Yes, you love your partner, but do you really like him or her?
Kim has been married to Jeremy for over twenty years. She can't imagine living her life without him. He's been with her through difficult times when they were just starting out and now as their "babies" are growing up and leaving home.
There are no regrets for Kim. She chose a stable, dependable husband in Jeremy. But, especially now that their kids are headed to college, Kim is beginning to wonder what the future will hold for their marriage.
There is no doubt that she deeply loves Jeremy, but she's just not so sure that she likes him.
They've both changed so much over the decades. Some of his habits and quirks that were once cute are now unbearable to Kim. As Jeremy is getting older, he also seems to be getting more stubborn and closed-minded. This really irritates her.
And, with both of them devoting more and more of their time to their careers and very different interests, she worries that they won't have anything in common besides their kids.
Kim doesn't want to end her marriage, but she'd like to enjoy it more. She wants to feel excited again to be with Jeremy. She wants to laugh and have fun together like they used to. She'd like to spend time with him and actually like him for a change.
It can be uncomfortable and maybe even a little scary to realize that you don't necessarily like your spouse.
There might not be anything horribly wrong with your partner...except for those dozens (or more) of "little" things that you disapprove of or that get on your nerves. These "little" irritations may be things that you bite your lip and remain silent about, or they could be what you nag and fight about.
But...you have fallen out of "like." How to Get That Spark Back
The difference between like and love
Liking someone is often taken for granted when you already love him or her. The care and connection you have with your partner are certainly tied in with feeling love. There is tenderness, affection and a concern for the other person's well-being that comes with loving.
However, this doesn't mean that you always (or often) like this person with whom you're sharing your life.
Liking generally indicates that you enjoy being with the person. You two have fun together and feel emotionally, intellectually or otherwise stimulated being around one another. Being "in like" doesn't mean that you find every single word or action from your partner witty, interesting or enriching.
Overall, you do.
The vast majority of the time, you value and genuinely appreciate being with your partner when you like him or her.
Question your criticisms
If being "in like" with your partner for the long-term sounds impossible to you, think again. Back up and ask yourself what kind of relationship experience you want.
Is it one where you can barely tolerate your spouse and you schedule your life so that you don't have to be around him or her very much? Or, is it one where you look forward to the connection and the adventures you share together?
Rather than an annoyed and bothered "What now?", you consistently dream and anticipate "What's next?"
If you want more from your marriage and you'd like to enjoy being with your partner and you're not right now, it's time to make some changes.
The first thing we recommend you do is to start questioning your criticisms.
Of course, you probably aren't making up the fact that your husband is rude to restaurant servers or that your wife repeats her questions to you over and over again, for example. But, these annoying aspects can start to overshadow the whole person that your partner is. When you become accustomed to only seeing your partner as the rudeness, nagging or whatever it is that repels you, everybody gets short-changed — your spouse and yourself.
Instead, get into the habit of questioning your criticisms. Is it possible that your own impatience or discomfort in a situation is making your partner's irritating behavior seem like a bigger deal than it actually is?
Is it possible that you are angry or feeling resentful about something else in your marriage or another area of your life and that is why, in this particular moment, you can't stand to be around your partner?
We don't know what is true for you, but it's important that you take the time to find out. Before building up the criticisms of your partner that jump into your mind, question them and get clear about what is really going on for you.
It could be that what you need is some time to yourself to de-stress, sort through a bad mood or problem that's troubling you. It could be that you need to create some agreements with your partner about specific behaviors. It could be that you need to resolve some lingering conflict that you thought was past, but really isn't. 9 Sneaky Ways To Let Him Know You Like Him
Remove the blocks that you have to authentically liking your spouse. This will allow you to re-discover who he or she is at this time, and to see all there is that you can like as well as love.
Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the relationship they desire. Click here to get their free ebook, Passionate Heart-Lasting Love.