Do you need more attention from your spouse?
It’s incredibly discouraging to feel unappreciated or neglected by your partner. Maybe you’ve brought the issue up to your spouse in the past, but nothing has changed. What should you do in that situation?
Consider What’s Behind Your Spouse’s Actions (or Inaction)
Some seasons of marriage can make you and your spouse feel further apart than you used to. Maybe you’re raising small children together. Your spouse may be having a difficult time at work. One of you, or a family member, may be experiencing chronic illness. Whatever the case, outside circumstances could be to blame.
It’s important to take plenty of time to step back and consider whether external factors are creating this divide between you. How you approach the situation will depend on what’s causing it. For example, you wouldn’t want to accuse your spouse of intentional neglect if you know an outside situation is keeping their mind or their time occupied.
Regardless of what has caused your situation, feeling neglected creates a deep emotional wound. We need our spouses to be tuned in to us and our needs. When those needs aren’t getting met, it can make us feel unloved and unimportant to our partner.
Talk to Your Spouse About Your Concerns
The next thing you need to do is set aside time to talk to your spouse about how you’re feeling. Bringing up an issue with your spouse might feel challenging, but it’s necessary to get things out into the open. Remember: they may be unaware that their behavior is causing a problem for you.
Keep that in mind as you decide what you want to say. Rather than attacking, blaming, or accusing your spouse, focus on how you’re feeling. You could say something like, “Lately, I feel like I don’t get to spend as much time with you as I’d like to. Can we talk about how to start making changes?”
Finally, be specific with your spouse about what you need. Of course, you’ll need to take external circumstances into consideration and know that all those requests might not get met right away. Still, giving your spouse an idea of what will make you feel more loved will give them a solid point of reference to start from.
Remember That Changing Behavior Isn’t Easy
Making changes to our behavior isn’t necessarily easy, especially when we’ve created habits and routines that feel effective to us. Once you’ve communicated your needs to your spouse, it’s important to give them time, grace, and patience. Check in with the situation from time to time to determine whether another conversation is needed, too. Above all, remember that you and your spouse are on the same team so you can work together to resolve this.
If you’re finding it difficult to make enough time for each other during this season, our book, Your Time-Starved Marriage, could be helpful. The book contains simple strategies to help the two of you create more time for each other. You can get a copy here.
Have you ever felt dismissed or neglected in your marriage? How did you and your spouse resolve the issue? Let us know in the comments.