Do you feel your marriage is lacking some spice? Does it seem your drifting more and more apart from your spouse because the spice is lacking? If you answered, “yes” you’re not alone. Many married couples feel apart from each other and lack the spice they once had when they first met. To help understand why the spice in marriage tends to fizzle being married for some time and fun ways to spice up the marriage, I have interviewed therapist Jennifer Sober, LCMFT, LCPC.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Counselor in Maryland with over fourteen years of experience helping couples and families. I entered this field because I believe relationships provide one of the most important sources of meaning and fulfillment in our lives. They can bring us to the heights of joy or depths of pain. We are biologically built to bond to our children and to significant others. Yet this is an amazingly neglected area of education in our society. There are no mandatory classes in school on how to be a good friend, a good spouse, or a good parent. I see a large part of my role as a therapist as educating people on how to be in relationships with others. Currently, I see individuals, couples and families in my private practice, Trust Builders Counseling, LLC. I am a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and I am a member of the National Registry of Marriage Friendly Therapists.”
Why does the spice in marriage tend to fizzle after a couple has been married for a few years?
“As humans, we have the competing desires of wanting safety and security yet also wanting novelty and excitement. Dating provides novelty and excitement, yet allows for too many insecurities. Marriage swings the relationship the other way into safety and security, but then the novelty and excitement wear off. Does that mean there can’t be spice in a marriage? Not at all. It just requires more work. In a new relationship, passion is automatic and is fueled by the insecurities and the thrill of the chase. Several years into a marriage, passion is no longer automatic and has to be created. Several factors can drain the passion in a marriage. First, the relationship can feel so secure that it is taken for granted. Some people act as though signing the marriage certificate means they no longer have to work on the relationship. Consequently, intimacy and time together can be pushed to the backburner as the demands of life get in the way. The thought being, “there is always tomorrow.” Second, we are creatures of habit who fall into routines. Routines may make people’s lives easier, but they can be boring in the bedroom. Third, built up resentments can build emotional walls that block passion and intimacy. If people have not dealt well with problems and conflict, they may begin closing off toward each other.”
What type of impact can a lack of spice have on a marriage?
“‘There is no spark anymore.’ ‘There is no passion.’ Too often I hear these words from couples that have come to me for counseling. Hopefully, they have come to me in time, because the lack of spice in a marriage can put that relationship at risk. This is often a part of the feeling couples describe to me as being “disconnected” from each other. This can be the start of a growing distance between them. Worst-case scenario is when one of the spouses seeks passion outside of the marriage to fill the void.”
What are some fun ways for a married couple to spice up their marriage?
“First and foremost, couples must make time for each other and not take the relationship for granted. Make sure hidden, and not so hidden, resentments have been dealt with to clear the way for intimacy and connectedness. If those two basics are in place, there are many fun ways to spice up your marriage:
“Build anticipation: Use emails, texts or phone calls during the day to let the other person know how you feel about them and what you’d like to do with them when you get home or when there’s a designated date night.”
“Talk about it: Tell your spouse regularly and sincerely how you feel about them and what you like about them. Tell each other what turns you on about them. Share fantasies with each other. Share memories with each other of passionate moments from when the two of you were dating. Then try to recreate some of those memories.”
“Try something new sexually: A new position, a new location, a different time of day, a switch in who initiates. This does not have to be anything bizarre or uncomfortable, anything that changes up your “usual” routine will do.”
“Engage the senses when spending intimate time together: The more senses included the better. For example, silk sheets for touch, scented candles for smell, selected music for sound, and chocolate covered strawberries for taste.”
“Create some games: Get creative with fun, adult games like strip poker, truth or dare, or naked hide and seek. Roll dice to determine what to do to each other.”
“Get out of the house: Especially if you have children, getting away from the house together can get you out of a rut and help you reprioritize each other. Getting a hotel room for the night is great, but even just spending the day together doing something you both enjoy can be a boost to passion.”
Keeping spice in a marriage does require work, but it is fun work that is so worth the effort.
Thank you Jennifer for doing the interview on fun ways a couple can spice up their marriage. For more information on Jennifer Sober or her work you can check out her website on www.trustbuilderscounseling.com.
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