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What’s a reasonable expectation to have of your lover?

There are three roles/relationships inside your singular marriage. Sometimes you’re in sync with your lover and everything just flows. These flow times happen when each of you is occupying the same role at the same time. But what happens when you’re not in sync? And how can you get in sync with your spouse so you can be better lovers?

This article will:

  • Help you recognize the three roles/relationships inside your marriage
  • Take a deep dive into the role of lover


Before We Dive Deep: An Overview of the Three Relationships

Lovers want to explore together. Friends want to relax together. Partners want to achieve together. A lover feels intimacy when you share something new or exciting. This excitement keeps the chemistry in your sex life electrified. Alternately, a partner feels intimacy when you share a project. A friend feels intimacy when you share stories.

When you’re both playing the same role— friend, partner, or lover—life feels easy and you connect. But lots of times, the reason you’re not in sync is simply because you’re each playing a different role in your marriage. The different roles create different expectations, and these differing expectations cause you to struggle.

partner lover friend three relationships of your marriage

There are three relationships inside your singular marriage. When you and your spouse are aligned, you’re in sync with each other.

Take a look at this graphic. Notice how when you’re both in lover-mode life is all hearts and chemistry. But when one of you is in lover-mode while the other is in partner-mode, you’re at cross purposes: wanting different things from your marriage.

Let’s take a deep dive into the role of lover. Being a good lover will improve your marriage because you’ll keep your marriage exciting. This excitement keeps your body’s chemistry attracted to your spouse and keeps your sex life fiery. (To take a deep dive into the friend-relationship click here. To take a deep dive into the partner-relationship click here.)


How to feel in sync with your lover

You’ll feel the lover in your marriage when:

  • You need some rejuvenation. A lover will take you on an adventure and remind you how exciting the world is.
  • Your self-worth is sagging. A lover makes you feel wanted.
  • You need a vacation. A lover wants to explore and is full of ideas for places and people to visit. A lover also has the energy to turn those ideas into action.

A lover feels like they’re playing when:

  • They are exploring. Lovers adore new food, a new band, or a new sport.
  • They experience anything novel. Lovers create excitement with their fascination and eagerness to learn.
  • They are on the edge. For lovers, there is no line between fear and excitement: they are one-in-the-same.

You’ll want a lover in your marriage when…

  • You want some good sex. A lover enjoys their body and yours and their favorite is when the two come together.
  • You are bored. A lover will introduce you to something new and spice up your life.
  • You want to explore. A lover will say YES! and enthusiastically join you.

Try this:

Look for signs your spouse is in lover-mode. When you learn to recognize lover-mode, you’ll remember how valuable this role is in your marriage and you’ll be grateful for your spouse.

  • When your spouse wants to have sex AGAIN and starts kissing you, smile at your lover who keeps you feeling sexy, attractive, and hot.
  • When your spouse wants to go to a new restaurant or a play a new game, appreciate how your lover keeps your life fresh and vital.
  • When your spouse whisks you off on another crazy adventure, appreciate how your lover keeps you growing and changing.

It’s easy to feel in sync with your lover because life is so exciting. But, excitement is the sunny side of chaos. Your lover hates—HATES—to be bored. Their attempts to spice up your lives might leave you feeling drained or unmoored.

In the boxes above where the lover isn’t connecting with the partner in your marriage, it’s often because lovers abhor practicality and doing the responsible thing bores them. Likewise, a lover doesn’t like to be slowed down by explaining themselves or babysitting the friend in your marriage who wants to be included.

Let’s look at some of the shadow qualities that explain why it’s tough to connect when your spouse is in lover-mode.


Why you feel out of sync with your lover

You’ll feel frustrated by your lover when:

  • They leap before they look. Lovers want adventure, but sometimes that can feel irresponsible to you.
  • They accuse you of being boring. Lovers thrive with novelty, but you may need to rest after the wild vacation you just shared.
  • Has two speeds: on or off. Lovers dive headlong into something new. Then they seem to turn off until the next new thing shows up. This rollercoaster might get tiresome for you.

Your lover might leave you lonely when:

  • They don’t talk to you. Lovers are more interested in the experience and feel burdened by words. But this quality can make you feel left out.
  • They leave. Lovers get seduced by life and say yes without thinking how their actions impact you.
  • They aren’t initiating sex. In a long marriage there are only so many ways to keep sex novel, so the lover disengages. But as a friend, you still need this intimacy.

Try this:

Look for signs your spouse is in lover-mode. When you learn to recognize lover-mode, you’ll need to set some boundaries so you can stay happy in your larger marriage.

  • When your spouse falls in love with scuba diving and the only thing they can talk about is deep diving, thank them for their infectious excitement and make clear requests: Can you please cook tomorrow night?
  • When your spouse asks you for the third time, “When do you think we should go to the ocean?” Smile. Remind your lover their vitality keeps your marriage interesting then bring up the bank account and ask if they’re ready to create a savings plan to buy airline tickets.
  • When your lover leaves—this might be the hardest thing I invite you to do—get acquainted with yourself. Dig deep to find what fascinates you. Then, when your lover returns, you will have cared for your own needs and you’ll have the energy to kindly say, “It hurts my feelings when you leave and don’t include me.” Or your tank will be full and so will your spouse’s and the novelty will return in your sex life.

It’s important to love your spouse even when they are in the shadowy parts of lover-mode. Afterall, this person makes your life exciting. You’re in love with this lover (until they hurt you so deeply). This is why It’s so important to set boundaries with your lover-spouse.

It’s important to set boundaries with your lover so they don’t cause deep wounds in your marriage with their self-involvement, but it’s also important for your spouse. Likely your spouse needs the balance in life that you provide. Don’t let the partner inside you rescue your lover from the consequences their impulsive behavior may have wrought on your bank account or home life. Let the friend inside of you speak your truth about how their actions felt.

If you’d like to read a story about a time in my marriage that I messed up when it comes to being a good lover, click here.

When is your spouse likely to be in lover-mode? How does your lover-spouse make your life more interesting? When does your lover-spouse leave you lonely?

Want to stop arguing and start connecting with your spouse? This FREE e-course will offer you habits to improve your marriage communication so you can smile more and fight less. Sign up to improve marriage communication.

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