Have you started feeling lately like you’re stuck in a loveless marriage? You sit across the table, pushing your food around your plate. The only sound is the clanging of knives and forks.
For a moment, you look up and it seems that he might say something, but then that look is gone and you resume eating your meal in silence.
Now it’s fine if this happens once every now and then, but if this has been your routine for over a month now, something is definitely wrong.
Research suggests that only 17% of couples are truly happy with their marriage. Your problems may be because of a lack of communication, or mistrust, or anything else. But it is important to remember that love doesn’t fizzle out overnight. It’s not always easy to tell when you’re stuck in a loveless marriage. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of potential problems your marriage might be suffering from, and how you can resolve them.
1. Communication in your Loveless Marriage.
If you’ve started feeling uncomfortable in your marriage, don’t shut your spouse out. A lack of communication can cause any existing misunderstandings to grow and may lead to unnecessary arguments. Don’t bottle up any mistrust or misgivings. If you feel your spouse may be hiding something from you, or that they’ve done something that negatively impacted you, don’t make up false assumptions.
Talk things out with your spouse: don’t be aggressive or accusatory, adopt a more neutral tone. Find out what’s wrong so you can find a way to fix it. If you feel like you’re being sidelined, tell your spouse that you want to be heard.
For more ways to strengthen your relationship, you can read S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport book, Mindful Relationship Habits: 25 Practices for Couples to Enhance Intimacy, Nurture Closeness, and Grow a Deeper Connection.
2. Find Mutual Ground.
The more distant you are from your spouse, the lesser you engage in your daily activities like sharing meals together, or going to your child’s science fair. Problems may reach the point where you divide responsibilities to avoid each other as much as possible. If one parent goes to soccer practice, the other one goes to the school play.
But you don’t necessarily need to be in love to spend time together. Find ways to mutually exist. Watch a movie, share a meal, engage in light conversation on mutually-liked topics or play board games with your children. This may not revive the love that is lost, but it may help you find new ways to be happy with your spouse.
3. Find Out What Went Wrong.
When everything about your spouse starts to irritate you, from the way they chew their food to the way they breathe, you know something is wrong. Whether this is just a reaction to feeling neglected or frustrated, it’s time to fix it. If you can’t talk to your spouse without things getting unnecessarily heated up, it may be time to try marriage counseling.
To figure out what went wrong in your relationship and how you can fix it, you can read How We Love, Expanded Edition: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage.
4. Prioritize Your Relationship.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was your marriage. It takes time and effort to build a relationship. It takes even more time and effort to sustain one. If you’re stuck in a loveless marriage, and feel like it’s not going anywhere despite your effort, you just need to wait a while.
Take things slow. Spend time reconnecting with your spouse, both emotionally and physically. Treat your relationship like a fresh start. You may be awkward and nervous initially, but with time, you’ll learn to enjoy each other’s presence.
5. Don’t Be Afraid of a Little Intimacy.
A healthy relationship is dependent on both physical and emotional satisfaction. You may feel scared to connect physically because of your emotional differences. It’s natural in every relationship to not want constant physical contact, but if you’re never really “feeling it”, it’s time to change some things.
Even if you’re not necessarily in the mood, find time to connect with your spouse, emotionally and physically. It might feel uncomfortable or pointless, but at some point, your relationship will start regaining momentum.
To settle your misgivings about reconnecting with your spouse, you can also read: Emotional and Sexual Intimacy in Marriage: How to Connect or Reconnect with Your Spouse, Grow Together, and Strengthen Your Marriage.
6. Maintain Trust.
Trust is the cement which holds together the structure of your relationship. If you’re having problems, don’t increase them by having an affair. This will dissolve your marriage faster than sugar in your coffee. You can tackle these situations in 2 ways:
- If your marriage has reached the point where you’re only together because of your children, or your financial situation or such, reach an agreement. As adults, you can mutually discuss the idea of openly seeing other people, as long as it does not affect your children, and you don’t bring your partners home with you.
- If you can’t agree on a civil arrangement, opt for marriage counseling.
7. Be Clear About What You Want.
With life’s many distractions, it can be difficult to focus on your relationship. If your loveless marriage is the result of you not expressing your love to your spouse frequently and properly enough, then you should consult: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. Expressing your love for your spouse may help you realize that the love isn’t gone after all.
8. Maintain Your Expectations.
No marriage is perfect. Your life isn’t a romantic comedy, where nothing goes wrong and your relationship is always full of sunshine and rainbows. In the real world, sometimes there are also thunderstorms and hurricanes. This is all part of developing a strong relationship.
Your relationship with your spouse may have been very strong before you were married, but once you enter into a long term commitment, you’ll find many more challenges. Attraction doesn’t last long, but where attraction goes, love comes in where you have to learn to accept the good, the bad, and the not so great about your spouse.Understand what you’re getting into by consulting: Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples.
9. Tread Carefully.
If you’re trying to solve your marriage issues, don’t be hasty about it. You don’t have to start out with grand gestures such as a vacation in the Swiss Alps. The little things strengthen the bond more. Just listening to your spouse talking about their day, or something they recently excelled in and feeling happy for them is enough to begin with.
10. Stop Daydreaming About What Could Have Been.
Sleeping alone at night, you might start thinking that it might’ve been a good idea to not get into this relationship at all.
Fantasizing about the past or an alternate future is another nail in the coffin of your loveless marriage. Rather than thinking about other avenues of happiness, focus on the one you’re already on. Go bike riding. Go on a shopping spree. Take a boat ride. Do what makes you happy.
Don’t make your marriage the primary decider of your emotional well-being. If you’re still feeling lonely, try to reconnect with your spouse- find things you can do together. If you both love adventures, maybe go sky diving.
11. Seek Comfort At Home.
If you and your spouse no longer feel the need to talk to each other, it’s time for a change. Rather than sharing your life with outsiders or friends or other family members, share it with your spouse.
Talk to them about what made you happy. Talk to them about the things that upset you. Share your hopes and dreams with them. Open and honest communication can help pick up the pieces and build your house again.
12. Share Your Problems.
Having problems in a loveless marriage is nothing to feel ashamed about. In fact, the sad truth is that this is a problem that is growing every day. Marriage counseling may work for some, but no one knows what you’re really going through unless they’ve gone through it themselves. Join a support group where you can find new ways to resolve your marital problems.
The first question people usually face when they’re stuck in a loveless marriage is whether they should stay or go. It’s better to try and find ways to reconnect rather than go through the hassle of getting a divorce. At the end of the day, you know what’s best for your relationship.
If you’ve tried everything possible to stay together, and nothing worked, it might be time to change paths. If you feel like there’s still some hope left, you can try Mort Fertel 7 free marriage newsletters for more advice to maintain a healthy, happy marriage.