The other day I admitted to myself and my husband that I was not happy with our marriage. Saying the words out loud was difficult, and I was embarrassed for them to pass through my lips as I felt failure and disappointment weighing on me. The busy schedules, juggling parenting and marriage, as well as the feelings of neglect and uselessness drove my passionate love from firey to lukewarm in mere weeks. My relationship with my husband had become monotonous, selfish, and dull. A lack of stirred affections left me stale. I didn’t feel like a young, 20-something woman who garnered this crazy, undying love for her husband. I felt like a live-in nanny whose sole purpose was to take care of everyone else, giving all I had and receiving little in return.
Many marriages experience a sense of staleness, boredom, and lack of affection. But that doesn’t mean your marriage is failing.
It is merely a stepping stone on an uphill battle to rekindle what once seemed so permanent. Whether it’s been years, months, or days since the butterflies were replaced by frustration, it is never too late to work towards bettering your marriage.
Here are 5 tips to rekindle a stale marriage:
1. Communicate with one another.
Set aside daily time in the morning, during the day, or right before bed to have a real talk. The more you talk to one another the more you say. Things may surface that you may not have realized existed; this enables each of you to pinpoint needs and wants in your marriage.
2. Create a weekly date night.
If a recurring issue in your marriage is boredom, then having a date night is a great way to break the mold. Create a date jar with a list of ways to spend quality time with one another. Dedicating time to each other and putting in effort builds a connection and prioritizes your marriage over other things that may be creating issues.
Busy schedules, juggling parenting and marriage, as well as feelings of neglect and uselessness drove my passionate love from firey to lukewarm in mere weeks.
3. Don’t just talk; listen.
The other day, my sweet husband had to remind me to stop interrupting him and listen to what he was telling me during a very intimate discussion. Listening is equally essential to communication, and when we keep interrupting our husbands, it doesn’t give them a chance to voice their opinions or feelings and makes them feel ignored and unimportant.
4. Give, give, give (without expecting immediate return).
When marriages are stale, it is easy to convince yourself that if your husband isn’t trying, then you don’t need to either. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. We can’t expect our husband to be the first to act, so when the moments present themselves why not give it a try? If you’re sitting there and wishing he’d offer you a foot massage, then grab his foot first. Whatever you’re wanting, offer it to him first. It’s an act of selflessness and putting your spouse before yourself.
Whether it’s been years, months, or days since the butterflies were replaced by frustration, it is never too late to work towards bettering your marriage.
5. Be transparent.
It’s not necessary to keep our marital issues to ourselves. Transparency with friends who can give us great wisdom on our marriages is a gift that can’t be ignored. That other couple may have experienced a similar situation and could offer counsel that would significantly impact your marriage now and in the future.
There’s no such thing as a fool-proof equation for a flawless marriage, but there are ways in which we could improve our relationships. It requires a little grit, a lot of grace, and a great deal of effort.
Photo courtesy of Hernan Sanchez.
Wondering if your marriage issues might be deeper? Consider listening to this episode of our podcast, When to Leave an Unhealthy Relationship With Your Man (with Dr. Zoe Shaw) – 024.
You’ll also like 5 Fresh Ways to Work on Your Marriage (When He Isn’t), 10 TV Couples That Make Us Believe in Love Again, Remember This When You Take Your Marriage For Granted, Great Sex—What Is It?, Take It Easy—On Your Man, When Opposites Stop Being So Attractive, and To All of the Times We Almost Didn’t Make It.