According to a comprehensive study of marriage by Penn State researcher Paul Amato and others, couples are spending less time together than ever. Spouses are eating alone, doing friend and other activities apart from their spouses. For some couples this trend is troubling. It loosens the attachment so important to creating a strong marriage.
When emotional connections are stronger with those outside the marriage than inside, there is a risk for affairs. And maintaining the marital friendship is the foundation of what Gottman calls a strong marital house. So what can a couple do if they find themselves drifting apart and vacationing alone?
One idea is to find an emotionally focused couples therapist (EFT–emotionally focused therapy) who works on creating a safe and secure attachment in the marriage. The therapy can help couples develop a feeling of togetherness, become more open and responsive to each other. Therapy helps couples look at deeper feelings under their behavior and resolve hurts and wounds that may be prompting the separateness. Others couples may just need to make spending time together a priority and re-engage in together activities again. When couples spend time together and turn to each other in times of difficulty, the marital bond grows.
So if you are feeling alone, pay attention to that feeling and do something about it. While you may be one of the few people who is not bothered by living a parallel life with your partner, most of us want that secure and safe attachment based on marital friendship and togetherness.
Study from: Alone Together: How Marriage in America Is Changing, (Harvard University Press, 2007)