6 Things To Do When Happiness Fades in Your Marriage

You’ve begun to feel unhappy in your marriage. You and your spouse haven’t been spending time together like you used to. There’s distance between the two of you, and your interactions have cooled. As blissfully happy as you were when you got married, you can’t imagine how you got to this point.

This is supposed to be your soulmate, right? So what is going on? Do you even know this person any more?

Long before we ever get married, we imagine that once we’re in a marriage with our soulmate, that person will meet our every need. But that’s not true because even after we say our vows, we’re still the same people with the same baggage and the same emotional hard-wiring.

Even though you love your spouse deeply, you will still feel unhappy and alone sometimes. This is normal; it’s not an indicator that something has gone wrong with your marriage.

Symbis- 728X90

There will be times when outside stressors invade your marriage and dampen your happiness. There will also be times when the two of you will have to invest extra energy into one another in order to find your footing again.

Don’t become fearful; with hard work and perseverance, you and your spouse will be able to overcome the unhappy times you face together. Here are a few tips to help you get through.

1. Get To Know Each Other Again

When you’re dating, you spend a lot of time getting to know each other. After you’ve been married for several years, you think you still know one another–but your tastes change over time, and your old favorites aren’t your new favorites any more.

Being married is a continual process of getting to know your spouse again and again over the course of your relationship.

Taking time to intentionally learn the things that are significant to your spouse will stave off boredom. You can easily become disinterested in someone who you think you know, and who you believe really hasn’t changed since you got married. If you put that effort into constantly learning about your spouse, you’ll see that he or she will keep you fascinated.

Husbands, take note: we learned of a study done by a great researcher on marriage, and what makes the happiest couples happy. One corollary he discovered was how well the husband knew his wife. (Because women tend to tune into little details, there wasn’t much of a fluctuation for them.)

Basically, how well husbands are tuned into their wives’ favorites (movie, color, flower, perfume–whatever things are most significant to them) directly affects the level of satisfaction in the relationship.

A great way to get re-acquainted with each other is to work through Love Talk Starters. The book contains 275 questions to spark conversation and help you learn more about one another.

Invest some time to get to know each other better, and watch the level of happiness and fulfillment in your marriage grow.

2. Be Generous With One Another

It’s important to cultivate a spirit of generosity toward your spouse. In fact, it’s the best marriage insurance you can invest in.

Being generous has little to do with money; focusing extra time and effort on your spouse will make a world of difference in your marriage.

Little things count BIG. Offer your husband or wife little comforts, tokens of affection, extra help, or special attention. If your wife loves to have her back massaged, offer that to her–don’t wait for her to ask. Or if your husband likes to have coffee before he leaves for work in the morning, prepare it for him, and maybe throw in something special, like a flavoring or a creamer he enjoys.

Be careful not to keep score, though. Being petty and keeping tabs is definitely not the way to draw happiness back into your marriage.

When it comes to paying extra attention to your spouse, go above and beyond to display generosity and unselfishness. The impression you’ll leave on him or her will be hard to ignore.

3. Spend More Time Together

One great way to bring happiness back into your relationship is to make more time for each other–valuable, energized time, not the leftovers after you’re already exhausted.

The two of you need time to hang out together, when you can be playful and affectionate with each other. You can’t do that when you’re focused on kids or your to-do list.

It’s easy to get stuck and comfortable in patterns that starve your marriage of this special one-on-one time, but it’s imperative that you find ways to ignite one another’s desire for that companionship.

Be fully present with each other as you create space in each day where you can slow down together. These moments are essential to the well-being of your marriage.

Share your dreams; inspire each other. What are some things you dream about doing together as a couple? Perhaps you can plan a special vacation that signifies a new day in your relationship.

If you’re having trouble finding the time to set aside for one another, we suggest that you take our very short time assessment. It will help you identify your (and your spouse’s) major time style, and will give you insight to one another’s approach to time. This will set you on the right path to creating moments for just the two of you.

4. Don’t Be A Victim

When the happiness in a marriage fades over time, the blame rarely rests on one spouse. And when you find yourself in this situation, it’s incredibly easy to point the finger at your husband or wife, mentally listing, re-listing, and memorizing the faults and behaviors that you believe are to blame.

Any time you’re facing an ongoing or long-term unhappiness issue in your relationship, it’s your responsibility to take a look at your life and question what role you may have in your situation.

Instead of assuming the victim role and assigning the role of oppressor to your spouse, focus on becoming a healthier, happier person. Work on yourself and make the necessary changes to get yourself into a better place.

Ask yourself what changes you can make to your own behavior, or your treatment of your spouse, to help lift some of the burden from your marriage.

Making positive changes on your own will have an impact on your spouse. It will affect how you view yourself, how your spouse views you, and ultimately, it will benefit your relationship.

If you are being mistreated, neglected, or abused by your spouse, getting healthy will enable you to set appropriate boundaries, protect yourself, and enact change. Make sure you seek support from a professional counselor and trusted friends or family members as you work toward a healthier future.

5. Exercise Forgiveness

As Ruth Bell Graham once said, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” No matter what you face in your relationship, it is imperative that you and your spouse be willing to forgive one another’s shortcomings.

Forgiveness in marriage is the only way to move forward through a period of unhappiness. It’s likely that both of you have done (or not done) and said (or not said) hurtful things to one another leading up to and during this time.

While it’s tempting to hold onto that negativity as an excuse to keep your spouse at arm’s length from now on, resist the fears you have and release your right to exist in a defensive state. Withholding forgiveness will foster bitterness toward one another and drive you further apart.

6. Focus on the Positives

When you’re going through a difficult time in your marriage, it’s easy to allow yourselves to be completely drowned in negativity until you are unable to see the positive aspects of your spouse and your life together. During times like these, it’s important to be deliberate about being positive and cultivating a sense of gratitude for your blessings.

Not only should you take responsibility for your part in the bad situations you face; you must also take responsibility for the good times–that is, what good you can create in, and extract from, your life.

Create a daily habit of having several positive interactions with your spouse. Thank them for what they do for you; pay them compliments; take the time to point out or share something that makes you feel good (or that you know they’ll appreciate).

Gratitude will protect you from losing yourself to negativity during times of marital unhappiness.

No matter what, always believe that good wins, every time. If you stay focused on the good around you, you and your spouse have much greater chances of overcoming unhappy seasons.

Hold On Tight

How you feel in your marriage right now isn’t how your marriage will always feel.

The truth is, relationships are ever-changing. Love is always evolving. Hold tight to each other as you ride out the rough times together. When you come out on the other side (and you will!), you will be closer than ever.

For more tips and suggestions for making your marriage the happiest possible, check out our book, Making Happy.

Symbis--945x400

36 Comments

  • Denise W. Nothdurft says:

    …I think that all of your suggestions and ideas are well thought out with one exception…GOD…Christ within us is what enables us to change because on our own there is nothing good in us..Our best IS but filthy rags without the Desire for and Presence of the HOLY SPIRIT within US…I can’t change my spouse and he can’t change me but GOD can..Prayer is essential! Man’s efforts without God’s blessings are RARELY satisfying….
    This is 2nd marriage for both husband and I–we have an un- blended family –and 2 grandsons—without the Lord, we would have split up long ago—!!!!

    • Melinda says:

      I laughed until I realized you weren’t kidding. Religion makes things easier when you realize that living is suffering with meaning….as opposed to suffering without meaning, which is just depressing. However, once you get past the initial feelings of futility and terror that your life is the consequence of your decisions and interactions in this world, I believe life becomes liberating. We create our own lives and we can choose whether to foster anger or joy or sadness within each other. Choosing love is the only way to be happy….and whether you love God or you love, say, pancakes or something…. the important thing is to make it count and share that love with others. I think that’s the key to happiness in life and to marriage.

    • Lily says:

      Are you kidding us? Unbelievable that you would take this very sensitive platform as one to stand upon, preach, and in such doing, alienate those who don’t believe as you do? How arrogant. Can you not see how demeaning your words actually are here?

      • Vig says:

        I find it a little disheartening how those who claim to be Christians here are the ones who show the least tolerance. Doesn’t your religion teach you to accept, respect and tolerate others? You seem surprised and hurt by the fact that there are many who do not share your faith and could not possibly agree with you statements about what is necessary in a love relationship. But you are being met with tolerance and acceptance in the comments here, so maybe consider returning the favor? I think that’s one of the main points in Christianity. People are sharing their thoughts and are giving of their own experiences here. This is about love in relationships. If you and your partner both share a love it’s good for your relationship. If it’s a supernatural love like religion, that’s fine if you share it. If it is a more hands-on love, like the aforementioned pancakes, or walks in nature or music or whatever-it’s a good thing in a relationship..

    • GaylenRay says:

      I completely agree. A Christ-centered marriage is important. I don’t think it changes spouses relationships much though. In fact, if anything I feel like it would be harder for the believers than the unbelievers. I used to wonder why so many people seemed to have life easy. Dream home, business owners, great marriage, happy family. Then God said “you have more to look forward to. Ultimately, you win. This May be the closest to heaven that they ever get” which is really upsettig if you ask me. This world is broken, but it’s not my home and won’t be until I arrive in heaven. As long and my husband and I both have that attitude, we will make it just fine. (:

      • Brandi says:

        I love love this!!!! I completely agree

      • Emma says:

        Ultimately you win ? Wow.. that’s really competitive. I very much doubt anyone has this perfect life you describe. I expect you have no idea about their own struggles. Do they not teach that in church? If not then no wonder people feel that believers think they are better than non believers.

        I do personally feel this idea is deluded as I don’t believe in afterlife but we have no way of knowing what is true, and there is certainly no ‘better’ or ‘worse’. But if it helps with your jealousy then hey I guess thats good for you.

        Good article. Thanks. I’m not currently at the point I can forget and properly move forward with kind words and gestures but I have forgiven and happiness and will hopefully return soon.

  • Dee says:

    what happens when the other person fails to see the hurt they cause in the marriage? I have been married for 19 years needless to say we have had oue share of issues and tough situations that we have been through. I have forgiven and I have held on tight even when I really felt like giving up. I keep hoping.things will change but they don’t. it has to ba a team effort. Sometimes I feel like my whole life is going to pass me by and I will still be in the same situation. I know I am not happy. how long is long enough?

    • Luz Flores says:

      I feel the same way 16 yrs together and I feel like my life is passing me by. so I started doing things on my own and my kids. I didn’t want to lose myself again. what do you do then, I am not playing victim. this man has done so much wrong to me I Don’t Know Where To begin

    • Frustrated says:

      Omg I am I. The same situation. Idk you always want to give him a fare chance to change. But that’s their personal decision and we can’t predict when that is and if we can wait that long. But I start to fear by the time I say enough and go out try to find love again I’ll be too old and will have no one. Not even what you had before and if you cheat then the win instantly cause you really ducked up. No matter what they do or did. I’d like advice on this too. I have been to MC and it didn’t help.

    • Lanail Miles says:

      I just came across your response and I feel the exact same way …how long is enough I’m in a 20 year and no matter what I do it’s not enough…I work faithfully cook clean make love you name it but no matter what his problem is it reflects back to what I’m not doing for him…I’m literally tire of being married…this is my 1st and his 2nd hes simply too fucking perfect in his Own Eyes, no matter what I say to get him to see my side of things I’m the one who’s left looking like the fool for staying…

      • Emma says:

        My advice to anyone feeling resentful is DO SOMETHING. Don’t let resentment continue. Sounds like you are doing far too much and not getting what you desire in return. Often men seem to switch off and ignore our requests until we TAKE ACTION to show we need change. Don’t be afraid, if he loves you he will make changes. And if not…

  • Denise says:

    My husband wants to still be best friends with his ex girlfriend that he’s been in a long relationship with her for over a year and we’ve been married 2 years I feel like I’m competing with her their friends on Facebook together am I crazy knowing this I feel he still hanging on to something because he wants to know what’s going on in her life everyday cuz he’s on there every time and liking everything on her facebook how do I tell him I wanted to stop or am I just crazy

    • shannon says:

      You’re not crazy. I would be very concerned with the amount of time he’s spending “catching up”on what she is doing. When you’re married, you shouldn’t have a relationship with someone of the opposite Sex (especially an ex) that takes time away from your spouse. Nor should you have a relationship where things are talked about that related to your marriage or anything personal. It has to be strictly a surface relationship or it can easily lead to much, much more.

    • Cary L Nelson says:

      Make a request to him not a demand

    • Dana says:

      I have been through that and it wasn’t nice …u feel really hurt that they are holding on to someone when they are with u .. .its hurts u deeply and u lose ur self esteem it took me a good while to get over that pain .,it really messed up my head my advice to u is hold on to him if u want ..but have a very serious convo with him and tell him its not right for a married man to be chatting with an ex especially everyday..
      .u shouldn’t have to be fighting for ur place in Gus life is either he want u or not …

  • Karina says:

    Potta pagilela naesvva.Sahajamaina sanghatanallo sandarbhochitamaina hasyanni joppinchi bachu chakkaga vrasaru.Telugulo anuvadinchi hasyarasanni dwiguneekrutam chesina Trivikram gariki, moola katha rachayithri Archana gariki, Poddu varganiki naa krutagnatalu.

  • Denise, I’m going on 11 yrs of marriage.My husband , was on Facebook with a woman that led to love connection.I figured something was wrong, he was treating me aweful.So I went on his Facebook. Messenger and. What I found out hurt me aweful.Let me tel you ,I lost it.I had a complete melt. down. To this day he blames me.His excuse is I was mean to him. My heart still needs mending.I lost so much trust in him.I’m still with him trying to make our marriage work. Very hard.This other women knows more about me then I know.He. told her everythi g about me of course nothing good.

  • jazzy says:

    Healthy Relationship Tips

  • karina says:

    I am having a hard time right now. My husband and I will be married 21 years in one month, and I can’t seem to find the happiness. We have our day to day activities and it’s like it is all on auto-play. We work together so we never really have time away from one another. We are also in a very visible role in our job. A dissolving of the marriage could change both of our lives and how we are viewed as people. I have been struggling with this and how to be happy again. It;s so difficult.

  • Diana says:

    I have been with my husband for 14 years and this is the second time in our marriage I find him on social media asking for friend requests from random girls and having conversations with them asking for pictures the first time was way longer I didn’t know till a month or so in and this time I found out within a week on top of all our other issues I can’t help but wonder what is he thinking in my heart I feel he has cheated but till this day I can’t prove it so for him to do it again is a slap in the face I wish he would just have the balls and call it quits or even better tell me what I need to do if he feels he needs attention we have two kids and yes things could be better but he’s looking elsewhere so at this point is like why fight for a person who has clearly lost interest in me

  • sehmat says:

    I definitely agree with these tips. Great work. These tips are really very helpful.

  • TlJ Sr. says:

    I have taken the time to read through the marital tips because me and my wife are at tough place. After almost 25 years of marriage I have finally come to terms and now truly understand how I hurt my wife through the years. I owned it, asked her to forgive me and allow to show her that I finally get it. Through prayer, spiritual counseling and me coming to terms with some things in my past I have set out to be the type of husband my wife needs and deserves but in my genuine effort I feel as though I am failing and in so I am loosing her. I have never violated our vowels and feel she’s a dime (most beautiful women in the world) but I have a chronic illness that sometime put a financial burden on her coupled with my inability to remain fiscally disciplined at all times has broken the trust and communication within our marriage. I am determined to fix it (me) but struggling to remain optimistic about our life together. I believe that marriage will have valleys and divorce is not an option. I just want to be the best version of myself everyday. Can anyone point me in the direction of a book, person etc so I can work on myself because I believe my wife, family will benefit from a healthier me.

  • Dal says:

    Tlj Sr. Well done sir, you have taken the biggest and hardest step.
    I’m not under any delusions, my husband’s mother is the first woman in his life, (she’s also very aware of this) she has hurt me and our first child, very badly (even putting my baby in hospital once). He defends her and takes her side every time, even if he knows without a doubt that it comes from a place of bitterness, hate and/or spite. We’re together almost 15 years, we live in the same house (thank goodness, not with his mother) but there’s no relationship between us. He pays the bond, I’m responsible for the kids and everything else. He works long hours and does very little at home. I’ve done everything I can to be supportive, try bring love back, but for years, it was only from my side. I don’t love him or even like him (i won’t list the reasons, it’s not healthy!) But I ask for time, date nights, even a conversation, I try to discuss our issues, try to get involved in his interests. I try to understand his viewpoint but again it all feels one sided. I want to heal the main cause of our destruction. I don’t trust him, I am on gaurd around him, I’m very careful what I say and do. He’ll make me coffee in the morning and rub my back a bit at night, in the hope of sex (this only started when the last brick on my wall went up) Our lives together is empty. There’s no connection whatsoever. I feel old and tired, I’ve developed a lot of health issues (far from what I used to be)
    I struggle to keep up, but my children are my motivation to continue. Once they are set up with their own lives, I can move on.
    The main reason I’m still here, is because I can still intervene between him and our children when I need to. (This becomes impossible with joint custody)
    Try take your wiife to a nice restaurant, get a private quiet table and hand her a letter saying what you feel (be honest & straight forward) Then seek counselling. Even if she is where I am now, it would take a heart of stone to not get through. you have shown a great deal of bravery and responsibility for your part.
    I wish you and your wife all the joy, love etc of a newly wed couple. God bless you

  • Tully says:

    Married for 2 years but that 2 years feels like 20 0years. A lot has happened in tht 2 years including him impregnating another woman.He cheated on me many times and never accepted tht he was wrong. My life is a mess and I don’t know what to do. I’ve been abused by him and his girlfriends in many ways

  • Michele says:

    This was like the breath of fresh air I was in dire need for. It’s sad that some people have to nit pic and impose their personal thoughts on something that didn’t agree with them. If you want your own open forum of your “advice” than create your own blog!! I personally am very grateful for all the loving, honest and very valid truth that was stated here. Thank you!!!

  • Marge says:

    That’s death till we part…thing.And now that I’m in the senior years, hopefully this death part thing happens soon..

Leave a Reply