Every marriage goes through a “dry spell.” Very often one partner will be saying one of the following:
- “I’m not sure you love me anymore.”
- “I think the kids mean more to you than I do.”
- “Did we ever have anything in common?”
- “Maybe we should just go our separate ways.”
- “Maybe we were never supposed to be together.”
1. Pay attention. Responding with, “Oh that’s silly …..” or any other language that dismisses the partner will not improve the relationship. It will only continue to fuel the distance that is occurring between you.
2. Tune out. Turn in. Tune out any and all distractions necessary to pay attention to your marriage. Tune out social media, extended family, extracurricular activities, anything that is distracting you from your marriage relationship. Tune into each other. Think about some possible ways you can tune in:
- A television-free, social media-free weekend. Stay home, but turn everything off that is a diversion.
- Provide simple meals at home and minimize social life.
- Send the kids to grandma’s house with two sets of pajamas.
- Turn off the cell phones.
- A weekend getaway. You don’t have to go far. Just get away from your normal routine.
3. Focus on each other. When is the last time you truly shared your feelings without fear of judgment or retribution? Get four separate pages (or sheets of paper) and write a different word at the top of each page: Fear, Anger, Sadness, Gladness. Now write something on each page that helps you explore that particular feeling.
4. Share freely. Turn to your partner and share what is going on inside.
- What am I afraid of right now?
- What am I most angry about?
- What am I feeling sad about?
- What am I feeling glad about?
5. Resist the urge to fix or blame. Allow your partner to express their feelings. Ask curiosity questions that help them express themselves, but resist the urge to give advice or blame. Validate your partner’s feelings and ask if there is anything they need from you at this time.
6. Celebrate each other. Be realistic if your sexual advances aren’t received right away. Enjoy a massage, dance together, hold hands in the park. Remind each other why you fell in love to begin with. Laugh together over some fond memories of the past. Do something fun that you both enjoy together. Pray together.
7. Know when to ask for help. Wise couples know when it’s time to ask a counselor/coach to help get them back on the recovery path. Confiding in a family member is not wise. Friends mean well, but often side with the person who is asking for help. Talk to someone who can objectively help you hear both sides and point you in a direction that will help you achieve the goals you have for your marriage.
Cindy and David Southworth are marriage and relationship coaches, certified through the American Assn of Christian Counselors and members of the International Christian Coaching Assn. Cindy is a John Maxwell certified speaker, trainer, and coach. They are the owners of Breakwater Coaching. You can visit their website at www.breakwatercoaching.com.
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