Have you ever thought: “I just don’t love my husband any more.” “I’m just not attracted to my wife anymore.” “My life would be so much better if I was married to _____.” “I wish I lived like _____”? You know how you’re “supposed to act” towards your spouse but it’s just so hard, and it doesn’t feel like things will ever change. The good news is that these feelings will not stay around forever. That marriage love will come back. The better news is that we can give you some tips that we’ve seen bring an incredible joy and love into hundreds of relationships.
Plug the holes in your cup
Picture a big glass cup in your kitchen. No, not the dirty one that’s on the counter – a clean one. Let’s imagine that this cup holds all of the love you could possibly have for your spouse. Now, let’s imagine that there’s a small hole on the bottom of the cup and a few more on the sides.
These holes are there in our real life too and the sooner we patch them, the easier it is for the cup to refill.
- Stop focusing on your past mistakes: This is one that is really hard for me personally. I’ve messed up so many times my family and friends could write a book – maybe even several books. If you’re a Christian, you know you’re saved by grace, but there’s also a little voice that likes to remind us of our pasts. Focusing on your past mistakes actually makes it more likely to repeat them and others. Stop it! You may still have to deal with the consequences of your past actions, but you have to decide to believe God’s promise of grace. For me, this often comes from talking to Father about it and listening to His answer.
- Change the station: This includes TV shows, the radio station and the movies you and your family watch. Without realizing it, the toxic relationships and actions we see and hear in these seep into our cup and pollute our thinking. Be very intentional in finding shows and movies that support positive relationships. For music, turn to K-LOVE. Google K-Love or search for it on your phone’s app store.
- Choose whom you listen to: Everyone likes to give advice (my hand is raised right now too), so whom do you listen to? For me, an easy guide is to look at the person’s life. Would you want their life? Are their relationships healthy? If you want to rebuild your love for your spouse, listen to the people that have the relationships that you’d like to see in your house. Listen to those that are open to exposing the cold seasons and downturns, not just the joyous time they may be in right now.
Increase the positive flow
- Spend more time with Father: If you’re only source of meaning and love is your spouse and your children, you will be crushed whenever it feels like they turned on you. Spend time in Scripture, talking to and listening to God. His view of you never changes and He loves to boast on His children.
- Doing things side-by-side: Take a few hours and make a list of all the things in your area that your spouse would like doing, even better if you’d like doing them too. I mean make a long list. Play tourist, find those hiking trails, pick up a bocce ball set for the park, ask friends and Google for community events in the next four months. Now, put some time on the calendar to spend some time side-by-side with your spouse. It’s easy to fall into the same routine and just sit around the house. This will take away those excuses and side-by-side time is VERY important.
- Intentional time with couples that have strong marriages: Think about the people in your life and community that are maybe a little older than you in terms of your marriage that have strong marriages. Talk to them; ask them to one of those activities; make time for them. This step is hard. People have busy lives and are sometimes reluctant, but stay diligent in it.
- Prayerfully serve: Nothing transforms a marriage and our feelings like serving with our spouse. What is a need in your community that you, your spouse and maybe even your entire family could meet? Serving at a food pantry, volunteering to lead a small group with a local church, taking care of the lawn for an elderly neighbor? It’s less important the “what” and more important that you pick something for the next 3-6 months and start.
Many people will tell you that you can’t fall back in love with your spouse, but that just doesn’t match with reality, with God’s Word or with the stories of couples that have been married 50+ years. The initial “in love” feelings only last a few years at first, and our relationships tend to go through highs and lows. The good news is that learning a few news skills and having the motivation to use them can drastically shorten any of the lows in your marriage.
Let us know how refilling your cup goes and find more tips on your marriage on twitter @SupportMarriage and on Facebook at Marriage is Forever.
Please share this post with your friends. New skills plus a little motivation can change tomorrow.