the better. Look at your relationship: look specifically at activities and behaviors that are always the same and ask whether or not they are having a positive or negative impact on your marriage. It’s been said that the definition of insanity is to do the same things over and over and expect different results. If your marriage is not all you and your spouse want or need it to be, then maybe doing things differently is in order.

In weightlifting, if one does the same exercise all the time it becomes less and less effective. As the body gets used to the motion, it becomes more efficient at it and the muscle building gains of that exercise diminish. This is called a plateau. To get passed a plateau, you have to do something different; catch your muscles off guard by making them do something they aren’t expecting.

Marriage relationships are no different. If you are in a rut, then your love is not growing to its full potential - time to shake it up a little bit, abandon the routine. New activities done together are great ways to spark conversations, find out things you didn’t know about each other. Abandon comfortable activities and behaviors that have become stale and replace them with ones that provide opportunities to talk. If necessary, turn off the TV. Turn off the computer and mute the phones. Get to know that person you decided to spend the rest of your life with all over again. Consider Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 10:23:

All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.

There isn't necessarily anything wrong with a lot of things that you and your spouse are doing, the routines you've settled into. Ask yourself though, are they EDIFYING? Are these things helping your love to grow, your relationship to strengthen? Change things up so that they are.
I was going to make this a New Year’s resolution challenge... but why wait? Do it NOW!

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