Many of us have heard of the “Friendship Zone”. It’s what happens when dating or getting to know someone. One person has romantic intentions while the other person feels the relationship is simply platonic. Unfortunately some people find themselves perpetually trying to get OUT of the “friend zone”!
While the “Friend Zone” may be an issue for singles, married couples have their own challenge! If married couples are not careful, they could easily find themselves in the “roommate zone”. The roommate zone is when you and your spouse have started to operate more like two people cohabitating and not two people building a life together. You pay bills together, help one another out with the children, but the bond between the two of you is friendly at best.
Staying connected doesn’t just happen. A couple must be intentional about engaging with one another in a way that nourishes all aspects of their relationship. If there is a lack of intention, passivity and neglect creeps in and with that the “roommate zone” can become the norm.
So what do you do? What are some practical ways that can help couples stay out of the “roommate zone”? In addition to staying spiritually connected through prayer, check out the 10 applicable tips below:
1. Keep it real to keep it right. Living in denial is not healthy for couples. If you want to stay connected, be honest with one another about your relationship and what you both need. Assuming your spouse knows what you need in the relationship is dangerous. It’s important to ask the tough questions. In addition, successful couples understand the ebbs and flows of a relationship. They are not afraid of seasons where things may seem a little off, because they know what it takes to get back on track. When we keep it real, it helps us keep it right!
2. Give one another space. Spending time together of course is important. But just as important is the willingness to give one another space to do your own thing. Whether it is a day of shopping with the girls, a round of golf with the fellas or even just a day to yourself, having time apart can be good for your romance. If you are always together, how will you ever have a chance to miss one another?
3. Give grace the way you want it. Can I help you? Or maybe can I help your spouse? Listen…you are not as easy to live with as you may think that you are! Ouch! I know that may not feel good but it’s all good! The truth is we all have ways about us that can be annoying. But what often happens is that we are much easier on ourselves than we are on our spouses. We look at our issues with so much grace (“God knows my heart”) but we look at the issues of our spouse through the lens of irritation (“Why can’t he/she get it together?”). Challenge yourself to give your spouse the same grace you would want to receive.
4. Don’t stop dreaming. You remember when the two of you first got together and you had such big plans for your future? Most couples start out with so many dreams but life happens and you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day “stuff”. Finding time to dream-cast will help you and your spouse reconnect as you imagine what is to come and build/plan for it together!
5. Learn the art of compromise. If you are going to live with peace with someone else, you must learn how to compromise. Just because it’s the way you’ve always done it, doesn’t mean that’s the way it always has to be. If you know that you can be stuck in your ways, it is important that you commit to giving in more than you do! Compromising helps you both feel respected and connected.
6. Be a safe place. Life is tough. People can be harsh. Drama is around every corner. That’s why you want to make sure you are a place of refuge from the “storms” of life. Creating an environment that makes your spouse feel at peace is a beautiful gift to your marriage. That doesn’t mean that you ignore issues or even sugarcoat shortcomings. It does mean however that you are wise enough to know when it’s time to “go there” and when it’s time to simply be there.
7. Be the President of your spouse’s fan club. Go ahead…create your flyer…order your pins…it’s time for you to run for office! And truthfully, there shouldn’t be anyone else fit for the job! You want to be the President of your spouse’s fan club. Make a commitment that no one will out cheer you when it comes to your spouse! Be the loudest person celebrating, encouraging and supporting your partner for life! Remember when they win, you win!
8. Play together. Why do we take things so seriously? Come on…lighten up a bit! Take some time to just enjoy one another. Be silly. Laugh. Act up. A couple that plays together, stays together.
9. Consider your spouse daily. The Book of Hebrews tells us that we should “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”. To consider someone means to take them into account, to think about them. Can you imagine how much more connected we would feel to our partners if we both intentionally considered one another daily?
10. Be intimate. Have sex. A lot of sex. Physical intimacy is a gift from God for married couples. And while it feels good (or should), it also serves a greater purpose. Sex really does help married couples become one physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Its purpose is to keep us joined together even when the demands of life try and tear us apart!
Remember, intentionality is key in your romance. Applying these tips will help you and your spouse stay connected rather than falling victim to the “roommate zone”…that place where two people are living together without growing together!
Your turn! What tips would you give to help keep the spark in your romance?