It seems to happen to most couples at some time or another in a marriage. The distance or “roommate” bug comes up and bites you. Busy lives get in the way of spending time together, talking, connecting, and being intimate. Kids, sports, activities, jobs, volunteering, suddenly take over what used to be the time and space for passion and fun with each other. It seems like for many couples, it happens so slowly, they do not even know it is happening or that it is getting bad, until they wake up one day and realize they don’t really know the person lying next to them. Before you know it there are two completely separate lives trying to live one marriage. Different jobs, friends, and hobbies end up leading to disaster for many couples.
As humans we are designed to be needy. I think some would rather pretend this part of them is not true, but let’s face it, we wouldn’t be in relationships if we didn’t have a need to be needed. When we are in a connected and intimate place with our spouse our neediness is met. It isn’t a 100% all the time, but overall the neediness that we have within us is calm, quiet, and not screaming at us. But, when a marriage is in a place of separateness, or in a place of more “I-ness” and not enough “we-ness” sometimes the needy bug comes up and bites us. Sometimes it bites before we even know it is there. It is similar to going to an annual physical for the doctor and finding out something is wrong with you that you never knew was wrong. The doctor puts you on medication, and bam! You feel so much better. Unfortunately with marriage, neediness can be similar. You don’t realize how much your needs are not getting met until someone else starts meeting them.
So, I think it is clear where this is going. Separateness and living lives independent of our spouse is the perfect recipe for an affair to take place. You don’t realize you are as lonely as you are until someone starts complimenting you or spending time with you. It all starts out innocently enough, but once it starts that neediness being full feels good! We want to stop but can’t. The feelings that happen at the beginning of a relationship, the head over heels feelings start and we remember how wonderful it feels to be connected with someone else, and to not being living as roommates with someone.
It is not always an affair that can occur many times this combination makes conditions ripe for an addiction to start or increase, depression to occur, or just enough distance is created that it is difficult or near impossible to come back from. I don’t say this to scare people, but say it to light the fires for change. Now is the time to be real about where your marriage is. It is easier to live in the place of “oh it’s not that bad” or “after the kids are gone we will reconnect.” Sometimes at that point things are too late. BE SELFISH WITH YOUR MARRIAGE! Make it a priority, cherish it, and work hard at it. Do not let the separate lives bug come up and bite your marriage. Now is the time for change, now is the time to be proactive.