Ronda is co-director of Marriage Resource Center of Miami Valley, Springfield, Ohio
In our RINGS class we describe the "Journey to Disconnectedness" (by Tim and Linda Buttrey) where couples drift along a path of chronic busy-ness, fatigue and irritability until they find themselves totally disconnected and seeking fulfillment in addictions or other relationships.
With 36 years of marriage behind us and 20+ years of working with couples - we can confidently conclude that ALL couples experience seasons of high stress and busyness. There are times when there seems to be no end to work and family demands and life may feel like it's spiraling out of control.
We have seen young, committed couples move from "We will be together ALWAYS - no matter what" to "I don't recognize this person I'm living with anymore". We've been there ourselves.
A common theme running through the lives of these struggling couples are lives that are crazy busy with time demands that far exceed the ability of any human being to effectively manage. Our "Serotonin Tanks" are constantly running on empty and our ability to regulate emotions and effectively problem solve are greatly compromised - two skills critical to develop and sustain healthy relationships.
Our message to ourselves and other couples is to "H.A.L.T." Pay attention to the 12 serotonin depleters and 12 serotonin replenishers. Take time to de-stress and de-compress. (See previous blogs). Create a peaceful oasis in your busy day to connect with your spouse. Make time with your spouse a priority - just 10-15 minutes a day of quality intentional connecting (think RINGS chat) can reap huge relationship dividends. If you have NO IDEA what we're talking about - sign up for a RINGS class and we'll tell you.
Previously . . .
Unlocking the serotonin mystery (Part 1 of 3 posts)
The serotonin tank (Part 2 of 3 posts)