Ten common ways people fall out of love and what they can do to fall back in love. Don’t wait for your spouse to make that happen. These improvements are all under your control.
I want to tell you how you can fall in love with your husband or wife again. Too many people think that can only happen if their spouse changes, so they feel stuck.
The fact is, if you can identify any of the ways that love is being lost in your marriage, you can work on changing that. Some of these things require just a little effort.
Myth: Love is just something that happens and then stays without any effort on our part.
Key principle: Action comes before feelings.
You must be careful not to fall into the trap of waiting until you feel more loving before you start being more loving. The love we feel toward our spouse is largely created by the loving things WE do for our spouse and our relationship. Long term relationships require an intention to stay in love and to maintain love.
How we fall out of love:
1. Not telling and showing our husband or wife how much we care.
There are reasons that we stop caring so much about our spouse. Usually, it’s because we feel less care and concern from our spouse. When we stop feeling cared for, we often stop caring back. Our spouse then feels even more uncared for and treats us even worse. This is a vicious cycle that often happens between needy partners.
Needy behaviors occur when we try to make our spouses show love to us rather than giving love first and letting it flow back to us.
Being the first to giveundeserved loving kindness can break this cycle before it gets out of hand.
2. Not telling our spouse, “I love you.”
What makes it so hard to say these three little words? Well, they’re not little words at all. They are words that make us feel vulnerable. They touch close to our fear that maybe our spouse doesn’t love us anymore. And, we don’t feel that we can say them sincerely. Can our spouses tell when they look in our eyes if our love is true? Sometimes they can; sometimes they can’t.
Women often place more importance on these words than men, who place more importance on behavior. What that means is that if you are a man, you need to say “I love you” more often than you think is necessary. Imagine your wife had sex with you only as often as you told her “I love you.” How satisfied would you be? Wives should not have to adjust to less verbal assurance any more than husbands should adjust to less physical assurance. Here are 10 ways you can show love in your marriage.
3. Openly questioning whether or not we love our spouse any more.
Once such words are said, they set a pattern in motion. “I’m just not sure I love you anymore.” What can our spouse say to that? Our spouse is not likely to react by doing anything that increases our love. In fact, we are likely to get negative, reactive behavior that comes from the insecurity we triggered.
If you want to let your spouse know your feelings about the relationship, say it in a positive way. Something like, “I want our love for each other to grow deeper than it is now,” is no less true, but won’t trigger insecure behavior in our spouse. Another benefit is that when we say things in a positive way, it helps us to behave in a more loving way.
4. Not doing the little things, that show our kindness and thoughtfulness.
We used to do them, didn’t we? Our spouses did them too. They made us smile and feel important. They made our spouses feel important, too.
Once we stop doing the little things, our spouses don’t have to hear the words, “I’m not sure if I love you anymore”–they can feel something missing. Something that would be there if they were really important.
If you have to be asked to do something special for your spouse, they won’t be special to your spouse.
What were those little things you used to do? Did you buy little presents for him? Tickle her? Send him cards just because? Send text messages just to say, “I miss you”? Bring back the feelings by bringing back the behavior. Do the kinds of things you would do if you were single and in love with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
5. No longer affectionately touching or kissing.
There was a time when all we wanted to do was to touch or kiss our spouse. Holding hands was a special thing, and we didn’t need extra space on the bed when we slept at night. When did touching become routine? An expected action instead of a desired one? Was there a day when that just suddenly changed?
If you are feeling like his or her touch doesn’t mean so much any more, start touching him or her like you really mean it.
Put love and affection back into your touching and kissing. Do it in a way that your spouse can’t doubt your affection. More than words, we communicate our love by how we touch, how we gaze, and the softness of our voice.
Look, talk, and touch as if you were in love with your spouse and it will help your feelings to come back. Don’t wait for the feelings to come first.
6. Having sex less and less.
Body feelings and mind feelings are linked together. What can be emotionally and physically more wonderful? But, if that’s true, then why do many couples do it less and less? Put the same intentionality into your sex that you do into your touching and kissing.
Make your spouse feel like you enjoy him or her physically. Put the effort into your sex life that you would like your spouse to put into something that you care about.
Don’t expect feelings come naturally. Be intentional about what you are doing. Many times sex can become better for both of you just by being more verbal during sex. Or by changing the pace–becoming faster and more energetic, or slower and more loving.
When you say something, don’t think about what you would like to hear. Think about what your spouse would like to hear. Men and women are turned on by different things.
7. No longer having fun dates or doing activities together.
Are you still having fun? Have you fallen into a maintenance routine of always going to the same restaurant? Did you stop date nights after you had a child? Part of what helped us to enjoy our early dating was the newness of our relationship, as well as a newness of what we did together.
To have more fun, start doing again what you used to do before you stopped having fun.
No matter your age or physical ability, the world is full of things to do and places to go where you can enjoy being with each other. If you are finding it hard to imagine having a good time with your spouse, then it’s time to start doing different things with your spouse. Learn how to do cooperative date planning with your spouse. Don’t wait for your spouse to initiate this.
8. Less and less talking about intimate subjects.
In marriage we share parts of ourselves that we would not trust the rest of the world with. Intimate talk means sharing things that are personal and meaningful. Intimate talk is letting our spouse hear about parts of our emotions and thinking that others don’t hear.
In order to have intimate talk, you need to have a spouse who listens well and treats your thoughts and feelings sensitively. That goes for your spouse, too.
Don’t be quick to share all your thoughts and feelings with everyone else. Save some aspect of yourself for your spouse. If you are not good at this, you can work on it by asking yourself how your spouse enjoys sharing? Is it the feelings? Or the details? Some people are into facts and some feelings. Share the one that interests your spouse.
9. Not planning for future things that you can both look forward to.
The motivation to stay together depends on being able to imagine a good future together. As a future together starts to look more bleak, loving feelings start to evaporate. Make sure that you talk about the special times you want to have with your spouse in the future and how you are looking forward to sharing the rest of your life together.
Help your spouse to see a connection between your current relationship and your future one.
You, also, need to avoid seeing that the grass might be greener with someone else.
If your grass is not green, then it is time to take better care of it! A shared dream and vision for the future is more important than the reality of it ever coming true. Don’t get so caught up in the realities of daily life that you don’t take time to dream and share your ideas about your future together.
Many people never hear future talk from their spouse and so don’t even know if their spouse wants to have a future with them.
When you imagine your spouse as part of a happy future for yourself, it helps to keep your love alive.
10. Avoiding each other.
You may notice when your spouse avoids you, but not when you are avoiding your spouse. Although it may seem like an easy way to deal with problems, when we avoid someone we also shut down our emotions toward them. Over time, this can become a habit that leads to total loss of loving feelings for both.
Beware of the opposite mistake–not getting and giving needed space. Just as a friend is glad to see you sometimes and not all the time, so we need to have space from our spouses. Not taking that can burn out our loving feelings, as it can with anyone else.
Red flag issues
The ten behaviors listed above are all essential to not fall out of love. If you are missing any one and cannot get it started, it is a red flag issue. For example, you may not be able to date because your spouse refuses to date you. It won’t be long before the other things tumble. Same goes for any of the other things on the list.
Is the love already gone?
If you have fallen out of love and are finding it hard to do these loving things, it may be because your spouse is continuing to do some harmful behavior. So your mind prevents you from feeling in love in order to protect you. Or, it may be because you have already been rejected by your spouse. Either of these reasons is cause for great concern and for action–but not for despair.
Losing hope is a signal not to give up, but to learn how to do things differently.
Here are five positive actions you can take today to help restore your love and your spouse’s:
Work with a coach, to help you improve your relationship, without your spouse’s participation.
You can learn how to end the destructive behaviors of your spouse and make it possible to fall in love with him or her again. You can also learn how to attract your spouse and get his or respect. Each day, people are getting help through marriage coaching (for individuals) and marriage counseling (for couples) and are refusing to let their love die.
Even if your spouse is not ready to work with you, there is a lot you can do through marriage coaching to create that desire in your spouse and restore love in your marriage.