Updated: Sep 7, 2020
It can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day survival mode of raising a family and forget how it all started.
Here are 9 ways to remember why you fell in love, got married, and had kids in the first place.
1. Make a List
Your husband didn't take out the trash when you asked him -- and it's the third time this week. You hinted about your upcoming anniversary and he still dropped the ball. Why doesn't he pay more attention?
Your wife started crying -- again -- and you just don't get it. It's never that big of a deal! She always starts crying over the dumbest things. And let's not even talk about the nagging over the trash.
We've all been irritated with our spouse at some point. And when something happens that brings back that irritation it's easy to remember all the past reasons you've ever been irritated at them. You've got an ongoing list in your head.
If you don't put a stop to this cycle it's easy to set yourself on a path to divorce. Put an end to it by making a new list -- one of gratitude.
Next time you start feeling irritated or angry at your spouse, stop and make a list (in your mind or on paper) of all the things you love about them and are grateful for -- the color of their eyes or the way they wash the dishes or play with the kids. It might be hard to do this at first but look for something, anything.
I know of one woman who had been so angry at her spouse for so long that all she could come up with was, "He's good at breathing." If that's where you have to start then do it!
Make a gratitude list to replace your list of irritations and grievances, and then look for reasons to make that list grow.
2. Get a Vision
Most couples don't have a better marriage because they don't have a vision of what a 'better marriage' looks like -- instead, it's a vague, nebulous sort of thing somewhere out in the ether.
Get clear! Write it down! What does your ideal marriage look like? What does it feel like? What do you do together? What do you say together? How do other people see your marriage, especially your children?
Until you know exactly what you want it's impossible to create it. If you continue to complain about how bad things are you'll just keep getting more of the same. Get clarity on what you want in your marriage and then go to work to create it.
3. (Re)Discover Shared Interests
Friends do things together. They aren't clones with the exact same brain, but they do have some shared interests. You and your spouse had them once. It's time to do some digging to discover what they are.
Do you both love good food? Hiking? Art? Breathing (yes, it's a thing to be interested in)? Do you love Thai culture or studying language or literature or 16th-century poetry? Maybe you're both into anime or rare dog breeds.
Maybe you want to build libraries in Africa or hike to the base camp of Mt. Everest. Or perhaps you're passionate about education and want to build a new type of school for your grandchildren or teach your kids how to sail.