Routines are good. They create order, provide certainty, and make life easier. The challenge comes when a routine becomes a rut, a deep worn path. (Click on the title to read more.)
If you’ve ever traveled on a non-paved road in a car or on a bike and gotten in a rut, you know how challenging it is to get out of it without the risk of losing control, especially if you are traveling at a high speed.
In marriage, it can be easy to move from a routine to a rut without even noticing until you are deeply entrenched in it and it’s hard to get out. A rut is a routine that has become so accepted and automatic that it causes distance between a husband and wife, or at least creates complacency with the situation. If it happens with schedules, it can result in a couple being totally exhausted at the end of the day choosing to watch TV instead of using the time to talk and connect with each other. A couple may go to the same restaurants and even order the same meal each time. A couple could have the same pattern for sexual intimacy leading to a lack of fulfillment by one or both. There are many different types of ruts and paths for creating them.
The key is to take a look at your relationship and see if you are in a rut. You probably won’t have to look too far and wide because one of both of you will recognize it quickly. Awareness is the first step, but stopping there is not helpful. Next, talk about what steps you can take to break the habit, pattern, or behavior that is causing the rut. Then, take one step at a time to get out of the rut until you break free from it. You’ll know when you are out of the rut because there will be new life to your marriage. It will take time and energy, but it will be worth it!