What happens when you have a dead marriage? Is it time to throw in the towel, or is it possible to bring life back to your marriage?
Below is a response to my most recent Reader Survey, showing a dead marriage, or one without love, is a real problem for many, including my own marriage.
How do I get our marriage to be ‘in love’ again, like it used to before we were married?”
After 13 years of marriage my wife and I have experienced many seasons in marriage, and not all of the seasons were enjoyable. The divorce statistics show “falling out of love” is very common, as some studies show about half of marriages end in divorce. It’s a scary place to be, and it can seem like it came out of nowhere.
A slow death to your marriage
The reality is if you’ve reached the point where you feel like you are no longer “in love,” or your marriage is dead, it’s been happening over time.
It’s just like how people who are in over the heads in debt, didn’t accrue that amount of debt overnight. The debt was created by one financial decision after another that finally reached the point of overwhelm.
There is good news. Just like a series of choices can lead to massive debt, or a dead season in marriage, a series of choices can lead you out. I believe there are 5 things you can focus on to bring life to your marriage, and fall in love all over again with your wife.
1 – Rebuild your foundation
You may or may not have started with a good foundation to your marriage. If so, but you’ve drifted, you need to revisit that. Think about the guiding principles in your life and your relationship. If you’ve never set a solid foundation, it’s never too late.
No foundation is built without first having an idea of what the final result will be. When you said “I do,” what did you envision for your marriage?
And more important why did you envision those things. Let that be your start, and begin to discuss what you can do daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to achieve that.
2 – Go to school and “major” in your wife
One statement that seems to go with “we are no longer in love” is “I don’t know my wife anymore.” Which makes since because for you and I to love a person, or even a thing, we need to have some sort of intimate connection or knowledge of them.
I love sports, especially basketball. I started playing basketball at around age three. I’ve played competitively since the third grade all the way through college, and even play in adult leagues now. I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the game of basketball, and because of it I fell in love, and remain in love with it to this day.
If we are to remain in love with our wives, and vice versa, we need to intimately know them. We need to discover things about them, and never stop trying to discover new things. One key component to this is having regular date nights. We’ve recently made this a priority and the results have been amazing!
3 – Draw a line in the sand
Let’s be completely real. Marriage is NO JOKE! Two people with two different upbringings and two different personalities and two different life experiences coming together as one? There is nothing easy about that.
There will come a time where you feel stuck and there may come a time where you want out altogether. This is where you draw a line in the sand, and not just once, but every single time any of those feelings come up.
Your line in the sand says we will not entertain anything except making our marriage work. No matter what challenges we face, we will persevere. And that means not just stay together, but be fulfilled together. This means there is no separation, no divorce, and no mention of it at all. It won’t be easy, but it’s possible. You just have to decide.
4 – Put things back in place
I don’t know what you’ve faced in your marriage. There may be things broken, feelings hurt, and things done which you feel you can never come back from. Don’t believe it. Your marriage can be restored, the pieces can be put back together.
This involves consistently doing the three things mentioned before. But it also includes going the extra step or mile. It means loving your wife unconditionally by not dwelling or “beating her up” over minor things. It includes speaking to her in a way that makes her feel loved, speak her love language.
And most importantly it includes putting your marriage in the proper place and making it a priority. The relationship with our kids is not number one, our marriage is.
5 – Appreciate and enjoy your marriage
I heard a quote that said “you take your spouse for granted, until you are walking by the casket.” That’s extreme, but it’s real. My wife and I have seen the unexpected loss of a spouse first hand when my sister lost her husband to cancer, and when a close friend died of cancer leaving behind our friend/her husband.
While our marriages are not only about our enjoyment, they are meant to be enjoyed. Our marriages can and should prosper. Your marriage can prosper, but it gets to the point of prospering by you taking one small action at a time over the course of your marriage.
I encourage you to take the actions that will give life versus take life from your marriage.
What can you do to bring life to your marriage?