You wake up one morning with a bleary-eyed squint through the darkness and wonder who that is on the other side of the bed doing the impression of a buzz saw. A couple more blinks and the proverbial light goes on…it is Mate.
Who are you…
As time marches on, we all change. We swear we are exactly the same as we have always been, but as sure as a glance in a full length mirror proves, we are different. Growing up may be optional, but growing old is mandatory.
We outgrow juvenile habits (hopefully) and replace them with others (better ones…again, hopefully). Our behavior becomes more stable and our judgment more sound. We mature and make better decisions for our families. We become…predictable.
…and what have you done with my Mate?
So, why are you convinced your Mate has been abducted by aliens and replaced with the stranger you now find in your bed? All of a sudden you feel like you have no concept who Mate is. Your brain is asea in questions:
- When did the drawers start appearing on the floor?
- Who paid the water bill, two months late?
- When did the bathroom begin to look like a bomb testing facility?
- How did the catalog company get our last name and telephone number?
- Has the delivery guy always known my first name?
- Why are there three cars parked in the drive?
- Did that ATV really go on the credit card?
- Why is the freezer full of tater tots and boxed lasagna?
Seems like all the routine which brought security to your world has evaporated along with the well-established character which once inhabited the shell beside you.
Not Off The Hook
You have changed, too. You did not notice it in yourself for the same reason you completely missed it in Mate…it was very gradual. In the ensuing years (decades) after the wedding, the metamorphosis from caterpillar to moth was gradual. These things do not occur overnight. (But if they did, that is another post entirely.)
So, now what?
No, do not call a divorce attorney. Fundamentally, you are still the same people you were when you planned the wedding. Go through the checklist:
- I still love Mate.
- Mate still loves me.
- Our (grand)children are still ours (even if they wish they were the adopted progeny of gypsies).
- We still live together.
Yes, your life is still intact. Time to rewind.
Identify the Similar
When you were first learning everything there was to know about Mate and establishing the routines which seem to be absent, you were concentrating on Mate and your compatibility.
You looked at every habit and characteristic like a jigsaw piece and tried to fit it into a matching piece of yours. You found the like colors and similar shapes and turned the piece until the puzzle fit together.
Why does it not fit now?
Just when a sweater get soft and comfortable, it begins to lose its shape. Marriage is the same. We settle into a routine: care for the home and children, work toward the future, simply live and get comfortable. We stop discovering the inner Mate.
Losing that microscopic focus frees up time and energy, but it also lets the marriage sag. How do you get the tautness back in your marriage?
Do it again.
- Engage spontaneity
- Give little I am thinking about you notes and gifts
- Send a random I love you text message
- Kiss for no apparent reason
- Hold hands
- Tell Mate You’re so cute.
- Call out of the blue
All those things you did during courtship and the first years of your marriage are just the medicine to shape up. Your marriage will still be just as comfortable, but will be far brighter.
You do not have to wait until Mate seems like a stranger. By doing the little thoughtful things to bring a smile to Mate’s face, you can bypass this entire phase of marriage.
What are some of the special things you and Mate did for one another when you first began? Do you still do them? What other things can you add to the Do It Again list?