The Roommate Syndrome

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary.  John and I met and married within a year of laying eyes on each other for the very first time. Right now we are in the midst of a beautiful season of our marriage. It just feels like we are humming along but the last few years have been the hardest of all the years.

I identified a trend in our marriage that seemed to move us toward a relationship that was more like roommates with the very occasional benefit. I think they used to call this the 7 year itch? We slept in the same bed but I felt like we were leading parallel lives. We were just doing life next to each other rather than with each other. I realised this was not what I wanted as I saw a day far off  in the future when Poppy would finally leave home and I would turn to my husband to enjoy the twilight years and realise he was a stranger. We talked about this disturbing trend and decided to take some steps to tackle it.

A key part of the solution was going back to the beginning. Why did we fall in love? What did we like about one another? What interests and passions did we share? We discovered that we had two major interests that had been consistent our entire marriage. We both shared a deep passion for God and for playing games. We have always loved talking about all things God, the church and the Christian life. Starting this blog was probably a perfect expression of our mutual passion for Him. We also both love games. We love to play them and we share the belief that one should always play for sheep stations. On our wedding day I tucked a requested wedding gift of a Sony Playstation under my arm as we got on the plane for our honeymoon. We barely left the accommodation as we played Tomb Raider from dusk until dawn. We recently purchased Mario Kart for our Wii and we have found that the youngest Warren has inherited our delight in games. We gave time and energy to re-discovering the joy of these two mutual passions – which worked.

There was one key area of our relationship that had really suffered from the roommate syndrome.  Our sex life had become boring, predictable and perfunctory. As a woman I made some decisions to restore the intimacy – no matter how I felt – I enacted three things; I  would initiate once in a while, do something unpredictable every now and again and I practised not saying ‘no’ every time he initiated. Banning iphones from the bedroom helped too.

The longer you’ve been married the harder it is to fend off familiarity and that oh-so- comfortable feeling – you know the one you get from wearing that old t-shirt to bed.  Making an effort to be intimate, talk about things other than the kids and spice things up takes a big effort, but the rewards are there for those who choose not to become roommates instead of lovers. Sometimes it will feel like a lot of hard work but eventually the whole thing begins to bear fruit and you will enjoy being married to one another more than ever.

Any thoughts, comments or advice of your own. Has this been your experience?

Over and Out,

Catherine xoxo

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