October 21, 2004 10:30 AM   Subscribe

How do you rediscover your spouse after a few years of doing Really Big Things, and kinda losing each other along the way?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have an answer, but as I emerge (or move towards emerging) from graduate school, I'm very concerned with the answer(s).
posted by mecran01 at 10:42 AM on October 21, 2004

Start the dating process over again. Talk to each other over walks and dinners. Tell and show each other what you like/don't like. Take day trips and the occasional weekend trip together. Enjoy this as a time of discovering what you like and love about each other all over again. And if you don't like or love each other anymore then at least you will find out.

The biggest thing you can do in your life isn't whatever your REALLY BIG THING was but rather being with the people you love.

Good luck!
posted by bakiwop at 10:56 AM on October 21, 2004 [1 favorite]

Since nobody else is foolish enough to take a crack at this...

How did you discover your spouse to begin with? When was the last time you spent time with him/her? I mean really spent time getting to know her?

You've made (imho) possibly, the mistake of thinking that your relationship stopped just because you were doing "Big Things." S/he's grown as a person as much as you have.

Take a trip; a short weekend at first - this way your new bad habits won't get on their nerves. How about a month of getaways? A trip to a distant land afterwards where you two rely on each other. Anything that isolates the two of you...and you can have camaraderie. Oh, and have lots of sex too.

Build something for the community. Volunteer. Go to church together. In other words: spend time bonding with each other.
posted by filmgeek at 11:03 AM on October 21, 2004

anonymous: What do you mean by doing "Really Big Things"?

Without a lot more information, you are going to get the kind of generic pap that filmgeek just wrote.

No offense, filmgeek, but what you wrote would not apply to the vast bulk of marital situations with which I am personally familiar. If their marriage was lost along the way of doing Really Big Things, doing even more Really Big Things probably will not help.

Chances are good, too, that they never really found each other in the first place, and doing those Really Big Things kept that fact closeted.
posted by mischief at 11:42 AM on October 21, 2004

Try and remember the little things you used to do together before the Big Thing came along. I have found that what often gets deferred for The Big Thing, is a sense being in the present and paying attention to the other person whilst doing little things, whatever they happen to be. In other words, work on being occupied with the other rather than with the (now achieved) Big Thing.
posted by carter at 12:02 PM on October 21, 2004 [1 favorite]

I felt that if we ever grew apart, changing things so that we were in situations together more often helped patch things up and put us back on the same course.

This goes for just about every relationship I've had. If you feel two people are going separate ways, find some common ground and hang out in that common ground regularly. It might mean moving to a new town where you don't know anyone but each other, or just making a promise to spend a few hours after work together doing stuff, or maybe a long trip together somewhere can do it. Heck, I know couples that feel better when they make a rule that every Saturday night is Date Night and they do something special that reminds them of why they got married in the first place.
posted by mathowie at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2004

Start small. For example, if your spouse likes Chinese, then arrange to either have dinner made or make it yourself and use it as a mid week living room picnic. Send flowers with a note saying "Thank you for sticking with me through (BIG ThING); your support made it possible." Make sure this is delivered to their work site, if possible, so it's more of a public statement. Male or female, your spouse will appreciate it. Work to ensure that dinners are together again and use it as a time for conversation; not just grazing.

I really like the "start dating again" idea. Even if you're just running to the video store to rent a flick, take your spouse along and solicit their input.

Simple, silly things can sometimes carry a lot of meaning. Post It notes secreted into locations where they will be discovered through out the day are fun. It makes you think of places they will be found but not be glaringly obvious. I've used the inside of the medicine cabinet door, inside the fridge, inside his work notes, on his steering wheel so it's found in the morning. Mail your spouse a card a week to their place of employment.

You're trying to convey to your spouse the importance of the marriage and your committment to making it work. You married for many reasons. Don't expect all of them to remain the same. You've both changed. Don't expect the marriage to be exactly the same. Work to make it better. Realize that your spouse found reasons to stay with you. Who knows, maybe that's a conversation you should have in the future. Finally, remember that everyday you're married is a day either/both of you decide to stay or leave.

Best wishes.
posted by onhazier at 12:40 PM on October 21, 2004

Sit down and talk.

Then go away together on a week or two week vacation to Aruba or some such place where you won't want to do things separate.

Remember why you liked to just hang out together.

Get pissed drunk and go skinny dipping and have sex on the beach.
posted by rich at 1:03 PM on October 21, 2004

Spend time together where the purpose of the time is just to spend time together.
posted by donovan at 1:42 PM on October 21, 2004

I can't recommend travelling; that in itself is stressful. Better to spend time with each other talking, walking, going out to eat (but not anywhere expensive or fancy, which might impose certain expectations on your dinner-- you want to relax with each other). Being at home together can be difficult because it's so easy to just slip into your usual patterns, or to stress about unfinished chores and so on, but going through all the machinations of packing, spending money, etc., is also difficult. Simple time is the best, sharing conversations, getting to know each other again.

Good luck.
posted by jokeefe at 3:51 PM on October 21, 2004

i wonder if cutting back on the sex isn't a better idea. sometimes the power of sex can overwhelm the other emotional things that need to be happening. one might say 'well, i got THAT need taken care of. guess i don't need to work on the relational stuff.' or, more delusionally, 'everything must be ok.'

when i think of this topic i think of the relationship in 'Unbreakable'. which may cause you to disallow all of my advice ;-)

individual counseling and/or marriage counseling could be great with the right circumstances (mutual willingness, the right counselor, the $, etc.).

how can you reinvest in your relationship in similar ways you worked on the Really Big Thing?
posted by Sean Meade at 2:38 AM on October 22, 2004

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