How To Fix A Stale Relationship

If your relationship is getting stale, this plan for shaking things up will help.

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One of the most common problems in even the best marriages is staleness, or stagnation, in the relationship. Once you have raised the kids and gotten them out of the house, you may find the two of you are staring at each other with little idea of what to do next.

You've officially updated your relationship status to: stale.

Stagnation is a very common issue with many of the couples my husband and I have helped over the years. But the good news is, yes — you can turn your marriage around and make your marriage fun again.


RELATED: 7 Ways To Deal With Boredom In Your Marriage (Before It's Too Late)

How to Fix a Stale Relationship

1. Acknowledge the stagnation.

Talk to your spouse and acknowledge the state of your marriage. It is better if both of you agree that your marriage is, in fact, stale. It's more difficult (although not impossible) to turn things around if only one of you believes this.


2. Commit to changing things.

A simple acknowledgment that you in a stagnant marriage will not change anything. If there is to be new life breathed into your relationship, it will require effort from at least one of you.

It takes a determined commitment to break out of old patterns that have been your way of life for many years. if you want to change, you must first make decisions that you will do the work needed to change it.

3. Get your partner on board

Of course, it's much better if both spouses are involved in the process of improving your marriage. However, if only one of you is initiating change, you need to get your spouse to agree to "play along" with you and support your efforts.

RELATED: 5 Sneaky Warning Signs That Mean Your Relationship Is In Big Trouble


4. Identify and reinvent old routines

One reason things can become stale is we tend to do the same things, in the same way, month after month and year after year.

Pinpoint what patterns and routines each of you practice that keep you apart, shut each other out, or simply don’t have much meaning for you any longer. Shake up those old routines with new ideas and new ways of doing things.

5. Step out of your comfort zones

You and your spouse's current patterns of thinking and behavior have brought on stagnation over the years. So to create genuine change, you'll both need to step out of your comfort zones and try something different. In fact, your resistance to doing this in the past may be one of the reasons you're feeling your marriage is stale.

To change this, you have to change — and you MUST be willing to try things you may have resisted in the past. Even if the thing you try turns out to be the wrong thing, it still created some traction for your marriage.


6. Try new things together.

If you truly are going to break out of stagnation and improve your marriage, it is crucial that you compile a list of new things to do together. This may include activities you will try, places to visit, movies to watch, and ideas outside of your former thought patterns.

Start by making a big list. Be sure to write down every idea — even the ones that initially don't sound appealing to you. To get some ideas, check the activity pages in your local newspaper or look online for events going on in your area. After you create one big list, discuss the ones you both are willing to try.

And don't forget to keep updating your list over time!

7. Put it on the calendar

You have a list of things to do together, so you must set a time for when you two will try something new from it.


Pick something, and set aside the time to do it. Now pick another item from the list, and schedule it in your calendar, too. Plan out this calendar several months in advance, so that other things don’t get in the way of your goal to improve your marriage.

Good marriages are worth the effort. Getting stuck in a stale marriage does not have to be a forever thing. Changing a marriage and improving it takes work, but you both will find it was worth it if you will take the steps listed here.

Once things begin to improve in your marriage, keep up the good work and avoid falling back into the old habits and routines that caused a tiresome and lackluster relationship in the first place.


Look who's the "fun couple" now!

RELATED: 18 Easy Ways To Make A Long-Term Relationship Feel New Again

Drs. Debbie and David McFadden have master's degrees in education and social work and are relationship and life coaches specializing in helping to struggle and distressed couples improve their relationships.