Everyone needs a moment to refresh themselves. The human need to rest, reset, and refresh is pretty much hard-wired into the genetic code. Violating this set of biological instructions can work for a while, but eventually the system will ask for a reckoning.
Just the same, people often crave novelty. The exploration of newness. The creation of purpose and adventure. This can be a bit problematic in relationships. How one goes about creating newness and adventure can greatly influence the longevity and quality of happiness in a relationship.
For that reason, this blogger is taking this month to refresh his thinking, update the look of the site, and recoup his motivation in writing. After enjoying the snippet of Mary and Jim’s life, take a tour of the site and let me know what you think.
Below is the story, a fictional one of course, of Jim and Mary who have fallen into a bit of a rut. Not a bad one. Just a regular human one. Many can identify with it. At some point, they need to evaluate how things are and freshen up the scene a bit so that they don’t stagnate in love. Every relationship gets comfortable. Every person enjoys the predictable comfort and warmth (or chaos and conflict) they are used to. Refreshing is not tearing down and discarding. It’s just tweaking so that the relationship can keep up with the individual growth that happens over the course of time.
The Day to Day Reality
Being early risers and late sleepers, Mary and Jim were constantly treading water in their lives. Responsibilities pull and tug at their attention. There’s always something urgent to address. Working long hours in careers that are in constant need of continuing education, this dual income couple needs to keep up with the piling expense that comes with modern living.
The college debt won’t go away by itself. The car note, the home loan, the credit cars, and the personal lines of credit just keep finding magical ways to bloom. Let’s not talk about the constant upgrades of phones to have the bells and whistles or the fast fashion that keeps changing it’s mind week to week.
No sooner Jim finds a way to save time by hiring a lawn care specialist, Mary finds a way to improve her free time by hiring a food delivery service. Of course, that extra saved time is now utilized in overtime work to pay for the services that freed up the time to begin with.
Who sleeps in on the weekend? Not Mary. Not Jim. No, they have a full list of activities to attend and address on the weekends, which is why they had to hire out laundry and dry cleaning to experts. Thank goodness for mobile hair cut services that brings the studio to your driveway, as there is no time to go to the hair salon anyway.
Stagnant by design?
There is no time for dates, no time for vacations, no time for remodeling anything. It’s always the other’s fault. Always someone else’s mess. There just wasn’t enough time to talk face to face. Especially when keeping up with the latest Game of Throne or House of Cards. Don’t forget the Monday Night Football and the Thursday Night Book Club and church functions.
Quick video chats and text messages, even at the dinner table, is the mode of communication de jour. If one doesn’t update the calendar, the other doesn’t know anything about what’s happening in the life of the beloved spouse.
Pour Rumba can’t pick up the discarded clothing that Jim is accused of leaving on the floor. Maybe hiring a housekeeper for the stairs might help. Good thing for the smart feeder that keeps the dog and cat well fed after the dog walker refills the device for an extra fee.
The relationship is constantly on auto-pilot. Jim and Mary can proudly say that they don’t have massive fights and dragged out arguments simply because there is no actual time for that. But then, there is all the suppressed frustrations that comes with the lack of dialogue around preferences. Mary can’t stand that Jim is too lazy to fill the dishwasher. Jim is frustrated that Mary never remembers to empty out the dishwasher. But they push that under the rug, as there is no time to wallow in anger.
In case anyone is wondering about their lack of children in this picture, it’s not from the lack of scheduled intimate moments twice a month, instead it’s from not having time to plan when to have any, let alone raise any children. If one looked far enough into the future calendar entries, you’d quickly see that they don’t agree on when is a good time to have children.
The Social Net
Mary and Jim are the safety net of their community. They run mentorship programs, they coach various leagues, they are peer advisers, and they are community advocates too. The world depends on them. They are very important. Their motto is that one will sleep when they’re dead.
Then, there is the situation with the nieces and nephews. One can easily assume that the summer is the season of parenting for Jim and Mary. The children of their siblings have the best of times and have the best of trips, activities, gifts, and memories whenever they vacation with Uncle Jim and Auntie Mary.
This is the main reason why there is no time for vacations. Someone is always coming over to swim in their pool or attend one of the camps they run or just have a massive sleep over after binge watching Disney Movies a few nights in a row.
The other parents just love the generosity because that means they can go on vacation themselves and work on their relationship. Not that anyone ever wondered if Jim and Mary could use a vacation themselves.
And so it was, year in and year out, Jim and Mary pushed the limits of their activities. The super heroes of the community. The pillars of society. The most well oiled crushing machine that never needed a tune up.