Is Your Relationship Adrift
Ted and Carrie have been married for six years, together for eight. It’s clear when you hear them talk that they still love eachother very much. However, what’s equally clear is, one child, two mortgages, three dogs, and one cross country move later, they are not happy together. These two painfully illustrate how all the love in the world does not always make a happy marriage.
Ted takes a deep breath and speaks the truth, “Somewhere along the line we just drifted apart.”
Carrie silently nods in agreement.
My husband and I just celebrated our fourth anniversary. We’ve been together five and a half years. Every year on our anniversary we do an annual review. We don’t just have a marriage. We have a contract that outlines how we will manage our relationship. We break our relationship into all of its parts and discuss them, in detail. We have made agreements with each other. We have goals. We use this annual review to make sure we are on track. We are gut check honest. We grade ourselves in each category. This isn’t a conversation that lasts a few minutes or even a couple of hours. It takes most of the day. We finish our review and recommit to our marriage, in a very current way, which is not the same marriage it was four years ago.
Is this a romantic way to spend an anniversary. Sort of. Is a contract that breaks a relationship into its many parts and outlines agreements and rules romantic. Probably not. So why do we do it?
Because Ted and Carrie and not an unusual couple. In my practice I see it all the time. People launch a relationship and set it adrift with all the love in their hearts and dreams for the future, but after they launch they let it go, they fail to steer the ship. Unfortunately relationships do not steer themselves. (tweetable!)
It’s easier if you commit to being intentional with your relationship from the very beginning, but it’s never too late to take the wheel. If you’re relationship isn’t what it once was, or what you want to be, it doesn’t have to mean something has gone wrong that can’t be fixed. It might just mean you’re off course, and together you can stop the drift.