Sometimes when we fantasize about leaving or ending our marriage, it’s not because we’re fighting with our spouse, or because we’re angry, or because we don’t like or love them… It’s often simply because we feel bored and don’t feel the spark that we felt any more.
Maybe you’re feeling that life with your spouse has become dull and routine, rather than interesting and engaging.
If this is the case, rest assured you are definitely not alone! The reality is that most marriages will feel stale and lifeless at times and that’s quite normal.
As a Psychotherapist I’ve spent a lot of time helping people to work through these feelings and find new hope and new energy in their relationships.
So what do you do when you feel bored in your marriage and you’re deciding whether you should leave, or try to save your marriage?
First, know that “all is not lost”! There is, indeed, hope for you to feel invigorated, excited and alive in your relationship again. And, contrary to the thoughts you might be having as you’re reading this, it’s not going to take too much hard work, just a bit of a change in your focus and a willingness to go outside your usual comfort zone.
In fact, probably the hardest part of saving your marriage is making a decision that you’re ready to take the action steps that will do just that, despite feeling that you’re not (yet) getting what you need…
Step 1: Decide that for the next 3 to 6 months you’re going to do all that you can do to save your marriage (despite your fears)
This is a small step, but an important one. If you’ve been considering leaving your marriage at all, then chances are that you’ve had one foot out of the marriage and one foot in the marriage for a little while now.
Now is a time to decide that you are willing and committed to investing 3 to 6 months from today to save your marriage. Tell yourself…
“For the next 6 months, I’m going to focus on doing everything I can to save my marriage… I’m going to commit to this despite my fear that it won’t change and despite my fear that my spouse isn’t interested in saving our marriage!”
Step 2: Do the things that you can do to reignite the spark and rebuild your relationship. Save your marriage.
There are many things that you can do to turn your relationship around. Some you can start with are:
Re-invest energy into the relationship side of the marriage
When you met your spouse, there were probably things that you enjoyed sharing and doing together that made you feel connected and close to each other. These may have been outings, dates, events or activities. Do you still do those together?
Maybe it’s time to think about having “date nights”. These are times that you specifically schedule into your diary where you spend time together “dating each other” again. Going out to a restaurant or film or picnic/walk together and actually consciously talking about each other and what you want. Often couples end up talking about finances, kids, extended families, pets, etc. While this is important, talking about each other’s needs is just as important and helps you re-invest energy into your relationship and support and save your marriage.
Listen to each other with fresh ears
Often we have developed an expectation of what each other will say, and so we’re so busy “knowing what they’ll say” that we don’t delve in and ask each other what they need or how they feel. I’m not saying that you need to become their therapist (that’s my job). I’m simply saying that if you actually really listen to what your partner is saying with 100% attention, you might hear something that makes them more interesting.
Ask more questions
When we “know” someone, we stop asking them questions and trying to understand them. Did you know that the simple act of asking questions and really listening to the answer can have your spouse (and I’m guessing you too) start to feel really engaged and connected again? Try it…you might be surprised at how well it works.
Create shared goals and visions that don’t necessarily include finances
Often the mere act of living as a joint unit can leave us making only goals that are about getting by week-to-week, or achieving financial goals. How about making some goals together, really spending the time together to talk about what your dreams and visions are, and setting some extraordinary and fun goals together?
And many more…
Naturally there are many other things you can do to reignite the spark in your relationship. But starting with these few can be a great way to really start to change the dynamic of your relationship and help you begin the process of saving your marriage today!