Is Your Marriage MIA?
We’ve all been there. He’s grumpy because the sex machine has been shut down, and you’re not interested in starting it up until he helps around the house more. Come to find he doesn’t want to help because he’s filled with pent-up anger which only your touch will elevate.
Like so many conflicts it becomes impossible to pinpoint when the stalemate began… but one thing is certain: nothing good will happen until both parties agree to stop blaming and move forward.
But how to move forward and not just end up right back where this all started? We know communication is key, but often that key has been lost.
Marriage In Action
When couples have been together for a while, they often get into a slump. How many times can a conversation about work be interesting? How often do they skip a party or go alone because the other doesn’t want to participate? How many nights are spent together in front of the TV, a side-by-side activity more akin to the kids’ parallel play than quality time?
There is good news: You and your spouse can stop the boredom and blame game, and fall in love again.
The way to do this is through Marriage in Action, or MIA. Practicing this simple idea will help you find your lost love key and open the door to a happy marriage.
MIA is a monthly plan you and your spouse create. It will keep you both satisfied with your relationship, in the ways you want to be satisfied.
How Marriage in Action Works
Write a list of three to five things you desire to get your relationship back on the right track. Include how frequently you want these things.
Find a good time to talk. Make sure you’re free of distractions and awake.
Exchange the lists and read them out loud to each other.
Discuss the lists. Ask questions if you don’t completely understand your spouse’s requests. Take notes if necessary. Be honest with yourself as well as your significant other. If you don’t think you can do the dishes three times a week, let your spouse know. Talk about it and try to reach a compromise. The key to making this work is being flexible and open-minded. Your plans may need some tweaking, and that’s okay. In fact, think of it as part of the adventure!
After discussing your lists and agreeing on them, do them. His list may request sex at least twice a week. She may want a romantic evening out a couple times a month. It’s all about what you want and need from your marriage to keep it going, and going with a smile.
Be sure your list contains things you want to make your relationship better, not things to change your spouse. If you ask your partner to lose five pounds during the month, that doesn’t have anything to do with filling your love cup (unless it’s affecting your attraction to your spouse, which probably requires a therapist). If you’re requesting this because you’re concerned about your spouse’s weight, create an item on your list requesting your spouse take a walk with you three times a week.
The things on the list are activities you want to do together. They may also be things that provide more time and energy to spend on your relationship. You may ask your spouse to do a couple loads of laundry each week so you have more energy to take that walk together.
There is an alternative way to do MIA. Each of you picks three to five things you’d like to do for the other. If your spouse loves wine, purchase a bottle of their favorite Merlot. Maybe your spouse detests cooking so you take it over twice a week.
If you go this route, make certain you’re doing things they want and not what you think they want. Don’t assume she wants red roses because they symbolize love. Purchase her favorite flower instead. You may think he needs to expand his horizons and attend an opera, but if loves movies, go there for your date night. It’s about being mindful of what your spouse wants and giving it to them.
Do your very best to fulfill your partner’s requests. At the same time, be flexible and understanding with yourself and your spouse. Let’s face it, life gets in the way. It’s not his fault he got rear-ended and can’t take a walk with you until he gets his cast off.
It is very important you don’t keep score! You may need to keep track of what you do to complete your spouse’s list. But don’t keep track of how many things they’ve done on your list. It’s certain to breed anger and resentment. It may even be the reason your relationship got to this point in the first place.
Do each other’s requests every month.Your list may contain the same things month-to-month or they may be completely different. You may have a mixture of old and new, or you may need to modify one of your prior requests. The important thing is to continue the journey.
Benefits of Marriage in Action
The purpose of MIA is to improve and build upon your relationship. You don’t want to split up after the kids move out because your connection is an empty shell. Now is the time to work on your marriage. Rediscover things you loved to do together and reignite the feelings you had on your first date.
You and your spouse will both be happier because your love cup will be full. There will be less stress between the two of you, which will make other parts of your life more enjoyable. You’ll spend quality time together and remember the reasons you fell in love.
And that’s a win-win situation for you both!
Read Seven Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life for more ideas about getting out of the marriage slump.
Read The Five Love Languages to learn the different ways to show love.