Couples sleeping in separate bedrooms are more common than we sometimes want to admit. This is what the marriage of Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep looks like in the upcoming film “Hope Springs.”
The dramedy, set to hit theaters Aug. 10, depicts a middle-age couple attending intense counseling to work on their 30-year marriage.
It’s interesting what couples will do to maintain the façade of a happy relationship when reality suggests disconnect, poor communication, lack of intimacy, growing frustration and often, two bedrooms.
I often hear couples state they feel like “roommates” in the same house, yet neither person is doing anything to fix it. They not only become stuck in a rut but are too complacent to admit their contribution to the problem. Often couples focus on the other partner’s behavior or simply think time will heal all.
At one point during the movie, Meryl Streep makes a comment I often hear during therapy: As soon as such-and-such happens, things will get better. As soon as the new baby has a sleeping schedule, as soon as the kids graduate, as soon as work becomes less stressful — the list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, these events often pass, and the status quo remains. And as more time passes, people settle deeper into their routines and continue not to address the underlying issues.
By the time a couple enters therapy, it’s likely that one person needs a change to stay in the relationship or is looking for validation to end it.
Regardless, we often take for granted the person we’re with. We believe he or she will put up with anything. That they’ll never leave. As soon as a person makes these assumptions and stops the daily work that a relationship needs to be successful, anything negative is possible.
In “Hope Springs,” Tommy Lee Jones is eventually confronted with the severity of his marital problems as his therapist (played by Steve Carell) says something along the lines of “I want you to have the opportunity to do everything in your power to have no regrets if things don’t work out.”
Take a moment to think about what you’re putting into your relationship. Are you settling for sleeping apart or making an effort to reconnect? Are you doing everything in your power to have no regrets if the relationship were to end or your partner were to suddenly pass away? Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Looking for a way to get started? With your partner, try completing the “sex therapy homework” assignment I wrote about in my last blog.