By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS, CPCS
The romantic stage of a relationship lasts an average of 12-24 months. And once it passes maintaining a strong emotional connection can be difficult for most married couples. The busyness of life, the addition of children and simply being too inwardly focused are all factors that contribute to couples drifting apart emotionally. But there is another factor that comes into play when we discuss the changing dynamics of a relationship between couples. They tend to take each other for granted.
We begin to simply “expect” our spouse will always be available to serve without needing to be appreciated for the value they bring to the relationship. Over time, these couples find themselves walking through marriage on parallel paths. They may engage engulf themselves in work; make the kids the number one priority in the household; involve themselves in excessive activities like computer surfing, gaming, and hobbies that allow them to avoid engaging with their partner on an emotionally intimate level.
But as time passes, one or both individuals start to become discontent with the relationship and feel there is something missing. To correct this negative trend, they need to start chasing each other. Chasing is a process that consists of three steps.
- Put Aside Your Fears. As couples stop attempting to engage with each other on an emotional level fear is established. This is the fear of “being rejected” should they try to re-engage with their spouse. The rejection fear develops over time as individuals make attempts to engage but find themselves ignored or dismissed. After a while, they just stop trying to engage. But that is exactly where Satan wants you. While he understands he may not be able to destroy your marriage, he can certainly attempt to make it a miserable one. Drop the fear and take a chance.
- The Chase. Make daily efforts to genuinely engage with your spouse. For 10 to 15 minutes, take the focus off of yourself or the kids and place it solely on your partner and what is going on in his/her life. You also can: send cute and funny text messages; leave a romantic card on their pillow; buy inexpensive gifts; offer to do them a favor. The key is to generate a new perception in your spouse’s mind that you are actively thinking about them.
- Allow Yourself to Get Caught. If your spouse is making an effort to chase you, slow down enough to get caught. Don’t bush them aside by saying how busy you are but instead notice the energy they are putting into the relationship. Getting caught doesn’t take much effort – what it takes is being aware that you’re being chased.