10 Things I’ve Learned from Three Failed Marriages, Part 4: Be Spontaneous

"I love spontaneity. Like the let's-go-jump-in-the-lake-with-all-our-clothes-on kind of spontaneous. Sometimes you just need to let go." —Lauren and Shane

“I love spontaneity. Like the let’s-go-jump-in-the-lake-with-all-our-clothes-on kind of spontaneous. Sometimes you just need to let go.” —Lauren and Shane

Special thanks to Lauren and Shane for permissions to use their photograph.

Be Spontaneous

This wasn’t initially one of my ten things I’ve learned from three failed marriages because, frankly, it’s a subject I’m not very conversant with, other than intellectually. However, a friend suggested it to me and I agree that this would be a very good thing to have in one’s marriage, even though I have never experienced it to any great degree.

Looking back, I think one of the problems facing married couples, at least in my own marriages, is boredom. This most often translates into watching an inordinate amount of television or immersing oneself in projects that only involve self.

What this is saying is, for instance, “I (we) would rather watch mindless entertainment on television, including sports, than communicate with you (each other). It is more important to me (us) to watch television than it is to enjoy your (each others’) company. I (we) find more enjoyment in being mind-numbed in front of the boob tube than I (we) would, say, playing a game with you (each other) or going out to dinner.” And so forth.

While it is true that television can elicit conversion on occasion between those who watch it, it is also true that when we are watching television, we are most often wholly absorbed in what is being displayed. I’ve heard very little meaningful conversation when a husband and wife or even a family sit together and watch television.

As much as television has contributed to the American way of life, I also believe that it has contributed much to the destruction of the American way of life: family interaction.

So, here are some ways to inject spontaneity into one’s marriage. However, we must remember that in merely making these suggestions for spontaneity, one would think, would take away from the very spontaneity we are searching for. Nevertheless, we’re going ahead with it anyway.

I’m going to assume we’re dealing with mature adults here, as I’ve seen random acts of kindness flop because the receiver had issues where she wasn’t able to receive. That’s a whole ‘nother problem which should probably be dealt with.

Random acts of kindness

Smile. It costs nothing. It makes you feel good and it should make the “smilee” feel good, as well, especially if the smilee is in need of something to lift her up. It wouldn’t hurt to follow that up with a quick hug, longer, if she insists.

Smile a lot, especially if you don’t feel like smiling. It will do you good, as it releases endorphins into your system and you will feel better. And, it might even prompt a smile or two in return, doubling your pleasure.

Random acts of kindness don’t have to involve money but they can. For instance, flowers arriving at her door, especially when unexpected. The flowers won’t last very long, but the memories of them can.

If your wife is in the kitchen preparing dinner or washing up afterward, don’t plop yourself down in front of the television set. Go and help here, unless . . . she . . . insists . . . you . . . leave . . . the . . . kitchen . . . at . . . once! Some women are very possessive of their kitchens. In that case, enjoy your baseball game.

(Sorry, footballers, basketballers and hockeypuckers, I’m a Kansas City Royals baseball fan, so you get to watch Kansas City Royals baseball. That’s it. Final. Period.)

If it can be done, take your wife out to dinner on the spur of the moment. Of course, some wives like to be warned about such things. You know how they like to prepare. Events like this are remembered, unless, of course, it turns out you’ve married a very negative woman. In that case, good luck, as they will remember the negatives far more than the positives. Even so, you know you’ve tried.

Volunteer to put the kids to bed, if your wife is the one who customarily does it. It will not only help her out, but it will build up relationships with your children. Bedtime can be one of the most intimate times you will have with your children, as long as you don’t just rush in and rush out.

You get the idea.

Spontaneity can add romance to a marriage. Remember, there was a reason you married your wife: You wanted to be with her. You wanted to enjoy her company. You wanted to share your life with her, not just your space on the couch.

When a husband and wife start to go their own ways, it’s a sure sign they’re not committed to one another, but rather to their own selfishness. Sorry, that’s the way I see, having been there, done that, experienced that in return.

So, if you want to get a little excitement in your marriage, first of all, remember why you married each other; second, be spontaneous. It certainly can’t hurt, unless there are some deep-seated emotional problems that keep your sweetie from receiving. It happens.

Of course, there are other ways of being spontaneous than through random acts of kindness, but this will lay the groundwork for you. If I were writing a book, I’d get into more detail. Best wishes.

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