When my husband and I were engaged we had a habit of looking deep into each other’s eyes when we were talking. My then 8-year old brother found it very amusing to try to break that gaze. He would wave his hands in front of our faces, or stick his head between ours and make crazy, unbelievable faces at us!
When was the last time you held your spouses hand just because? When was the last time you shared quality intimate time together? Tell me, when was the last time you just simply gave your husband or wife your undivided attention while they talked to you - your hands were not busy with some little task, you weren’t half listening to them and half listening to the game on the radio, you actually made eye contact with them instead of watching tv while “talking”? Now you are looking at the couple across the restaurant thinking how cute they were, wishing you and your husband were still that in love with each other… Wait! What has happened? We aren’t that in love anymore. My marriage is at a standstill. It’s not exciting anymore! We just fight all the time. When did this happen? Have I fallen out of love? Are we heading toward a divorce?
Life… It isn’t like my brother. It doesn’t jump in suddenly, startling you, causing you to pull back. No, instead, it creeps in undetected and keeps gently pushing spouses farther and farther apart until one day they suddenly realize that they aren’t as in love as they once were. For most couples it just goes downhill from there, spiraling out of control until finally they give up on the vows they made and end their marriage. It doesn’t have to be this way! Instead of letting desperation envelop you and threaten your marriage even farther, let’s find some ways to bring that spark back into your love life.
The first thing I want you to do is grab a piece of paper and make a list of 20 things that you love about your spouse. I want you to think way back when you were falling in love. What made you fall in love with your spouse? What were the cute things about her that made you smile? What were the dumb things that he did to get your attention that made you laugh? Was it her smile? His laugh? His thoughtfulness? Her loyalty?
When was the last time you really thought about these things like you used to when you were first starting your relationship? Why is that? It could just be because of the business of life, but there could be another reason for it too. When you do think of your spouse is it thinking about something they have done wrong? Do you resent them for something? Unforgiveness could be what is hindering your closeness with your spouse. If there are things that are upsetting you about them, either you need to talk to them about it and get it worked out or you need to consciously decide to let it go and not hold it against them anymore. This is going to take a lot of loving and giving you’re your part, but love can cover a lot of faults. Get things taken care of so you can start thinking about your spouse again!
Next, write out the top 10 things that you and your spouse would do together when you were falling in love. Was there a special restaurant? A favorite movie or song that reminds you of when you were first experiencing that new love? What were the little things that you did to get their attention and show them that you loved them? Did you bring over flowers and chocolate for your girlfriend? Did you make your special cookies for your boyfriend? Did you spend hours together walking around a lake, holding hands and talking?
Go back and take a walk down memory lane! Revisit some of those places you used to go if you can. If you have moved from that area, find somewhere similar to go and remind your spouse of all those memories you had together! Start doing those sweet little things you used to do again! Make yourself loveable!!! :)
Now, that you have thought back to those days that were so exciting, think about how you are now? Do you do any of those sweet little things anymore? Probably not, because life and reality has set in, responsibilities, jobs, kids, etc. When you let things get in the way of doing things to grow your relationship, you can expect to have your relationship affected by this. On the other hand, if you do things to make your marriage a priority, your relationship will be changed by this in a very amazing way!
Your relationship did not get to the point where it is right now overnight, so don’t expect to fix it overnight. It will take time and it won’t be easy! My husband works a full time job and also has a construction business on the side. Sometimes, he ends up having to work 80+ hours a week. I will go with him and help him, but that doesn’t take the place of a date. It didn’t take long for us to start seeing the affects of it on our marriage. We hadn’t even been married 6 months and we were fighting ALL the time. It finally got to the point where we decided to go for counseling and have a date once a week. The counseling went great, but our dates were a disaster! I think we fought for every single one for at least a month if not longer. I would end up in tears every single time and wanted to just give up on them, but we kept pushing through it and now, a few months later, dates are usually my favorite night of the week! Thankfully, for us, we are still newly-weds. For someone who has been married longer and formed more bad habits in their relationship, it may take longer to break those, but don’t give up! Saving your marriage takes work but it is so worth it!!