Growing apart in your marriage? Here’s how to go from strangers to honeymooners with four secrets
Are you drifting apart in your marriage? If you and your husband have grown apart, it is very lonely.
It can also be incredibly frustrating, especially when you’ve tried everything to fix the situation, only to make matters worse.
I’m sure that going without his attention or affection isn’t what you signed up for when you said “I do.”
Fortunately, there is a solution, and it doesn’t require expensive therapy or getting him to work on things he refuses to work on, or even him knowing about it at all.
Here are four tips to bring back the magnetism without your man’s conscious effort.
1) Learn to speak Man Language
You know how crazy it can drive you when a man goes into fix-it mode when you just need to vent about your problems and be heard? Well according to researchers, that need is even greater in a man.
When you start looking for ways to solve his problem, what he hears is You’re not capable of solving this yourself. Yes you’re just trying to be helpful. But they’re not looking for help – they just want to express their feelings.
Today when the urge to “help” my husband rears its pesky little head, I get out the bug killer to try to exterminate it before it ruins the atmosphere at my house. A mother-knows-best wife is not just as annoying as a loud mosquito, it is lethal.
Disrespect kills the intimacy.
Controlling or criticizing, dismissing or demeaning him has lonely consequences too.
If your man doesn’t have much to say to you these days or there’s an all-out cold war or he has no interest in sex, those are all signs that respect has gone missing.
Respect is like oxygen. Your husband may even lie to you just to avoid being disrespected. I go into detail about this in my post “My Husband Lies to Me”.
So what to do if you have an overdeveloped sense of helpfulness like I did? Here’s the go-to phrase that has rescued me time and time again: “I hear you.”
Maybe he has some wacky political views. Maybe he comes home full of complaints about his day. Maybe he’s in a mood for no apparent reason.
Why not just hear him out? He could be under pressure at work or dealing with some other drama you don’t even know about. Being there for him by simply listening is the greatest way to show your support.
You don’t have to be a mute. But when it comes to speaking Man, less is more. Not every conversation has to be deep. Small talk is your friend.
Not your friend? Perhaps the most dreaded phrase in man culture: We need to talk. Imagine if he instead came home to “I’m so happy to see you” or you sharing a laugh about a cute incident with the kids.
Don’t be surprised if he starts coming home earlier.
When I learned Man Speak, not only did my husband want to talk to me a lot more, but the butt pats and bedroom eyes came back too.
This goes two ways too – if you don’t appreciate the way your husband or partner speaks to you, let him know. He may not know what turns you off or makes you feel more distant from him.
Good relationships are all about healthy communication, and learning to speak each other’s language is a big part of that.
2) Indulge yourself
If you’ve been stuck stressing about your relationship, I don’t need to tell you how exhausting that is. Or that it doesn’t feel very empowering.
Yeah, yeah, I know that conventional “wisdom” says marriage is supposed to be hard work. Ugh. You say that’s not working for you either? I hear ya, sister. It’s time to bring the fun back!
I’m talking frivolous fun. Pick up a new hobby or revive an old one, get your nails done, sweat it out–whatever brings you joy. That may mean ditching boot camp for booty shaking. If exercise feels like a “should” for you, it doesn’t count. Yoga doesn’t do it for me, but volleyball does.
What fills you up?
When he sees you happy, he’ll want to pile on and do even more to make you happy. When you feel empowered, your relationship will follow.
Taking care of yourself is the indispensable first step to intimacy. Not only does it increase your magnetism, self-care makes it a whole lot easier to show up as your best self, especially when you’re trying new dance steps like secret #1.
Getting happy has a way of allowing the small stuff to slide off your back. It’s harder to resent his napping when you just had a nice catnap yourself. It’s easier to cut him some slack and recognize he’s only human, just as you aren’t perfect yourself.
Becoming responsible for your own happiness shifts your focus away from what’s wrong to what’s going right. That is key because what you focus on increases.
If what’s missing has been so glaring that it’s hard to focus on anything else, then you probably already have a sense of what a powerful manifester you are. If you were to switch your focus to the outcome you want, what would that look like?
When Lizbeth decided to focus on her vision of a passionate, faithful relationship, she started finding all kinds of evidence. Before she knew it, her husband left his mistress and came home. He started saying “I love you” multiple times a day, something he had never done in all their years together. He held her so tight at night she had to sleep crooked.
Imagine what’s possible for you if you were to use your powers to find opportunities for gratitude. While you’re at it, why not express some of that gratitude?
Saying “thank you” not only helps shift your focus, it inspires him to want to please you even more. And, if you could use some appreciation for all you’ve been doing too (as everyone deserves), creating a culture of gratitude also means he’ll start appreciating the things you do for him more.
3) Flex your receiving muscles
Sandy was hard pressed to find gratitude when her husband suggested going to a pizza parlor for their anniversary. But she decided to receive his invitation graciously anyway. So imagine her surprise when he then suggested they go to a nice restaurant instead – the exact one she’d been wanting to try.
She was so glad she had flexed her receiving muscles. No wonder gifts kept coming her way!
So many of us struggle to receive because the gift isn’t what we had in mind or his help isn’t the way we want it or we don’t believe the compliment. Soon the gifts, help, and compliments dry up.
It can also be a big struggle to say what we want in the first place.
Well, Sandy had become a master at expressing her desires in a way that inspires. She knew another cheat phrase: “I would love…”
She filled in the blank with the end result only (such as that new restaurant her husband ended up treating her to) and expressed it without any expectation or control.
What new adventures would you like to enjoy?
Would you love to go biking, hiking, take an art class, go to a comedy show or concert?
If your husband invites you to something that’s not on your list or gives you a gift, like teaching you his secret recipe for spaghetti and meatballs even though that’s not on your long to-do list, how would it serve you to receive graciously? What about when your friend offers to pay at the coffee shop or the clerk offers to carry your groceries to the car?
When you make your mantra “receive, receive, receive,” more gifts and help, compliments and apologies will be coming your way!
And again, as with all my advice, this goes both ways. Your husband can also flex HIS receiving muscles and express gratitude for YOUR ideas and suggestions. Feel free to show him this article if you think he needs a hint!
4) Be a shiny wife mirror
What if you decide to receive your husband’s invitation but he gets on his phone as soon as you get to the restaurant? Not exactly the quality time you were hoping for.
If you’re anything like I was, you’ve tried telling him how you want him to behave, and it probably didn’t help. That didn’t go so well for me either. My husband just dug in his heels and repeated the annoying behavior even more.
When he’s distracted or distant, it is tempting to convey discontent and disconnect. Or, you could put away your phone and be contentedly present yourself. Which would you rather see your husband mirror?
As the wife, you are a keeper of your marriage. And you have equal power to create the culture you want in your relationship.
(Just watch what you wish for… Sophie’s husband went from the one being on his phone all the time to enjoying their dates so much that he’d playfully nudge her to “be present” when she was busy on her phone.)
Creating a culture of connection begins with each of you. And that includes bringing the affection back. It’s vulnerable to express your affection. It can be scary because you might be rejected. If you’ve gotten out of the habit of receiving, he could be feeling the same way.
Depending on your motives, even affection can convey control and all those painful consequences of disrespect. So this might be a good time to revisit secret #2.
Now that you know the secrets to bringing back the magnetism, where will you start?