It’s no secret that marriage is hard work. As with any relationship, it’s normal to go through periods of highs and lows. If you are feeling a bit more distant from your spouse than you would like, here are a few areas to focus on.
Unresolved issues in your marriage can break you down. Issues of trust, resentment and anger are poisons that can quietly eat away at the foundation of your marriage. Many times couples will avoid hot buttons in order to keep the peace or with a hope that it will resolve itself in time. This can be a recipe for disaster. While avoid a difficult discussion may reduce conflict in the short-term, lingering disruptive feelings and thoughts can cause tension and disconnect in other areas.
Addressing these feelings or issues is critical to the health of your marriage. It all starts with a conversation. If that isn’t go well, take a break but continue to address the topic until both people are satisfied with the outcome. If this involves a large issue such as infidelity, please seek the assistance of a trained professional. They will be able to guide you through the difficult journey of healing.
Get Out of the House
Plan quality time with your spouse. Alone. Leave the kids with a sitter and get away from group activities or double dates with friends. While it can be fun to have family nights or a social get together, if you are lacking intimacy and connection with your spouse you need more time alone. If you are constantly with other people, whether family or friends, it can be easy to lean on others to set the mood or dictate conversation. Getting out of the house and away from distractions is a necessary part of re-engaging in your marriage. Plan for dates that will be fun and allow you to converse. You don’t need to hash out lingering problems or discuss open projects, you just need the chance to talk about your day without the pull of other priorities.
Determine Your Needs
If you are feeling distant from your spouse, have you taken the time to consider what you are lacking or needing? Do you know what your spouse needs? Don’t be afraid to have this conversation. It can be easy to assume that your spouse knows what you are looking for, but don’t make them play this guessing game. Being able to clearly and gently discuss each other’s needs will help you to get on the path of fulfilling them.
Look at Your Priorities
Many times a lack of connection in marriage is the output of a busy life. If you are constantly running around without available time or energy for your marriage, it will suffer. Extra time isn’t going to just appear when you have jobs, kids, a house to run and obligations to fulfill. You need to create and carve out time to nurture your relationship. Planning ahead and cutting back on other obligations in your life isn’t always easy but it may be the only way to reserve time for one another.
Invest in Self-care
It’s really difficult to fulfill another person’s needs if your own are not met. Take time for yourself to relax and re-center, without feeling guilty about the time you are spending. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, reach out for help. Talk to your spouse about what you are facing and create an action plan for moving forward. Do you need extra help around the house or an afternoon to yourself while you are working through a difficult stage? Find ways to relax and to de-stress after busy days or long weeks. Even 15 minutes a day can open yourself up for welcoming in joy and deeper connections.