Healthy Marriage Tips: Roommate vs. Spouse

Posted on January 24, 2012

Have you and/or your spouse ever felt more like roommates than marriage partners?  If you have, you are certainly not alone.  From my own personal experience, I know my wife and I have felt this way before, as well as most of the couples that I see in counseling.  The good news is, there are many ways to change that feeling and to begin to reclaim the spark of intimacy within your marriage relationship.  In this article, I will discuss two ways to help save your marriage from roommate status.

Closing Exits

Get rid of some of the distractions that keep you from the marriage relationship you desire.  In Imago Therapy, these are known as “exits”.  These are the things that eat away time that both of you could be using to build your relationship and foster a deeper connection.  You may be aware of doing these as an escape, or not.  Examples include: spending too much time watching tv, playing on the internet, using your cellphone, etc.  I good way to gauge if something you are doing might be an exist for you, is to think if your spouse has ever complained that you spend too much time doing something, and not enough time with them.  That is clue # 1.

Some things can be exits that don’t necessarily appear to be.  An example of this would be spending time with your children.  Think about this for a moment.  Spending time with your children is an absolute necessity, however; the issue becomes, “why?”   Are you spending more time with your children because they need you and you want to be the best parent you can, or are you spending more time with them to avoid spending time with your spouse who you are annoyed with?  See where this gets a little tricky?  We all have to think about the reasons why we are doing things.  I know in my marriage, this was a tough one for me to grasp.  I have been guilty of using my daughters as an exit, so that I could “avoid” spending time with my spouse, who I was upset with.  Learning about this has moved it from the unconscious, into the conscious, and I am much more aware of the reasons why I am doing things now.

No Time

Make time for “just the two of you”.  With busy schedules, kids, jobs, sports, family obligations, etc. it is very difficult to get out of those roles and focus on just being husband and wife.  In order to break away from the usually family chaos, you must be very deliberate about Planning a date night, at least twice a month, but more often if possible. The following are some dating tips to reconnect. Mark it on the calendar and set those times aside, just as if they were mandatory work meetings.  The dates could be anything, as long as it is just the two of you.  The date night does not have to be anything expensive or extravagant; the point is to spend time together without all the other distractions of life getting between you.  This maybe a little awkward at first, especially if there has been a lot of tension, or lack of connection.   The more time that you spend with one other connecting, improving communication skills, and building emotional bonds the closer and more intimate you will feel towards one another.

We must be very deliberate in maintaining and building our relationship connections with our spouses.  If we don’t, it is very easy to fall into the role of “roommates” and wonder where that emotional and physical connection we once had with our partner went.

Written by:  James Vastag, MA, LMFTA

James Vastag is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Associate with Groff & Associates Professional Counseling.  His passion is to help couples and families navigate life’s rough waters by helping them learn how to meet their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs in a positive and healthy manner.    James may be contacted at james@groffandassociates.com

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==