Think back to when you first began dating your partner. How did you describe the relationship to your friends? Chances are that at first you thought your relationship was perfect. You understood each other perfectly. You planned activities together perfectly. You were the ideal couple. Do you still believe this?
Over time, many couples become disillusioned by their relationship. No longer do they pursue becoming the couple they once hoped to be, believing instead that they are “good enough.” But what if you could still have your ideal relationship? What would it look like? Discuss the following questions with your spouse.
What kind of couple do you want to be?
Imagine your friends are sitting around a table at a dinner party you and your spouse were unable to attend. One of your friends asks another where you two are. Your friend says, “Oh, they are ______________________, of course! You know them, such a _________ couple.” What would you fill in the blanks with? Are you two sailing around the world because you are such an adventurous couple? Maybe you are wine tasting in Sonoma because you are such a cultured couple. Now, how close is this scenario to reality? When was the last time you went on a trip together or shared a bottle of wine? Assess how close you are to your ideal and take realistic steps to get closer to achieving it.
What are your traditions?
Susan and Tom had been married for a year when one Friday the 13th, Susan made a new chicken dish for dinner. As she was bringing the hot tray of food into the dining room, she tripped and half the chicken fell to the floor with a loud “Splat!” Susan and Tom laughed at the incident, shared the remaining chicken, and made a new tradition of making the new dish, Chicken Splat, every Friday the 13th.
Do you and your spouse have any traditions like Chicken Splat? Maybe you go to the same destination every year for your spouse’s birthday or buy each other funny souvenirs when you are out of town. No matter how big or small, traditions are essential to creating a marriage culture. If you do not have as many traditions as you would like, think together as to what you have both enjoyed doing together. Can this become a recurring event? By putting budding traditions into action, you and your spouse will be one step closer to your ideal marriage.
Do you dream together?
When you first began getting serious, you probably sat together dreaming about your wedding, your first house, and your future children. If you have checked all of those off the list, now what? Just because you and your partner have achieved all of your initial plans does not mean you can’t create new ones. Is retirement around the corner? Dream about how you will spend that time. Did you once talk about scuba diving together and never got around to it? Reinstate that dream! Think about what you would love to do together. Even if it never happens, you are still thinking ideally and becoming closer in the meantime.
No matter what your definition of the ideal may be, work together to make it a reality. Just because your relationship isn’t new anymore does not mean it can’t be exciting. Spend some time working toward the ideal and pretty soon, you will be living in it.