How do I get my Spouse to Notice Me?

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.

Simple things.


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.

Loving & Delighting in Your Marriage

Most married couples would say they love their spouse, even on the hardest days, but few marriages reach the level of delight.

Loving your spouse and delighting in your spouse are two different things, and the difference, I think, is the difference between a good and a great marriage.

We all love lots of people, but we don’t delight in all those people.

To delight in someone means “to take great pleasure in them, to adore them, to revel in, luxuriate in.”

You can love someone and not delight in them.

To delight in your spouse means to look for ways to build them up, to help them accomplish goals and dreams, to help them succeed.

To delight means more than just fighting for purity in your marriage. It means delighting in purity in your marriage and holding up your love and purity for your spouse so that everyone around you knows and feels it. Here’s what I mean. Have you ever seen a couple who has been married 10, 15, 20+ years who is still holding hands, snuggling in public or sharing kisses? Pursuing each other outside of the bedroom, in front of people? This is delight.

Have you seen a couple who speaks highly of each other? When you hear the wife talk about her husband, how proud she is of him, how much he provides for her, the leadership he takes. At times you wonder if she is making stuff up, and she might be. But delighting in your spouse means seeing the person they are becoming and helping them to get there.

When we love someone, even at our best, we can often love them for what they give to us or how they fulfill us. Delight is different. Delight is a focus on the other.

How to Love the Things of God

Growing up in the church, I always heard things like, “we don’t do that, that’s of the world.” Or, “we don’t love the things of the world, we love the things of God.” This sounds nice and good, but when I asked what specifically those things were I would hear things like Easter eggs, alcohol, dancing, gambling or Christmas trees. Interestingly, other things like TV or electricity weren’t things of the world (although they were for some people in my community as I grew up near many Amish communities).

There is a desire many people have to love God and love the things of God, but we often don’t know how.

How do we know if we’re loving the right things? How do we know if we love the world and the things of the world or the things of God? (see 1 John 2:15 – 17)

Two writers help us understand this.

Augustine said, “What really makes you what you are, is not so much what you say, believe or behave, but what you love.” And James K.A. Smith more recently said, “You are what you love.” Our loves define us, not what we say we believe, but our loves. Our loves get our time, attention, talent, and finances. You can say you love friends and community, but if you never make any time for them because of other commitments, do you really love friends and community? Many men say they love their families and yet make commitments that keep them from their families.

What I never heard growing up is that after John tells us not to love the world or the things of the world, he tells us what those things are.

Three things: desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes and pride in possessions.

First, The desires of the flesh. John is speaking of a few things here.

He is speaking at misdirecting our sexual desire outside of God’s design. This can be sex outside of marriage, porn, fantasizing about someone you aren’t married to, getting emotionally involved with someone you aren’t married to, wishing your spouse was different, looked different, or acted different.

This also applies to your personal feeling of your own body and the elevated desire you have to look a certain way or have a certain body type.

This also points to what we are willing to do for love; the distance we will go for someone to love us. Or, how we will manipulate someone by withholding love to get what we want.

Here’s another way to think about the desire of the flesh – a desire to always get your way, especially in relationships.

In marriage, you stop pursuing your spouse and pursue porn or someone else. When a man pulls away from his wife and looks at porn, he shouldn’t be surprised when she pulls away from him, even if she doesn’t know why. She knows he is pulling away from her.

You stop opening up to your spouse and slowly start pulling away from them to the point that you never talk or share your dreams, hurts and joys. If you’re married, you should know your spouse’s storytheir past, their hurts and joys. You should know their dreams and how to help them fulfill those dreams.

Second, The desires of the eyes. This is the desire of what can be seen. A certain life, a certain lifestyle.

In many ways, this is your ideal and dream Instagram account, whatever that is. It could be a certain kind of house, certain kind of family, certain kind of grill, workout equipment, cars, vacations, food, clothes, closet space, hiking, or boating.

Now, John isn’t saying that cars, shoes, grills, houses or vacations are evil. They are morally neutral. It is our desire towards those things. Why? Because that desire consumes us and takes over. We do whatever we can to have a certain life or appear to have a certain lifestyle. We all have this. This is a desire of having everything. So many of us have bought the lie that you can have it all.

Men believe they can climb the ladder, have the perfect family, friends, hobbies and God. And yet, something breaks on the way up the ladder.

Mom’s kill themselves for this lie. They believe it is possible to have it all and look like you have it all so that people behind your back say with jealousy, “she has it all.” That woman who “has it all” is often cracking and dying from the pressure and the sadness that she really doesn’t have it all, but no one knows.

This can be the workaholic, taking on too much. Never stopping to ask, do I want this life? Should I say yes to this assignment or promotion? If I say yes to this, what am I saying no to? There is always a trade off.

Kids sports teams, there’s always a trade off in your life. A friend recently lamented the loss of his evenings and life as he and his wife try to juggle three soccer teams for their three kids. He’s miserable, their kids are exhausted. But there is a life he is chasing, a life they either want to have or want people to think they have. It is a dangerous place.

This is the person who can’t slow down because they’re afraid. They are afraid that if they stop moving and doing stuff, what will they do? I had a woman tell me once that she couldn’t take a day off or rest because she was afraid of the thoughts that would flood her mind. She was running.

If you’re a parent, this could be the desire you have for your kids to behave a certain way, get certain grades, or get a scholarship. We kill ourselves for that, we push our kids to insane lengths for that. Why? We say it is for them, but deep down it is a desire to be seen a certain way. Why? Because the people they are and the people they become are a direct reflection of our parenting. We want people to know that aren’t flaky parents, we are incredible parents.

Third, Pride in possessions. Again, John isn’t telling us possessions are bad. He is telling us that loving them and having pride in them is bad. Being driven by them will destroy us.

This is the desire to appear important.

This is wanting to appear smart, successful.

This is why many are in debt, or workaholics.

This is why people take certain jobs and careers. Appeasing a parent or a spouse seems more important. They give up a dream, a God-given call for something safer.

Too many of us find pride in what we acquire, what we have or the drive to get those things and it becomes incredibly dangerous.

So what do we do?

Right before these verses, John reminds us that as followers of Jesus our sins are forgiven, we know the Father, we have overcome the evil one. He tells us twice we know the Father and we have overcome the evil one. This is crucial because it takes the wind out of the sails of loving the wrong things. John is saying, young mom with young kids, in Jesus, you are enough.

To the one trying to have it all, in Jesus, you have it all.

To the one who is dying for your mom, your dad, your spouse to say “I’m proud of you”, in Jesus, God is proud of you.

To the one who is trying to climb the ladder to accomplish some unforeseen goal that is always out there, in Jesus, you are complete. In Jesus, the work is done.

To the one that struggles to believe they can be free from that porn addiction, gossiping, loneliness, anxiety, in Jesus, your sins are forgiven. In Jesus, you have the power to overcome the evil one.

To the one who is worried about how your kids will reflect on you as a parent, in Jesus, your reflection is set.

To the one who wants to be known and stop being lonely and alone, in Jesus, you are known and you have your Father in heaven from the beginning.

To the one who feels lost and left out, in Jesus, you are found. You have been brought in and you know the Father.

When You and Your Spouse aren’t on the Same Page

Have you ever felt like you and your spouse were on different roads? At the time of your marriage you had all of these incredible dreams. You were going to walk hand in hand, arm in arm through life and tackle whatever came your way.


Part of what pulled you together were these common dreams,

these common interests.

Your spouse understood you and encouraged you.

But now something is different.

Life has entered in. Kids, in-laws, health issues, debt, a mortgage. The light in your eyes has disappeared. Your excitement about crazy ideas that would change the world are met with, “Now isn’t the time.”

For men and women this can be crushing, but especially for men.

One of the underlying needs and desires of a man is to know that the people around him believe in him.

Little boys are continually asking if they measure up. This is one reason they attempt crazy things like climbing high trees and standing on walls. They want to know, “Can I do this? Do you think I can do this?”

One of the most soul crushing things a person can communicate to a man is, “I don’t think you can do this.”

The same is true for a woman.

When they are dating, most men love to listen to their girlfriend talk. To hear her heart, her dreams. He asks questions and imagines with her what their future will be like.

But something changes.


Now it isn’t as interesting as it used to be.

What you used to have in common you no longer do.

When a man pulls back and finds other interests, looks for new challenges, he crushes the spirit of his wife.

This is a crucial moment in a marriage.

At this moment you either continue down the path of pulling away, discouraging your spouse and essentially becoming your own person (this is dismal and miserable),

or you pull towards your spouse.

At any given moment you are either growing closer to your spouse or pulling away from them.

There isn’t a third direction.

Marriages do not stall out.

It is difficult to re-engage with your spouse.

Things have been said. Hurt is running deep in you. There is a chance you have felt unsupported for years.

That won’t simply go away. It needs to be dealt with, by both of you. It needs to be faced, by both of you.

You have to face what hurts. You have to face what has been said, both to you and by you.

It will also take choosing to get on the same road once again, sharing your dreams with each other and giving up some of your individual dreams because they don’t help you reach your goals as a couple. This is crucial because too many couples continue living as single people when it comes to their dreams and goals.

Many times, and don’t miss this, many times a married couple’s romance and excitement at the start of the marriage mask that they aren’t on the same page. But as time goes on and life happens (ie., stress, kids, etc.), it begins to reveal that you aren’t on the same page. Life has a way of unraveling that newness and excitement.

How do you know this is you? You’ll say and think things like, “It didn’t use to be this hard.” Or, “Why is marriage taking so much effort and work? Remember when it just sort of happened?” Or, “My spouse used to just get me. They used to be understanding and supportive, but now they aren’t.”

To end, let me give a word of warning.

It is easy to think that this should come easily and quickly once you find you and your spouse are on different roads going towards different goals.

The reason we think this is because of how quickly we remember it happening while we were dating.

The reality, though, is that you have spent years (potentially) going down different roads. It isn’t as simple as “just getting on the same page.”

But don’t give up.

The newness and excitement you once shared, the hopes and dreams you stayed up all night sharing while dating, can be rekindled. They can be found anew.

The Halfway Point of the Year & the Top 10 Posts of July

It’s the middle of summer.

In Tucson, where I live, the monsoon’s are in full swing and school is back in session.

The year is more than halfway over.

Hopefully you are closer to the goals you set at the start of the year.

If not, don’t fear.

The year isn’t over and it isn’t too late to hit restart and try again.

In case you missed them, here are the top 10 posts of the month of July. Hopefully, they are encouraging to you but also help you reach the goals you have as a leader and a person. Thanks for reading!

  1. 11 Ways to Know You’ve Settled for a Mediocre Marriage
  2. How to Share your Faith
  3. 7 Ideas to Help Your Kids Grow Spiritually
  4. 8 Questions to Ask Before You Preach a Sermon
  5. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize
  6. 18 Things Every Husband Should Know about His Wife
  7. How Many Times a Year Should a Pastor Preach
  8. 5 Books Every Pastor & Church Staff Should Read
  9. What Role a Pastor’s Wife Plays in the Church?
  10. When You Manipulate Your Husband, You Lose Him

Making Time for Your Marriage

The other day a friend asked me, “How do you make time to work on your marriage?”

Every couple struggles with this.

You have a job, hobbies, kids (maybe), and all of them are vying for your time.

The reality.

You make time for whatever matters most.

Let’s be honest. You might think you don’t have time to date your spouse or work on the latest issue in your marriage.

But you do.

I told my friend, “Whatever matters most to you, you will make time for it.”

If you don’t make time for your marriage, it doesn’t matter to you.

I know that sounds harsh.

But you have time for fantasy sports, hiking, cards with the guys, your kids’ sports. Are those bad? No, but they matter less than your marriage.

If working on your marriage matters, you will make time at 6am or 9pm.

Anyone who tells you they don’t have time for their marriage is lying.

They don’t care enough about it to make the time for it.

How to Keep Your Marriage Special

Let’s face it, when you date someone, you make things special. You think up incredible dates, time a picnic to watch a sunset or drive to the beach to see the sunrise. You scout out museums, new places to eat or grab coffee.

When you get married, this continues before you have kids.

You make big gestures like new jewelry, a big purchase your spouse has been eyeing, dream vacations and honeymoons. Maybe even decorating a new house or your first condo.

Then kids come along.

All of a sudden what used to be special is pretty ordinary.

Your birthday budget is now spent on throwing the extravagant toddler party. As they get older, an arm and a leg must be spent to take your kids and all their friends to the trampoline place. Family vacations take the place of that romantic getaway. Those big gifts and fun purchases are replaced by backpacks, a new toaster, shoes for the kids, camp or car repairs.

All of a sudden you’re not only ordinary, but it is now not romantic and not fun.

Many couples hit a wall in this spot.

The place of romantic gestures moves from being big and extravagant, posting all over Instagram, to ordinary, smaller gestures of romance. This feels uncreative, less loving and not as amazing as it used to be.

It also takes more planning and thinking, and this is why many couples fail.

If you have $500 to spend on an anniversary gift, the ideas are endless. It is simply picking between three amazing ideas, and then you could even stretch it to $600 or $750. They’ll understand because who’s going to be mad about spending a little more when you’ve already spent that much? Compare that to $25 or $50 to spend. Now what? How do you make that special?

This is a struggle for men because we like big gestures. Men also believe their wives only like big gestures. Don’t get me wrong, your wife likes big gestures. But she likes small, everyday gestures of love, too. Maybe even more. If you were to ask your wife is she would like one big gesture of love each year or small gestures each day, I bet she’ll pick the daily one.

What does this look like?

Right now you probably think you know what your spouse would like, but in all probability you have no idea. So ask.

Here are some examples: snuggling, giving a kiss good bye and hello each day, holding hands, cleaning up after yourself or pitching in, spontaneously making out, something they weren’t expecting (lunch out, a pastry from their favorite shop, a coffee in the middle of the afternoon), a text that says I’m thinking of you.

Yes, five day trips to the beach are amazing. Sleeping in and staying up late with your spouse is incredible. If you have kids, those days have hit pause. They’ll return, but only if you learn how to make your marriage special in everyday, ordinary ways.

Why Dating is Easy & Marriage is Hard

If you’ve been married any length of time, you’ve wondered what happened. Why did dating seem so easy? Why did it seem like it was easy to have fun and connect with your boyfriend or girlfriend while you were dating and engaged, but now that you are married it is like pulling teeth?

Anytime you share your feelings, you have a fight. One of you wants sex, but the other does not. One of you feels satisfied, but the other does not. While dating, you could agree on what movie to watch, what activity to do or where to eat, but now you find yourselves having nothing in common but a last name and maybe a child.

Many couples struggle with this. While you may feel like you are the only one, you aren’t.

Yes, your life has changed now. You are older, have more bills and more history with your spouse than when you dated. You also have stress you didn’t have before. I know, it was hard planning your wedding and dealing with families, but now you are dealing with bosses, teachers, your children and you are still dealing with your families! Everything has simply magnified.

But the question remains for many couples and keeps them stuck.

Why can’t I connect to my spouse like we did when we dated?

One other thing changed that is subtle, and many couples miss it.

It isn’t that you have less in common (although your interests may have changed) or that you aren’t in love anymore, although you may need a refresher on what love is.

There is a word that defined your dating and engaged life. A word that you didn’t discuss. You never sat down as a couple to decide on this word. It just happened.



You were intentional.

You decided in advance. You decided to pursue the other. To work at your relationship.

You decided you would put effort into your relationship and yourself.

You made special plans. You thought through how to wake up early and drive to watch a sunrise. You found out things they liked and sought to make that happen. You surprised them.

You decided to wear things to attract them instead of mailing in your clothes choice.

Most dating couples are incredibly intentional about their relationships, and most married couples expect a great marriage to just happen.

But it doesn’t.

Here’s a great question to discuss as a couple: In what areas of our lives (marriage, kids, career, finances, sex, spirituality, etc.) are we being intentional, and in which areas do we need to be more intentional?

Do You Believe in Your Spouse?

Do you believe the best in your spouse? Or do you expect them to fail? Are you pushing them to become all that God created them to be?

I have learned that people will often reach the bar we set for them. If the bar is low, don’t expect a lot. Expect to be disappointed.

Do you believe that your spouse can become all the things that God has called them to, or do you expect them to fail? If they are a follower of Jesus, they have the Holy Spirit living in them, which means they have the power to become all that God has called them to become in Scripture. What if you started believing that? Praying for that? For God to work in their lives and make them into the man or woman that God has called them to become?

How we see people is how we treat them. If we see them as a failure, we treat them as such. Katie is my biggest cheerleader, and I hope and pray I am hers. She believes I can do great things. She believes it, encourages me to become, and pushes me to become that.

There is also great power in this. Most people do not understand the power they have in a relationship in terms of their presence, their voice, their silence, eye contact, encouragement or insults.

You have the power to bring the best out of your spouse or discourage them. Yes, each person is responsible for themselves and determines what they do, but in a marriage, the closest human relationship, there is great power to bring out the best or the worst in your spouse.

How Your Past Affects Your Marriage

Every couple, every person has a story. Something they have carried their entire life. I call this the tone of your life, the tone of your marriage.

Often we have no idea this exists. This story is one that plays through every interaction of your life. It is the identity you take with you, the identity you play off of, often without even knowing.

Here are some examples:

  • Money was tight in your family, so you saved and saved. Money was your security. The tone of life is hectic, stressful, always watching every penny. The tone of your relationships very easily becomes one of desperation.
  • One parent is an alcoholic. The tone is one of walking around quietly, silently, not wanting to do anything to set that parent off. Excuses are made by the other parent. You eventually make excuses to others for that parent.
  • Perfection is the name of the game. Everything must be perfect. If you aren’t perfect, at least appear perfect. Always look perfect, act perfect. If a relationship isn’t perfect, pretend it is. Eventually you have no idea what is real and what isn’t, but perfection matters.
  • Grades. Grades are the key to getting ahead. If you excel in school, you win, you get attention and a good job. This carries into your career. The way to win and get attention is to be good at what you do. Weakness is for the people who lose. A fear of failure overwhelms you. If you feel, it shows you are inadequate.
  • Never good enough. The tone of this family is that we can never win, we can never get ahead. The only people who make it are everyone else. This is almost like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh in human form. Nothing good happens to this person or in this family.

How do you figure out your story and how it affects your marriage?

Here are a few questions I got from a counselor on this that I think are incredibly helpful:

  • What was the emotional atmosphere of your home growing up?
  • Were your mom and dad emotionally close or distant?
  • Did either of your parents rely on you for emotional support?
  • Were either of your parents detached or uninvolved in your family?
  • Were you ever mistreated by verbal, physical, sexual or emotional abuse?
  • Were either of your parents alcoholics?
  • In your family, what were you allowed to do or not do? What were you allowed to be or not be?
  • Lastly, what is the deepest wound you suffered in your family of origin?

This story often goes unnoticed.


It is all we know.

We only know the family that scrapes things together. We only know the family where the picture of perfection matters. We only know the father sleeping it off on the couch in hopes he doesn’t explode and hit us. We only know the family that says, “Nothing ever goes our way.”

Then when we move into our marriage, we take this story, this tone. This becomes the lens we look through as we look at our spouse, at our kids and the world around us.

We expect our spouse to fail us, lie to us, leave us, hit us, ignore us. We expect our spouse to be perfect, meet our needs, do what we want, take advantage of us. Whatever we saw.

All of this pain can be traced back to Genesis 3:15 – 16, where God tells our first parents the consequence for their sin. Ray Ortlund, in his book Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel, says, “These sad words declare and predict our cycle of dysfunction whenever a wife steps in to fill the void created by her husband’s failure to care and provide, with the husband resenting his wife for the implied criticism of his own passivity and silently or aggressively punishing her for it. Each one aggravates the weakness of the other, as they spiral down into mutual incomprehension, bitterness, and alienation. Both defiant feminism and arrogant chauvinism fall short of the glory of God’s plan. We will never get there by pointing an accusing finger at the other. According to the Bible, all restoration begins with merciful redemption coming down from God above.”