I'm very commonly asked how to restore a feeling of closeness in your marriage. The other day, I heard from a wife who told me that she was extremely troubled because she no longer felt close to or intimate with her husband. For a couple of years now, she'd noticed a troubling distance growing between them.
Unfortunately, she told herself that they had just grown comfortable with each other and that perhaps she was just expecting too much or imagining things. So she really didn't do much about it. But now, she was in a situation where her husband wasn't always including her in many aspects in his life. He'd recently begun visiting family and friends alone. He'd started talking about taking a vacation with his guys friends.
But more than this, there just wasn't the feeling of closeness that used to define their marriage in the early days. The wife told me, in part: "I miss the closeness my husband and I used to share. It used to be that we were always together, told each other everything, and finished each other's sentences. Neither of us would think of going somewhere without the other. But now, he thinks nothing of excluding me. Sometimes, I notice him rolling his eyes at me. And often, I realize when I'm talking to him that he just isn't listening. He used to spontaneously hold my hand or pick me flowers out of our yard and leave them by the kitchen sink for me to find in the morning before I poured my coffee. He never does that anymore."
"I feel a loss about this. I miss him. I miss his touch, our talks, and just knowing that someone else in this world understood and loved me. Now I feel as though we merely take up the same space but that's about it. When I try to discuss this with my husband, he acts like I'm being silly but then he does nothing to reassure me or to bring us close. What can I do? How can I restore the closeness in our marriage because it appears like I'm the only one who cares?"
I could really identify with this wife. On an almost weekly basis, I hear from wives who tell me that one day, it seems like they wake up next to a stranger to whom they don't feel as close as they once did, even though most still love and are committed to their husbands. It sometimes happens so gradually, that when you realize how far you've fallen, your marriage can be in real trouble. In the following article, I'll go over how to restore the closeness in your marriage.
Start Small But Very Deliberately To Make The Process Pleasurable And Less Awkward: Many people make the mistake of trying to do too much all at once. They panic. They worry that their marriage is in real trouble and they try to make very drastic or desperate changes. They'll book a long trip or try to spend every waking moment with their spouse all of a sudden.
What sometimes happens then is that things are a bit awkward and forced. And the spouses can take this to mean that they just aren't compatible anymore of that things have gotten worse than they thought. This in turn, discourages then from continuing on or they worry that they are doing something wrong – and this derails them and ensures that they don't ultimately restore the closeness which can make things even worse.
That's why I really advocate small steps. You want to ease your way into this so that it doesn't feel awkward or forced. You want to experience success with each step so that you'll keep going. Start out by doing small things like taking a walk after dinner or offering to give your spouse back rub. This doesn't have to lead to anything major (although I can tell you that men tell me all the time on my blog that they equate sex with closeness.)
These small thing will hopefully form the beginning of new habits and changing up the culture of your marriage. As you continue to have success, you can ramp up your efforts a bit – as it feels comfortable to you and as you are getting good results and feedback. Honestly, your goal is to get the spark back in your marriage. Because it truly is this spark that makes you feel close to one another.
What happens if things just aren't clicking or you worry that it will never work or you even feel rejected? Just keep trying as you are able. It will come, which leads me to my next point.
Be Willing To Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone: Think back to when you first met and feel in love with your husband. Back then, I'll bet even the most mundane things seemed special just because you were together. And many people will be tempted to do things they used to enjoy together as a first step to restore this closeness. This can be a good idea, or you might want to try something new to shake things up. It's even better if it's an activity that forces or encourages you to work together.
The whole idea is for both of you to be enjoying yourselves and to feel highly alive while you are together so that the spark returns. When the spark is there, you often can't help wanting to feel closer to your spouse. This is basic human instincts. Once things are clicking, you will want to shake things up in the bedroom also. This frankly will suddenly make your husband quite interested in your feeling close to him again.
Make Restoring The Closeness Something That You Schedule In Your Own Mind: You may or may not share with your spouse any plan you have about restoring the closeness. Because some are open to this and others will tell you that the problem is all in your head or have become so distant that they're not all that receptive.
Whatever you're dealing with, it really helps to give yourself goals and then follow up with yourself to make sure you are meeting them. Maybe you want to make it a priority to "check in" with your spouse once per day and spend some quiet time together. This doesn't have to mean a physical connection. It can mean a mental connection or just a conversation. (However, I highly recomend making sure you are having regular sex.)
Perhaps you want to make it a goal to enjoy an activity outside of your house once or twice a week. Maybe you want to make sure that not more than a few days go by before you are intimate.
I know that it can seem kind of unnatural to schedule this sort of thing, especially when you're used to being spontaneous, but you honestly can't just expect these things to happen on their own. If you don't take deliberate and regular action, the distance might grow and this can really negatively affect and even end your marriage.
Frankly, by the time I realized the closeness was leaving my marriage, it was almost too late. By the time I addressed this with my husband, he decided he wasn't happy in the marriage and told me he wanted out. Eventually, after a lot of starts and stops, I learned how to feel close to him again and this was one of the things that saved our marriage. You can read that personal story at http://isavedmymarriage.com
I often hear from women who tell me that the main thing that is keeping them from trying to save their marriage or from trusting their husband again after his cheating is the fear that he will have another one. I often hear comments like: "I want to trust my husband again and I'd like to save my marriage, but I'm paralyzed by the fear that he will cheat again or have another affair. This is so painful that I'm not sure that I could ever go through this again."
How do I get my husband to love me again? Have you been asking yourself that question? As time goes by in a marriage, it's quite possible that both partners start drifting into their own little worlds, without realizing that they are also drifting away from each other. Although the change is usually slow, you might feel as if you just woke up one morning and all of a sudden things were different. All of a sudden your husband doesn't love you anymore.
HOW DO I SAVE MY MARRIAGE AFTER MY HUSBAND COMMITTED INFIDELITY?Arrange a civilized meeting with your spouse after your rage has subsided. Analyze the present consequences of the relationship if you decide to forgive him. Let your spouse lay their cards on the table and tell you their side of the story.
I get a lot of emails from wives (and sometimes from husbands too) who indicate that the marriage is no longer a close one or that both parties no longer feel as close to one another as they once did. I'll often hear things like: "we used to talk for hours but now we can't carry a conversation;" or "I used to feel so close to him but now he feels like a stranger to me;" or "I feel like we're both going through the motions and don't really care one way or another." These statements have one very important thing in common. They all stem from a lack of intimacy which has become increasingly common in modern marriages. People sometimes mistakenly think that they've "fallen out of love," or that they no longer have any "chemistry." This really isn't often the case. Instead, what has happened is that the effort hasn't been there and so the intimacy isn't there either, although this isn't necessarily any one's fault. Changing this dynamic is very much within your control though. I'll discuss this more in the following article.
I often hear questions like: "once the love has gone, is it gone forever? Will I ever learn to love my husband again or is this as good as our marriage is ever going to get?" Or, "once you reach a certain age, does there come a point where you just have to accept that you're no longer going to feel all weak kneed and silly inside? Is there any way to get the love and the spark to return or is that just the way that it is when you've been married for as long as I have?"
The other day I got frustrated with this and asked him why we were living this way and he finally admitted that he had developed feelings for a woman at work. What am I supposed to do with this information? And how awful to know that he's only here by default. At this point, I feel like I'm holding onto him against his will. For how long do you hold on to your marriage when you suspect that it's over for your husband, especially if he has feelings for someone else?"