It’s pretty safe to say that a “loveless” marriage is NOT a happy one. Whether you’re fighting constantly, living totally separate lives under the same roof, or just coexisting as amicable roommates… It still isn’t the loving connection we think of when we imagine healthy relationships.
If your marriage feels loveless, the first thing to understand is that you can get things back on track with some commitment, some honesty, and some effort!
It doesn’t even matter so much how you got to this point – at least for the solution we want to propose, the approach is the same regardless of what past mistakes brought you to this point. For some couples, it could be anger and resentment that makes them argue constantly, be impatient with one another, or assume the worst about any interaction. For other couples, it could just be lack of enthusiasm, that they stopped making an effort to stay connected. Still for others, it could be a lasting wound from an affair, a health problem, or some other circumstance that created a rift that was never resolved…
And these are just a few examples! Every relationship is a little bit different, and couples can “fall out of love” for a huge variety of reasons. Getting back to a good place, though, is about the same no matter the source of the trouble.
It starts with communication – which can be tough if you’ve gotten to a place where communication is all but nonexistent – but if you truly want to repair your relationship, you have to talk about the issues at hand! Don’t approach this conversation with attacks or blame, but instead let your spouse know that you want to fix things, and that to do that, you have to take stock of what’s currently going on – and how you got to this point.
If you can have a constructive, honest discussion about the sources of your disconnection, you can start to get a clear picture of how you can resolve them. You may not be able to take back hurtful things or years of ignoring one another, but you can admit to mistakes and commit to improving. Maybe this means taking anger management classes, changing habits, helping out around the house, becoming a better listener – you won’t know HOW to improve until you talk about what’s wrong.
After you’ve had that tough talk – consider it a “state of the union” – the next step is rebuilding your sense of connection, and the ONLY way to do that is through quality time spent together. You can start slowly at first, but you have to stick with it. Go on dates, spend time chatting (and not just about serious subjects or the marriage), go for walks together… Anything that gets the two of you sharing your time away from distractions (including your phone!).
Really, these are the two central pieces to the puzzle of a loveless marriage – acknowledging what went wrong, committing to making things better, and spending enjoyable time together!
That may sound oversimplified, but give it time… It will feel good to address the issues that have gone unspoken for far too long, and as you spend more time together (with the awareness of old problems you don’t want to repeat), you’ll start to remember why you fell in love in the first place. Again, this can be a slow process, but with an open heart, and open mind, and the strength to face up to past mistakes, a loveless marriage doesn’t have to be the end – it can be the opportunity for a new beginning.
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com