It was late at night, and I was sick. It felt like someone had poured concrete in my head and chest. I had a sharp, hacking cough that sounded like a hammer on a tin roof. And though I had elevated my head in the bed, I was still tossing and turning.
My wife was in the bed, but was unable to sleep. (Gee, I wonder why.) She had spent most of the night lying in bed reading, but early in the morning she put down the book, turned off the light, and laid her head down facing me. (You can almost guess where this is going.) Unbeknownst to me, I rolled over facing her and coughed…one of those forceful, spraying coughs…right in her face!
I’m pretty sure this was one of those times when she thought, “It’s official! The magic has gone out of this marriage.”
Has there been a time when you thought, “We’ve lost the magic.” Maybe it was when…
- He stopped opening the door, or she stopped waiting for the door to be opened.
- Snoring replaced pillow talk.
- People stopped bothering to close the door when going to the bathroom.
- A night on the town became a trip to Walmart.
- Sexy nightwear turned into flannel PJs covered with panda bears.
- Bodily noises no longer prompted embarrassment, or even an “excuse me.”
- Date nights became difficult, because you didn’t know what to talk about.
- You rolled over at night and felt a naked body, only to discover it was one of your kids…and you weren’t disappointed.
- The only surprise you got for your birthday was, “You want to go somewhere to eat?”
- (Fill yours in here.)
When it comes to the magic in marriage, you need to ask three questions…
WHAT IS THE MAGIC?
When we talk about losing the magic in marriage, we’re usually talking about things like…
Some call it “chemistry.” Other call it “connection” Whatever you call it, you’re usually talking about the kind of feelings you had when you were dating and first married.
HOW DO WE LOSE THE MAGIC?
Every marriage will experience the “we’ve lost the magic” stage. You’ll probably experience it multiple times. It happens when romantic marriage dissolves into real marriage. When your spouse’s differences move from attractive to aggravating. It happens when the delights of marriage give way to the demands of marriage, and love feels like it’s getting crowded out by life.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO GET THE MAGIC BACK?
Funny thing. when I was trying to type the word “magic” a minute ago, it some how came out as “medic!” That subtle accident seems appropriate, because when our marriage loses the magic, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that something’s seriously wrong.
But, this is normal. It happens in marriage at various time and for various reasons. So when it happens, don’t freak out and don’t be hard on your marriage. Just begin to find some ways to put a little magic back into your marriage. You can use the acronym M-A-G-I-C to get you started.
- M – Make some changes. It could be anything. Change the way you dress. Do something completely different for date night. Start having a date night. Change a routine. Try a different sexual position. Institute a no TV and no device night. Go to an event you wouldn’t normally go to. The possibilities are endless! Just try making some changes.
- A – Accept the differences. Often, the magic goes out of a marriage when we spend more time and energy trying to change what we don’t like about our spouse, than appreciating their differences…like we did when we were dating. I know this may be a stretch for some people, but nothing breaths new life into a spouse (or a marriage) like being accepted and appreciated for who and how they are.
- G – Give up unrealistic expectations. We all go into marriage with unrealistic expectations about how our spouse and our marriage should be. But it doesn’t take long for those expectations to run head-long into reality. The problem comes when we continue to hold onto those unrealistic expectations and expect our spouse and marriage to conform to them. The quicker you can realize your unrealistic expectations and let them go, the more the magic will come back into your marriage. (Notice we’re talking about unrealistic expectations. It is not unrealistic to expect to be treated with respect and kindness.)
- I – Invest in your spouse. Nothing will suck the magic out of a marriage like sliding into an it’s-all-about-me perspective. When spouses take this stance, magic turns to manipulation. An all-about-me-attitude turns pulling together into tug of war. It’s a sign you need to invest in your spouse. Invest time, compliments, encouragement, things that are important to them…just invest in them. And do it whether they’re investing in you or not. Someone has to start, and you’ll be surprised how it will eventually change how they invest.
- C – Communicate lovingly and liberally. Generally, the longer we’re married, the less we communicate. Some of this is understandable. The longer we live together, the better we know each other and the less we feel we need to communicate verbally. Also, the longer we’re together the more the demands of work, kids, and life tend to crowd out the space and time for communication. But the more intentional both of you are in communicating lovingly and liberally, the more magic you will find in your marriage. So carve out the space and time for it.
ONE FINAL WORD ABOUT THE MAGIC.
Can a marriage lose the magic? Yes! But just a reminder. Sometimes, we haven’t lost the magic. We’ve actually gained a new kind of magic. That magic is a safety, security, and a comfortableness that allows us to be more relaxed, more honest, and more ourselves. It’s a sign of an acquired, unshakeable commitment. And that is MAGIC!