Itís one of the main reasons older couples get divorced yet itís not on the radar or thought about at all when we first marryógrowing apart.
Makes sense. When we are madly in love and constantly engaging in new experiences as a couple, we cannot imagine growing apart. On top of that, when our lives get hectic, complicated and busier than they should be, we are too caught up in the non-stop to realize how much we might be growing apart. Until we are living separate lives under the same roof. Yikes.
Letís get a handle on this one. What causes us to grow apart? The umbrella theme here is communication, a lack thereof. But, letís dive deeper.
Complacency. This is something you might have brought into the marriage, but it wasnít an issue until many years later. Do you typically settle? Do you avoid conflict and uncomfortable conversations? Do you acquiesce but secretly want something else? You are cutting off one of the major arteries of your marriage. Both of you can even get too comfortable with each other and life together as is. When was the last time you held hands? Good morning and good night kisses? Taking for granted what you started with as newlyweds is a mistake. Keeping it alive takes work, but itís worth it.
Boredom. Sure, that can happen after a lot of years when you are with the same person all of the time. The key here is "all of the time" if that is literally what is occurring. Add in girlfriend/ guy friend time and getaways. Create alone and rejuvenation time for yourself. Take classes and do something youíve always wanted to do. In addition, plan an activity together and if you like different things, take turns experiencing what the other prefers. Go on an adventure or do an escape room. I call this the too-much-ism syndrome. It also happens when you are one-dimensional. Get some fun sex games. Listen to or read erotic material together. Sexual boredom puts a wedge between you pretty quick.
Crisis. The way in which you respond during emergencies and times of heavy stress, burden and worry can separate you or pull you closer. If you are a retreaterómeaning you donít like to talk about what or how youíre feeling and would rather retreat into silence, be very careful. Spouses are not mind-readers. Make the crisis work for you, not against you. Youíre already dealing with heavy stuff, for Peteís sake. Pain, suffering, worry and grief (for someone you love or for yourself) must be expressed and relieved in some manner. Itís okay to do it on your own, but you need to explain the process to your spouse and allow him or her to understand you and be there for you.
Child Rearing. Yes, here it is. Parents (since both are now exchanging the stay-at-home roles) lose their identities and get lost in their kidsí lives. Children have a way of doing that. This is where your date nights come in and play a significant role in keeping your spark alive. If not date nights out, take time to curl up on the couch with no interruptions and watch a movie or have a nice glass of wine. Just the two of you. No talking about the kids.
“We make time for that which is most important. Period.”
Career. It becomes the priority over the marriage in many cases. Sometimes, it does so because the marriage is already in trouble. Time away from home plus traveling plus never being able to completely leave your work behind all contribute to growing apart. Avoiding your spouse and using your job for that reason means you have much bigger problems. Either way, you can find a way to spend more time together if your marriage is the priority. We make time for that which is most important. Period.
Health. Not taking care of yourself is the same as not caring about yourself. Thatís not attractive. A healthy and active lifestyle for just one of you can create both physical and mental separation. On the other hand, if one of you gets a debilitating or chronic illness, it must be managed as a team, with love and compassion for better and for worseóliterally.
Getting married too soon. Itís easy to quickly grow apart when you donít know each other very well before getting married. When your union is based primarily on infatuation and a physical attraction, you are lacking the important foundation from which you build a lasting relationship. Of course, there is love at first sight. But, with all of the happy couples that I know who married right away, they have all continued to work on their marriage from day one.
These are just some of the reasons we grow apart. Again, it all comes down to communication. When something starts to feel "less than" or muddled, itís time to start talking and uncover the source of the discontent and separateness.
Mending is not about blaming, rationalizing, criticizing or defensiveness. Itís about listening and breaking down those small walls before they become insurmountable.
Tina Arana Anderson, M.A., is a media and wellness specialist and spiritual mentor. She combines her media and wellness experience with spiritual mentoring and intuitive guidance. Sheís an angel therapist, clairvoyant and clairaudient as well as a writer, host and producer. Her ultimate gift is helping you with high vibrational, joy-filled living; deep inner-peace and lots of levity. For project collaborations, parties or private sessions, contact her at tinaandersonOC.com.