We stood in line for our specialty ice cream near the conclusion of a spectacular date night. It was there Jennifer made a statement that delivered a significant sting. “Tonight has been great, but I’m not real optimistic that it will last,” she said. She expected that the marriage roller coaster would quickly bring us down from the happiness high we were experiencing that evening.
That particular date night, Jennifer and I were able to honestly and calmly discuss the current state of our marriage relationship. The calm discussion allowed both of us to better understand the other’s viewpoints on issues. Likewise, it offered the opportunity to make plans that could eliminate some of our relationship challenges.
However, the harsh reality was identified in Jennifer statement. We were able to have a meaningful discussion while enjoying a great dinner, a peaceful environment, absent of kids and parenting duties. What would happen when we returned home? What would happen after the weekend; when the rigors of work and school consumed so much of us?
The stress free and meaningful dinner represents the short, calm pause at the top of a roller coaster. There you can see clearly across the amusement park. There you can feel the cool breeze even on the hottest of summer days. There you can actually feel the adrenaline course through your body in preparation for all the excitement soon the follow. Roller coasters are fun at the amusement park; not in marriage.
After the short pause at the top, the roller coaster plummets back to the earth with speeds that locks your head against the head rest. If you’re lucky, the roller coaster will navigate the following peaks & valleys without giving you whiplash. All that violent up and down is considered fun by so many.
The marriage roller coaster, however, often damages more than just your neck. The marriage roller coaster impacts your heart. The drastic shifts between highs and lows in a marriage relationship create a discouraged heart. Ups and downs in a marriage relationship are inevitable. Let’s consider how we can modify the Goliath sized marriage roller coaster into the smooth and consistent carousel.
Make plans during the calm peaks
Like Jennifer and I during our date night, have open and honest discussion about your marriage relationship during the calm peaks in your relationship. Don’t try to force a meaningful conversation into moments of argument or high stress. This would be like trying to discuss the need to stop drinking with an alcoholic while he is drunk. Don’t bother.
Schedule and utilize well those rare moments that are void of other distractions like children and career. Discuss without argument the challenges your marriage relationship is facing. Agree on steps you can take to smooth out the rough areas of life that are sure to follow.
Hold your hands up during the smooth sections
The smoothest section of every roller coaster is the descent from the first hill. Sure, speed picks up quickly, but the sailing is smooth. This is where you have the most fun. You scream with enjoyment. You hold you hands high to flail in the wind. You are having fun.
Be sure to celebrate those sections of your married life that are smooth sailing. By celebrating these moments, you tend to elongate the happiness. It’s been said that we receive the behavior that we reward. By celebrating your happy moments, you train yourselves to continue to behave in a manner that creates similar happiness.
Hold on tight during the rocky sections
When the roller coaster hits the bottom of every hill and takes a hard shift in direction, things begin to get rough. Some will continue to hold their hands in the air, but an eerie silences falls over the riders. Either the G forces have taken their breath or the violent vibration of the car has muffled their voice.
It is during these rocky sections of your marriage relationship that you need to hold tightly to your spouse. It’s likely that you just need to be quiet, but do not push your spouse away. This would be equivalent to unbuckling the seat belt on the roller coaster. Acknowledge you’re in a rocky section, that it isn’t fun, but that you are committed to hold on tight.
By taking these three steps, the dramatic ups and downs of the marriage relationship can be smoothed. Even the most ardent roller coaster rider has to take a break from the ride. There are no breaks from the marriage ride. Everyone can enjoy the slow and steady ride of the carousel. The marriage carousel can turn in circles forever, while overing slight ups and downs, as everyone continues to enjoy the ride.
1) Read 4 Nuggets of Wisdom That Will Instantly Make You a Better Husband
2) Read 5 Steps To A Successful Marriage