What To Do When The Honeymoon Is Over Looking at your spouse with fresh eyes every once in a while will help you avoid a marital rut. BY DEBBIE MANDEL
Just because you've left the resort doesn't mean the honeymoon is over.
One of the most common complaints I hear in my workshops is that the honeymoon is over. After a year or two of marriage, many people openly admit that they wake up one fine morning and feel as though they are living with a stranger.
The research of the renowned anthropologist Helen Fischer points to the evolutionary reasons for the official end to the honeymoon is, "to be expected." Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity acknowledges the problems inherent in monogamy with a sigh. However, I have a different spin on the heart of the matter. The honeymoon, which is over, is the one we had with our own romantic idea of the other person. We were in love with our unrealistic expectations and so we cloned ourselves a spouse! Do you know of any reality that can compete with a fantasy?
The end of the honeymoon period is potentially the beginning of real self-growth—an awareness that the first love relationship we must have is with the "this" self. When we feel fulfilled, at peace with who we are, then we can be happy with a spouse. In essence, to be real means to realize the self.
At the end of the honeymoon period there is no need to dread boredom or routine. Because you are married to a stranger, you will learn new things about your spouse all the time, like seeing him or her for the first time with fresh eyes. While you are changing, so is your spouse. This is the time to emerge as a team, each with personal skills sets—there is great synergy in a team.
All this may sound noble, even like fantasy, but here is the basic, concrete strategy: To keep the relationship spontaneous and joyous, you need to manage your personal stress. Ever wonder why your spouse might seem terrific one day and a miserable toad the next? What has changed here? Only your perception. When you experience stress, your vitality and positivism are drained. You lose that resilient optimism which sees solutions to problems. Minimize your stress and you will maximize your marriage.
Carve out time for yourself and rev up your romance with life. Don’t be estranged from yourself. Remember this formula: Happy me = Happy us.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of "Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life" and "Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul," a stress-reduction specialist and motivational speaker. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City, produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com