Relationship Advice - How to Get Out and Stay Out of Relationships Ruts

"The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions."

Q: My wife and I are both on our second marriage. We feel like we are both losing some of our excitement and love for each other, just like is our first marriages. We feel like we are stuck in a rut. What can we do to get out of this rut?

A: You've not only asked an excellent question, it's even been asked in song.

In "Make Love Stay" Dan Fogelberg asks,

"Now that we've loved,
Now that the lonely nights are over
How do we make love stay?"

New relationships

New relationships are exciting. The thrill of falling in love and discovering new things about each other is simply a lot of fun.

After the honeymoon stage of a relationship has passed, we move into the "making it work" stage of the relationship. Sometimes the making it work stage is just not as much fun as the honeymoon stage. This is where the work part of making it work comes in.

One of the dangers of the making it work stage is to fall into what I call relationship ruts. A relationship rut is when as a couple you begin to feel as if you are stuck, sort of going through the motions and not getting anywhere.

This is the point that some relationships die, because the only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.

Let's take a look at some of the signs of relationship ruts and what not to do, and then what to do to get out of the rut and keep the spark alive.

Signs of Relationship Ruts

One sure sign and conclusive evidence of a relationship rut is if the following conversation sounds familiar -

"What do want to do tonight?" "I don't know, whatever you want to do." "I don't know what I want to do, whatever you want to do is fine." "Where do you want to eat?" "I don't know, where do you want to eat?" ETC - ETC - ETC - yuck!

Other signs of relationship ruts include;

- Doing the same thing over over again and it not being enjoyable

- Having the same conversation over and over again

- Having that strange sense of "relationship deja vu" - we've been here before.

- Arguing and bickering just for something to do

What Not To Do

We all try to solve the problem of relationship ruts in our own way. Here are some solutions that I've seen couples try that are worth avoiding;

- Keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results

- Blame your partner or accuse them of being boring

- Convince yourself that life would be much more fun with someone else

- Make major changes just for the sake of change. For example, move (just a geographical cure) or have a child.

What To Do

Having said all that, here are a few suggestions for breaking out of relationship ruts;

- Begin by remembering what is was that first attracted you to this person in the first place. You may have forgotten some things and may be surprised by what you remember

- Do something "safely out of character." In the song "Dirt Gets Under The Fingernails" by Harry Chapin, the prim, proper and neat wife goes out and buys art supplies and makes a mess while the always dirty mechanic husband gets a shave, hair cut, manicure and new clothes. Surprise each other.

- Do some of the things you may have enjoyed as a child: buy a coloring book, some play dough, put on some roller skates, etc.

- Use your creativity! One way to do this would be to brainstorm all the crazy, absurd, and ridiculous ideas you can think of, that you would never do. Then go back over your list and see if there are the seeds for some useful creative solutions.

- Make a list of all the things you like to do for fun. Then pick one you that you may not have in a very long time.

As the songwriter says, making love stay can be one of the more difficult tasks in relationships. Avoiding and/or getting out of relationships ruts can go a long way to keeping the spark alive.

For f'ree weekly tips and tools for growing your relationship and keeping it strong, subscribe to Jeff Herring's online newsletter "Great Relationships Tips of the Week" at http://www.SecretsofGreatRelationships.com AND receive a special report on "10 Things to Consider Before Your Next Relationship Argument.

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