Across Pacific Magazine

"Escaping Marriage Ruts"

by Bob and Yvonne Turnbull


   Even the best of marriages can fall into ruts.  Okay, just what are those ruts?  Marriage ruts are routines that at times can take your marriage down a path where you actually start growing apart from one another.  Then we find ourselves working at cross purposes rather than as Team mates.


   Let us look at three of the many and see if any ring true with you and your spouse, and if they do, let us look at what can be done to escape those ruts.  When you escape them you will find your marriage growing closer together instead of becoming bored and boring.


Rut #1

Having More Fun With Your Friends Than With Your Spouse


   When husbands are spending more time golfing with their buddies or wives lunching with their girlfriends and each are enjoying it more than time with their spouse – ohoh – you are in a rut.  You are sending a message to your spouse that your friends are more important – more valuable – more exciting than them.  Is that really your intent?


How To Escape The Rut

   Be sure you date each other at least twice a month.  Do something fun where you can laugh together.  As an example when we go to a beach we like to skip rocks across the water and see who can out-do the other with the number of ricochets before the rock sinks.  Silly, fun stuff.  But together.


   One of our favorite bible verses is the one about “a merry heart is good medicine” which means good medicine for a marriage.  It really does not matter what you do on a date for the object is to spend time together away from the rigors of everyday life.  Plan it, look forward to it, enjoy it.  Just the two of you. 


   We both agreed years ago that when on a date  there are three subjects we will not discuss.  No talking about money, kids or jobs.  We will talk about them at some other time.  You may want to consider that ‘dating rule’ too – no talking about money, the kids or your jobs.


   Remember that, of course, it is good to have friends, but never at the expense of your relationship with your spouse.  Never.



Rut #2

Forgetting To Attend To The Little Things


   Far too often we get busy with the demands of life which causes us to start taking each other for granted and then we stop doing the little things in our relationship that make us feel closer to one another.


   We too easily fell into that trap of taking each other for granted.  It came to a point in our lives when we said, “Enough is enough.  We have got to make some changes."  And we did.


How To Escape The Rut

   Every day focus on attending to the little things as they can make a big difference in your marriage.. Some of the things we do is to give each other at least one compliment daily.  Look at each other when you talk.  Pray with each other.  Kiss each other before saying goodbye and then kiss each other when saying hi again.  Be courteous to one another.  Often we are politer to strangers than we are to our own family members.  Do not forget to say please and thank you.  If a spouse asks, "Hon, will you get such-n-such for me?" do so with a pleasant attitude - with a thankful heart you have a spouse you can serve. 


   We based escaping this rut on one of our favorite bible verses (and  paraphrasing it in a marital context) --  “Husbands/wives, do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider your spouse better than yourselves.  Each of you married couples should look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of your mate and your children.”  (Phil 2:3-4).


Rut #3

Watching TV During Dinner


   Because of different schedules oftentimes couples cannot have breakfast or lunch together but most can enjoy a dinner together.  This is a special face-to-face time to talk about their day and connect.  But watching TV during dinner focuses attention away from each other and instead on that One Eyed Monster.  If one prefers a TV program over chat time with a spouse during dinner then that sends a message that talking with them is boring or non-interesting and what is preferred is whatever entertainment they can receive from TV.


   We went through a too-much-TV-watching-scenario one season.  We both had busy schedules plus we went to bed at an early hour so we taped some shows throughout the week and then watched them during dinner time.  Bad choice.  We became glued-to-the-tube, conversation stopped (except very brief surfacy chit-chat during the fast-forwarded commercials), and our ‘connection’ became less and less.  After that one TV season we again said, “Enough is enough.”  We were glad when summer came and the reruns were aired. This had become a rut we needed to escape from.


How To Escape The Rut

   Agree on a time (at least 15 minutes, or more) that is set aside for connecting in the evening.  One-on-One.  Just the two of you.  All this with the television off.  This displays to each other that when you are at home and not on the job site that you are devoted to your family and they are more valuable than TV or E-mail or phone calls.


   Okay, during dinner the TV is off, but also put both your landline and cell phones on automatic answer with a quiet ringer. 


   There are many, many marriage ruts that couples can easily fall into.  Lord knows (literally) we’ve had our share of them.  In future newsletters we will feature more.


   May our Lord continue to bless and guide your every day.


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La Quinta, CA 92248
Phone: 760.238.4588

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