In the midst of marital turmoil, maybe you’ve had this inner dialogue:
Dealing with my spouse and all of these problems in our marriage is too much for me. Maybe I should just get a divorce, and find someone new to start a life with.
The idea of “someone new” is a tantalizing one. How easy it seems to just shed the thorny problems of your marriage and move on to a fresh start in a problem-free relationship with someone else. Of course, most relationships are relatively problem-free in those early, in-love feeling stages. In this article, we’ll explore ways to get past this fantasy—and back to focusing on healing your marriage.
The Allure of “Someone New”
You could toss a stone in a crowd in any direction and not hit anyone who thinks marriage is easy. Intermingling two distinct personalities is challenging enough, but throw in some epic marriage problems—like infidelity—and you can feel utterly overwhelmed with just how difficult this commitment is.
Saving a marriage is an ongoing effort on the best of days, let alone on top of everything else you have to handle in your life. And the only break your mind may get from it all is indulging in an escapist fantasy of how things “could” be so much better with a new person in a new relationship.
You think: There would be nights out on the town, candlelit dinners at home, long walks, deep and meaningful conversations…
What you may forget: dirty socks on the floor, dinner dishes—even from candlelit dinners—in the sink, and family responsibilities sidelining those long walks and meaningful conversations. Eventually, even new relationships must face these same daily hurdles.
Of course, this mundane, realistic underside to the fantasy won’t actually be present in your daydreams, because it goes against the purpose of a fantasy: a means for briefly escaping harsh reality.
Fantasies: A Distraction from Marriage Healing
Fantasies are nice to indulge in once in a while, but understand that the idea of starting over with someone new does not mean your life will suddenly become problem-free, or that a new relationship won’t take work, and may actually have new problems you can’t even conceive of!
In the program, “Saving Your Marriage,” a study is cited regarding unhappily married adults and a startling conclusion that was reached: Unhappy spouses that divorced and remarried were no happier, on average, than those who stayed married!
There’s no reason why, as you work to heal your marriage, you can’t be living the fantasy now, with the person you are married to today.
Here are some tips for infusing some fantasy into the “someone” you have now.
Tip 1: Heal Your Marriage by NOT Focusing On the Problems
There are multiple reasons why once-happy couples let the fun die in their relationship. When problems arise, that’s all the couple focuses on—and they forget to take a break from analyzing the problems and just enjoy one another’s company by indulging in some good, old-fashioned fun.
It’s important to develop new memories, associating them with fun times, which will serve to diminish the power of the bad memories of all the problems that have been overwhelming your relationship. So take the time to take your spouse out on a date.
Tip 2: Use Memory Lane to Rekindle Your Pre-Marriage Passion
Before the daily grind of life got in the way, you met, fell in love with and married this person you are married to today. You planned dates in order to spend time together and basked in one another’s company. Then you said your wedding vows, and you may have felt the fun times came to a screeching halt at that point.
This key point can’t be emphasized enough: Dating isn’t just for single people! You didn’t vow to give up fun; you vowed to love and stand by one another, and a critical component of that is to make your marriage union enjoyable.
Unfortunately, many marriages begin to derail from the onslaught of those daily obligations, especially when making time for fun is not prioritized. The marriage begins to feel like work, and along comes the fantasy of someone new, which in some marriages, leads to the devastation of one partner acting out the fantasy and indulging in an affair.
Make fun a priority again in your marriage—you may find it helps you to work more effectively through the problems. One way to start is to take a trip down the individual “memory lane” of your relationship: Is there a date the two of you went on that brings back fond memories? Would you be able to arrange a reenactment of that date, as a reminder of that happy time?
Now I’d love to hear from you.