Does your relationship feel like 'The Walking Dead?' Try these tips to bring it back to life.
I was chatting with a client the other day about creating couplehood rituals—like binge-watching The Walking Dead on lazy weekends—when she said, "I don't need to watch zombies. My husband and I live like zombies. Our marriage is The Walking Dead." Sad laugh.
Unfortunately, just as the number of undead continue to rise every Sunday evening on AMC, so, too, does the number of "living dead" marriages. I see them all the time in my practice, Marriage SOS.
If you're in one, you know the signs: apathy, routine, familiarity, empty interactions, irritability, indifference and sexlessness. You don't actively dislike each other—you've just kind of stopped showing up.
If this sounds familiar to you, don't run away (or aim for the head) just yet. Instead, try these 8 tips to see whether they can bring your zombie relationship back to life.
1. Be appreciative.
Show appreciation for all that your partner does, especially those things that often go unnoticed. Praise him or her in front of your children.
2. Be affectionate OUTSIDE of the bedroom.
Surprise embraces, playful winks, warm smiles and loving kisses on the forehead are powerful non-verbal ways of staying connected.
3. Express desire for your partner.
Let your partner know that he or she is the hottest, sexiest most desirable show in town. Sex up your relationship by trying new things in bed, and always show sexual enthusiasm for your partner.
4. Be an interesting and happy person.
Take time to engage in your favourite pastimes or hobbies and encourage your partner to do the same. After all, an interesting and happy person is an interesting and happy partner.
5. Watch your voice tone.
Remove tones of criticism, contempt or defensiveness from your voice and replace them with tones of friendship, support and affection. Your spouse—and your kids will love you for it.
6. Address specific conflicts that plague your relationship.
Whether it's finances, parenting disagreements, excessive use of technology or trust issues, be sure to target and tackle those nagging problems. They won't go away on their own.
7. Have an easygoing nature.
Choose laughter over arguing. Choose respect over micro management. Choose humility and forgiveness over narcissism and resentment.
8. Remember that nostalgia is good for the soul.
Flip through old photo albums of your early days together or your children as babies. Use Google maps/street view to take a virtual walk down memory lane and revisit the places where you used to live or vacation. A couple who has a strong sense of where they've been usually has a strong sense of where they're going.
ALSO: It's important to perform regular "safety checks" to make sure the fortress you've built around your marriage remains strong. Fix the weak spots BEFORE trouble gets through. If you can do that, your marriage will stay vibrant and full of life.
Visit Debra's practice at MarriageSOS.com.