By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Their broken washer was under warranty. Getting it replaced was more complicated than you might think. She’d been doing laundry by hand in the bathtub for more than a week because her car’s starter was also not working and taking an Uber to the laundry mat didn’t seem like a practical plan.
Her husband is a mechanic hobbyist. He had the starter. He just hadn’t gotten it replaced. His work was insane. It felt like he was working double time to just keep up. So, the car sat in the driveway like a memorial to all the things that weren’t working inside the house and inside her life.
The replacement washer was supposed to be delivered two days before, but it wasn’t. When her son’s gym teacher sent a note home saying he needed clean socks and uniform for class, she almost cried. She reminded herself women did laundry by hand for centuries and just started washing – except doing laundry in the bathtub caused the toilet to back-up – not the nice clean kind of back-up, but the other kind, you know the really messy kind of toilet problem.
Her husband was late coming home again. When he walked into the bathroom she was plunging the toilet like her life depended on it because it felt like it. He glibly asked her how her day was and when she turned to answer him, there was literally poop on her face. In shock, he looked at her and said, “Wow. That’s not sexy.”
And she dropped the plunger, found her car keys, and walked out – not forever, but she wondered if she wanted to. She sat in her car for three hours watching the river flow by pondering what her life had become.
He texted five times to apologize. He called, over and over again. She didn’t answer. She called me instead.
“The new car smell has really worn off with this relationship. I miss the early days of our relationship. I miss who I was. I miss a life that had more spark and less shit. I don’t know how we landed here, but I don’t want to be here anymore.”
She wasn’t exactly saying she wanted to leave her marriage. She wasn’t exactly sure she wanted to stay or go. She didn’t know anything other than that she didn’t want to do laundry in the tub, plunge toilets, make another sack lunch, or crawl into bed with a man she wasn’t going to have sex with who was sarcastic about poop on her face. She didn’t not love her husband, but she couldn’t remember what it felt like to feel it.
Life happens. Life is messy. Life sometimes comes with healthy portions of shit and when life is happening in the sacred container of a relationship it can stop feeling sacred really damn quick.
Now to be clear, this isn’t all about the shit on her face. A lot of it had to do with the fact that she and her husband hadn’t been on a proper date in more than a year. They hadn’t had sex in months. Her husband was late coming home from work more often than he was on time. Getting her car fixed wasn’t the only thing he was behind on doing.
She hadn’t done her makeup for more than a special occasion for more than two years. She felt lucky if she showered daily. She’d quit listening when she asked him how his day was, even when he answered. She said she was too busy to take any time for him, but really she was just tired, disengaged, and intentionally isolating in her own marriage. She was the one who forgot their last anniversary.
When the day to day grind of life makes a relationship feel like more work than play there will come a breaking point, and it will come sooner than later. Shit happens, toilets plug, bills pile up, dogs get sick, kids need clean laundry – and if the relationship that holds all those things doesn’t get attention, that relationship will demand it and the demand won’t be pleasant.
There needs to be more good stuff in a relationship than the hard stuff. You might want to think the balance of that is up to the Gods of fate, but it’s not. It’s up to you. You’ve got to make the good things happen to insulate your relationship from all the other stuff. New car smell is going to be temporary. A great relationship can last forever, but it won’t if you leave it on autopilot.
Great relationships happen by design not by accident. You aren’t a victim of your daily routine – you create those routines. You design your own habits. You can craft the special moments and the memories. If you’re not designing habits, routines, and rituals that insulate your marriage from plugged toilets and broken down cars, that’s on you. And I might add, one person acting intentionally to create rituals and habits that support a relationship can save a marriage.
Here’s the thing: It’s easy to think keeping or losing the spark in your relationship is out of your control, it either happens or it doesn’t. A lot of people think it’s inevitable or even natural. Thinking like that will ensure your roommate / not lover status before you know it.
And you might think I’m preaching here, being a little sanctimonious. I’m not because I am a woman who forgot my last anniversary also. I know how it happens. But I also know nothing is more important than keep my marriage on track and none of my excuses are worth shit.
Priority = where you spend your time, money, and energy.
If I’m not giving my marriage the time money and energy it deserves or requires, it doesn’t matter how often I say my marriage is a priority. Words without action mean nothing.
You can make time to touch.
You can make time to listen.
You can find the energy to make love.
You can take an evening for a date night even if you can’t leave the house.
You can force yourself into the shower and put on a nice outfit.
You can find a space to connect.
You can be present for your marriage.
And so can I.
Life will make you feel like a victim. It will happen to you unless you get yourself in the driver’s seat and stay grounded in what really matters. A healthy marriage isn’t hard work – that’s a myth. A sick relationship will be the hardest work you’ll ever have to do.
So, a word to the wise might be, feed yourself and your marriage before starvation sets in.
Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.
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