When you were dating your spouse you couldn’t wait to see them.
I remember having conversations with Katie and falling asleep on the phone. When you get married you can’t wait to get home from work to spend the evening with your spouse.
Things are new, things are fun and your relationship is growing.
But then life happens.
Bills pile up. Kids enter the picture, and the spontaneous, last minute romance that happened now becomes less and less until it is nonexistent. Date nights that used to magically appear no longer make it onto the calendar.
Slowly, both spouses ask (for different reasons), “How do I get my spouse to notice me?”
For women, it often centers around romance, being pursued, having her husband care about her day, her dreams and longings.
For men, it centers around sex and the feeling that his wife desires him sexually, but also that she cares about his dreams.
As a couple enters the second decade of their marriage, another fear starts to enter the relationship, and noticing it is crucial in this.
The fear that they missed out on life. The fear that they aren’t enough.
For women, if they have kids, this will center on being a mom and if they are doing enough. According to the mom blogs they are probably failing. Their kids are in school now and they wonder if they are keeping up, if they are worthwhile as a mom.
For men, they wonder if they missed out on life. They expected their career to be at a certain point by the time they were 35 or 40, and it usually isn’t as far along as they expected. They are afraid to say something because saying something makes it real.
In this moment, a couple has enormous power to speak truth and grace into the heart of their spouse.
But many don’t.
Most couples keep chugging on, alone.
Men escape into porn, fantasy sports leagues, real sports leagues or get lost in another hobby.
You can see the misery on their face, the longing for a deeper connection that isn’t there. They want to know that they didn’t fail as a man but are afraid to say so.
Women escape into the lives of their kids or a career when they are old enough.
Slowly, they take a step away from each other.
At first it isn’t noticeable, but then the chasm becomes so wide that it seems impossible to bridge.
Then someone asks, “How do I get my spouse to notice me?”
At this point the answer seems to be that you have to do something crazy.
Sometimes crazy with your spouse can be a good idea.
The reality is that everyday ways of noticing will do. It won’t feel like a lot, but day after day those steps add up.
In the same way that people lose weight and get out of debt over a period of time, your relationships are healed over a period of time.
Words of encouragement.
Praising your spouse in front of your kids or friends and family.
Pursuing them sexually.
Planning a date night.
Sending them a text in the middle of the day that says, “I’m praying for you” or, “I’m thinking about you. Hope your day is going well.”
Picking up after yourself.
Wearing that shirt or jeans they like.
Ironically, the way to get your spouse to notice you in marriage is almost identical to how you got them to notice you when you were dating.