Every marriage and relationship is different, and every person is different. But every marriage and relationship have one thing in common, a desire to be closer and to be more in love.
Throughout the day we send out signals, what one author called “bids.” We’ll ask people if they saw the game last night, if they watched that show, read that blog, what they’re doing this weekend.
While some couples may feel distant and feel like the fun and love have worn off from their marriage, it is never too late.
I’m always sad whenever I hear couples talk as if their marriage is as good as it can get. We feel the same about friendships. At least I have someone to watch the Super Bowl with. Could be worse!
So, how do you build love back into a loveless marriage? How do you rekindle love that feels like it has worn out? How do you feel more fulfilled and happier in your marriage?
Honestly, it isn’t as hard as you might think.
The next time you are with your spouse or friend, ask them: What is one thing I can do to make your life more enjoyable? To make you feel more loved? To lessen the stress in your life?
The answers from your spouse might be: to have coffee ready in the morning, to pick up your clothes, to pick up the kids at school, to have dinner ready by a certain time, to have a meal plan for the week, cleaning up the kitchen before going to bed, no smartphones after 8pm. It might be more affection, more date nights, more time alone for mom, more sex, more talking, more face to face activities (what women enjoy), or more shoulder to shoulder activities (which men enjoy). It might be a huge request or a small one.
Your friend might say, “Let me pick what we do. Stop talking to me like that. Say yes to help me next time I ask.”
A few years ago Katie and I were beginning to feel like we had settled into a routine in our marriage, and we wanted to shake out of it. So we asked each other this in a conversation. We began to see how we had taken the other for granted and what would begin building back into our relationship. Revisiting this conversation can be incredibly helpful for couples.
Now a word of warning. There is a chance that what your spouse or friend will say is something you don’t want to do or think you are already doing, and they should be grateful for what you do. It can be easy to blow off what they say because you don’t want it. This response can be destructive to your relationship because your spouse or friend will probably not mention it again, and a divide will begin in your relationship.
As you move forward from this conversation, try it out for a week. See how it goes. Try it out for a month and then evaluate it. You may find it isn’t so bad. Your spouse may decide they really don’t want what they requested as much as they thought.
In the end, you are moving towards the other person and showing love to them in a way that makes sense to them, and that is never a bad thing.