Is This Distraction Killing Your Marriage's Romance?

If you aren't already, you need to become preoccupied with your spouse. (Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash)

Being a lover is part of your history prior to marrying the love of your life. Being a lover wasn't forced on you, taught to you or something you studied.

Rather, being a lover was part of who you are. We were all lovers to some degree or another prior to marriage.

Most of us were lovers to more than one person. When I use the term "lover," I'm not in any manner alluding to sex or sexuality. I mean you were giving of yourself in some or several ways toward another that symbolized or meant "I love you, the way you want to be loved."

In this article, I want to discuss being preoccupied with your spouse and how this can help you become a better lover. I want you to remember who you were in the past. This will help you know how to better love your spouse.

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You were a lover, you are a lover and you will always be a lover. You can range from being a terrible lover to an amazing lover. The kind of lover you are to your spouse is up to you. Furthermore, exploring our preoccupations can indicate what kind of lover we are. Pay special attention to the memories and preoccupations in your life that specifically apply to your spouse.

He or she is the one you promised to be a lover to until you or they die. Use the principles found in this article as a road map to be a better lover to your spouse.

Preoccupied

What do you think of when I say the word "preoccupied"?

Perhaps words such as "adrift," "aloof," "daydreaming" or "unfocused" come to mind? We can get preoccupied about sports (especially in certain regions in our country), politics, work, hobbies, technology, entertainment and apps.

The world we live in provides ample opportunity to divide and distract our heart, mind and emotions on any given day. However, when a lover is preoccupied with the one they love, it is really a different experience than being preoccupied about anything else in the universe.

When you're preoccupied with the one you love, it's almost all-consuming. You wonder what they're doing, thinking, feeling or experiencing while at the same time you're working, in class, just doing chores or other activities. Then you become preoccupied with past conversations together, hugs, kisses, notes or things you did together. You go into an almost timeless state, reviewing the movie of your relationship and pushing pause to think and feel about this or that moment.

Then, there's the future preoccupation of what you'll do later today, next week, month, year and so on. Your preoccupation with the one you love goes into thousands of directions—what they wore, how they smelled, what they did, how they smiled, how they touched you, the activities and people you interacted with together, what you learned about them, how they think and feel, how compatible they are to you and how they complement you. They're amazing, wonderful, and just thinking of them gives you a warm feeling.

Today, I was on my way to the Denver airport, which is two hours away from my house. Often on this drive, I think about the past, present and future with Lisa. I think of things we have done or seen together, what I enjoy about her and what I look forward to doing when I get back.

The preoccupation switch can turn off in a marriage as responsibilities such as the house, car, neighbors, church and children are added to life. These things can make you distracted. This functional couple can start to emphasize task instead of relationship. They become preoccupied over what needs to be done, not their lover. They focus on what needs to be paid, not their lover. They think about their lover's weaknesses instead of their strengths.

This is easy to figure out. If I were to ask you make a list of your spouse's positive qualities, how long would that take? If I were to ask you to make a list of your spouse's negative characteristics, how long would that take? Whatever would take you the longest might be your focus.

Getting back your preoccupation for your spouse is like getting back into shape if you've put on a few pounds. If you've been in shape before, you know the importance of getting cardio exercise back into your life. If you swim, hike, bike, run, play a sport or just hit that treadmill, you have to get back to actually doing that activity.

To remind yourself, you can put some of your thoughts and ideas into your phone or on sticky notes, or use some other method. You'll need to set aside some time daily, just a few minutes. You can mentally go over a list while you are driving, but it can limit the quality of your preoccupation, and for your sake and others, I want you focused on your driving. You can put a daily alarm on your phone and find a quiet place to close your eyes and think, feel or imagine about your spouse.

Here are some thoughts to help you get back into the habit of being preoccupied with your lover again:

  1. What I remember about first meeting my spouse.
  2. Our first real conversation together.
  3. Our first date.
  4. Our first kiss.
  5. Their dreams.
  6. Their favorite people and why.
  7. Things they loved to do.
  8. Special trips.
  9. First Christmas, Thanksgiving.
  10. Their first birthday with you.
  11. How they celebrated you.
  12. Your first birthday with them.
  13. Things you like doing together.
  14. Your inside jokes.
  15. Something special about the proposal.
  16. Something special about the wedding.
  17. Something special about the honeymoon.
  18. Your first house.
  19. First pet together.
  20. Memories of children with them.
  21. A time they were there for you.
  22. A health issue you went through together.
  23. A spiritual time together.
  24. A time of when you got back together after a fracture in your relationship.
  25. A kiss you'll never forget.

That's 25 quick thoughts you already have in your head ready to remember. When you practice being preoccupied, try to actually not just remember the thoughts but allow yourself to feel the feeling of these positive memories together. Remember that lovers, as a general rule, feed the positive and starve the negative thoughts.

Being preoccupied as a lover never has to end. As a lover, you look for the good, find it and ruminate on it constantly. If you stay a lover-spouse, preoccupation stays with you.

Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, his newest title, Lover Spouse. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on hisFacebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at heart2heart@xc.org.

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