3 Things You MUST Do To Get The Spark BACK In Your Marriage

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If you've been drifting apart for a while, NOW is the time to reconnect.

These are words no spouse wants to hear: “I feel like I don’t know you anymore.”

Feeling emotionally disconnected from your husband or wife is frightening. You made a lifelong commitment to this person and now — whether it's five, 10 or 20 years into the marriage — you're struggling to remember why you loved them at all. 

When emotional disconnect settles in, married couples begin to feel isolated and hopeless. Like two boats separated at sea, it seems impossible to find your way back to each other. Thankfully, it’s not impossible, and often, you can establish a connection independently, without help from a counselor or marriage professional.

Addressing emotional drift needs to happen fast. Don't dismiss your loved one’s feelings of disconnection, even if you don't share those feelings. The moment your spouse brings it up, validate their cry for help and put this plan into action.

1. Answer The Question, “How Did We Get Here?”

Remember a time when you felt nurtured and secure in your relationship. Maybe that time was long before your marriage, or maybe it was only six months ago. Compare that time to your current situation. What did you do differently?

Likely, you and your better half were satisfying the three behavioral elements that are necessary for a strong emotional connection: accessibility, responsiveness and support.

Accessibility relates to how often you're around and available for each other. Is your wife constantly busy with the kids? Is your husband a workaholic? When you have downtime, do you spend it with your friends, away from your spouse? These are CRUCIAL questions to ask. Determine what in your lives is keeping you away from each other.  

Let’s say you make time for each other. How responsive are you during that time? Responsiveness means listening, engaging, laughing and generally being present with your spouse. Scheduling a date night here or there won’t cut it, unless you ensure it's a quality date, filled with conversation and affection. A date with an unresponsive spouse can feel so alienating that it deters you from scheduling more dates in the future.

Lastly, show support for your partner. Emotional connections thrive in marriages where couples support each other. Your connection may suffer because you can't talk without nagging and criticizing one another. As a result, you avoid talking and being around each other, knowing it will end in rejection. Recognizing and affirming the positive contributions your spouse makes to the relationship is crucial.

2. Identify Your Weak Spots

Hone in on which of the three behaviors you and your spouse are not meeting and why you're not meeting them. Work, children, new friends, health problems and grief are common deterrents to emotional connections and can keep partners from behaving healthily.

3. Find And Apply Remedies

Knowing is half the battle, but now, it’s time for action. Figure out ways to strengthen your weak areas and actually follow through with them. This is difficult, so here's a list of potential remedies you can apply to your situation.

  • Schedule Bonding Time: No really, go to your calendar and pencil in a date. If accessibility is your main issue, then you need to commit to this as if it were an important professional meeting. Make a dinner reservation, book a weekend getaway or hire a babysitter in advance. That way, the plan becomes more concrete and you're less likely to ditch your obligation. If you can, aim for two dates per week. Even if it’s as simple as going to the movies, eating dinner together or meeting up with friends, do it. These little interactions are very important to your emotional bond.
  • Share Your Thoughts: Did you read a good book? Hear an interesting story? Share it! Couples who talk about their beliefs, ideologies, interests and ideas have stronger connections. You should never feel embarrassed or scared to share your thoughts with your spouse. This ties into being responsive (stimulating engagement and connection) and supportive (accepting that engagement without judgment).
  • Enact A Cell Phone Ban: Connecting with your spouse is hard if they're engrossed in their smartphone every time you’re together. Responsiveness goes out the window in these situations. When you're out to dinner, keep the phone on silent, lodged deep inside your purse or pocket. Force yourself to remain present, and you'll have better conversation and connection with your loved one.
  • Listen To Venting: A healthy amount of venting is good for a person’s mental health. If your spouse’s venting is always met with unwanted advice, then they're bound to feel hurt or even more frustrated over you lack of support. In this situation, sit down, listen and affirm your spouse’s feelings. 
  • Celebrate More: A promotion, an anniversary, a perfect round of golf — no matter the accomplishment’s merit, make an effort to congratulate and celebrate each other. Just saying, “I‘m proud of you,” will go a long way, but take it a step further. Surprise you spouse with a card, home-cooked meal, flowers, balloons. Anything to show him/her you're invested in his/her happiness and support his/her achievements.

Feeling emotionally distant isn’t an issue that'll fix itself with time. In reality, disconnection is prone to get worse when you fail to address it, so start working on these problems now, before it's too late to salvage your marriage.  

For more guidance on repairing your damaged marriage, please watch the video presentation on my website. Wishing you all the best!