If you feel like order and organization are draining your relationship instead of energizing it, here are five very real reasons your routine may be negatively impacting your partnership:
1. Mystery? History!
Having a down pat routine paralyzes spontaneity, excitement and adventure. And these are all things that contributed to those butterflies you and your partner felt in the beginning. There is a very real and undeniable contribution mystery and the unknown play in courtship. It's finding out what possibilities lay ahead that make dating exciting and knowing exactly how each day is mapped out that makes many marriages exhausting.
Not knowing the future may seem impractical, but implemented in strategic ways, it can add a spark that has desperately been missing.
2. Forward momentum
There is real value in a marriage when spouses spend time looking forward to things. Having a mapped out marriage with a ridged routine brings far off things close up and constantly within reach. If you know everything that's about to happen in just about any situation, there is little sensation of moving forward in life, or love.
Calling on a phenomenon called "gap theory," when there is a gap between what you know and what you want to know, there is a natural push to close that gap and move into the unknown. You move forward on your path, the landmarks don't come to you.
3. Idle time
The boredom that routine can trigger leaves space for inappropriate exploration. Unfortunate behaviors can spawn from feelings of stagnation. Emotional or physical betrayals are common among spouses who feel stuck and suffocated by over-organization and planning in their marriages. Extra time not spent being spontaneous and exploring constructive outlets together can spell disaster if left to fester separately.
4. Chemical connection
Believe it or not, anxiety, fear and excitement create chemical reactions in the brain and body that bond people together and invite a sense of enjoyment. Adrenaline, oxytocin and dopamine output change as the butterflies of a fresh relationship transition into the stable reality of a marriage.
Security of routine may feel comforting to one partner but confining to another. So as one feels more connected by future planning, the other feels saddled and stuck.
5. Planning crisis
Having an overscheduled life robs your romance of flexibility. The ability to adapt and change course at a moment's notice without burning out, breaking down, or going into panic mode is a necessary and admirable quality. Fluidity in a relationship makes it stronger and better able to handle any situation as it arises. But remember, graceful flexibility, just like stoic organization, is a muscle that needs to be exercised.
Routine is sometimes inevitable in a marriage, especially as children come into the picture. But keeping the excitement, spontaneity and flexibility in your partnership, will keep boredom and idle time from creeping in and derailing your best laid plans.
Stay sharp and on the edge of what's on the horizon in your relationship, not only because it's fun, but because it works.