What to Do When Your Spouse Stops Trying
Have you been the ONLY one putting effort into your marriage? Have you asked to go to counseling and always get the same negative response from your spouse? Are you usually the one who is trying to engage and initiate connection? Do you make effort most days while your spouse has stopped trying?
If that’s you, my guess is that you must be feeling a mixture of overwhelmed, confused, frustrated and lonely.
When you feel lonely in your marriage, there is no we, only you and your spouse, living as completely separate entities. You may or may not seem to be that happy couple to others, and you may or may not be able to keep a united front for the kids. Either way, when it's just you and your spouse living more like roommates, you don’t feel close, connected, secure or safe. You probably feel that your spouse wouldn’t be able to answer basic questions about what’s important to you or what you feel or think on a daily basis.
If that's you, the first thing you must do (which is the only thing you have control over), is work on yourself.
If you want a better marriage, you need to create a better you.
It’s time to work on self-discovery by seeking therapy, finding a mentor, using our resources like Naked Conversations, and giving yourself the time to build your confidence. Own your mistakes, extend forgiveness and become self-aware.
After spending some time on your attitude, habits and decisions, it’s time to have the tough conversation with your spouse. You need to be able to communicate your concerns and how you’re feeling, whether they like it or not. And since you’re only responsible for yourself, be sure to come to the conversation with a good attitude and set aside time with no distractions. Sit down, face to face and reach out for your spouse’s hand.
The conversation should go something like this:
"I wanted you to know that I miss you. I miss us. I promised on our wedding day that I would do anything and everything it takes to love you and work on us. I have been feeling like we’re disconnected. I’ve been feeling lonely and sad and I am thinking that if I feel that way, you must be feeling that way too. I am sitting here because I love you and I want us to work on our marriage. Can we brainstorm some ideas on how we can become more connected?"
Now your spouse might respond with a shocked look or they might laugh at you. They might blame you for the disconnection or they might respond with understanding and love. You cannot worry about their response. It’s out of your control. You're responsible to speak up, in love, when you’re feeling like your spouse has stopped engaging in the marriage.