Have you ever sat across from your spouse at a restaurant and didn’t have anything to say to one another? I have. It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. It makes your mind wonder, “Is he/she bored of our relationship? Have we grown apart? What’s happened to us?”
It may be that we’ve stopped giving our marriage the attention it needs.
I’ve learned one of the greatest hindrances to marriage is not paying attention to our partner. I don’t think we do this consciously. It’s the demands of everyday life that steal our attention away from our partners — and paying attention to the other is crucial for happy relationships.
I bet you could name those demands in your marriage… work, children, bills, activities, T.V. etc…
Even if your relationship is in some sort of emotional limbo, the good news is you can revive the passion you once felt for one another.
Here are 5 ways to revive your marriage:
1. Pay attention to your spouse.
You may think you’re doing this, but how long has it been since you’ve asked your mate what they need from you? People grow and change. What worked years ago might not be what works today.
As I’ve shared before, without communication there is no relationship. When it comes to communicating, it takes two to tango. Communication is more about listening then it is about talking. For example, when one person is speaking the other must not interrupt. He/she must listen completely before responding. And when responding, it’s good to repeat what you just heard to verify that you heard the other person correctly. When things get heated at my house, this technique is a real gem!
2. Share new experiences together.
My husband and like to take hikes on the weekends. We use to do this before the children came along. Now that they’re grown, we’re back to the trails.
We’ve also taken ballroom dancing together. It was hysterical because we both had two-left feet. We still talk and laugh about it today.
Finding something you can do together not only brings you closer, opens up the lines of communicate, but it puts the spark back into your _______________. I’ll let you fill in the blank!
3. Act as if you’re in a new relationship.
For years we’ve heard, “Have a date night with your spouse once a week.” That’s good advice! But where do you begin?
Ask questions about your spouse. (You just might find something you both would love to do together!) Ask your mate what brings them joy? Or, if they could go anywhere in the world, where would he/she go? Then decorate the dinning room according to the culture and have a romantic dinner for two.
Think about what you did when you first dated…. Hold hands. Hold open the door. Say “please” and “thank-you.” Dating your spouse definitely keeps the magic going.
4. Be kind
When you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s easy to take each other for granted. Being kind to one another changes the tone. For example, whenever I try to give my husband driving tips, he responds kindly.
“Thank you, honey, for being helpful today.” Yes, he’s being sarcastic, but I get his point and it didn’t offend me. Usually, I laugh at his statement. That’s important, too. Learn to laugh at yourself and with each other. (You did this when you were dating.)
If I were asked to share what has held my marriage together, I’d say two things. One, we laugh at ourselves instead of taking everything so seriously. Two, we choose to forgive each other no matter what.
5. Be affectionate
Studies have shown that touch goes a long way in communicating your feelings. Try squeezing the hand, or a gentle touch on the face. A pat on the back or an arm around the shoulder is nice, too.
Let’s not forgive the emotional side of things. Complement your spouse for cooking dinner, or tell your husband how talented he is for fixing the car. Use words of endearment as often as you can. You might even call each other during the day just to say, “I love you.”
Most importantly, pray for one another. It’s impossible to fight when you’re in prayer.
Each of these things can do a lot for a so-so marriage. It will draw you back to the same page, have you dating again, and rekindle the passion!
I challenge you to apply this to your marriage and see for yourself what a difference it can make.