What do you do when your spouse falls out of love?
If you’re in a committed marriage, it’s easy to take happily-ever-after for granted. You and your spouse took vows and built a life together. You’ve made plans and dreams together. So what happens when your spouse says they no longer love you?
In today’s post, we’ll touch on a few important ways to start addressing this incredibly painful situation. While every marriage is different, there are a few foundational shifts you and your spouse can make that could transform your relationship for the better. Let’s take a look at what they are.
Remember That Romantic Love Fluctuates Over Time
First, remember that research (first conducted at Yale University) has shown us that the emotional and biological components of romantic love fluctuate as time passes. For instance, the strong connection you felt in the beginning of your relationship often fades once you’ve committed to one another. When the strongest emotional and biological feelings shift, that can feel like falling out of love.
In reality, though, what underpins our relationships is our decision to stay together. How willing are we to commit to one another long-term, in spite of the obstacles ahead? If intimacy and passion are waning in your relationship, the willingness to stay committed could potentially revive your marriage.
Revisit Your Commitment
The first step, then, is to determine where your spouse stands. Are they still committed to your marriage? Let’s say that even though they believe their feelings for you have changed, they still want to make things work. What should you do next?
Set some time aside to talk about how you’re each feeling, and get clear on where each of you stands. It might be helpful to explore what led your spouse to this point. Was there a series of events that culminated in a change in their feelings? Do they feel that their needs aren’t being met?
We love Dr. Gary Chapman’s concept of the Five Love Languages and the “Love Tank.” Use these tools to relate to one another, particularly when it comes to unmet needs and expectations in your marriage. It’s a great place to start gaining insight into what’s been happening behind the scenes.
Seek Professional Counseling
Navigating deep disappointment in your relationship takes some heavy lifting. You and your spouse would likely benefit from seeking out professional counseling as you work through what you’re feeling. A licensed therapist can help you and your spouse find the words and tools to improve communication and seek out solutions for your marriage.
Get to Know One Another Again
Finally, if you’ve both recommitted to healing your marriage, spend some time getting to know one another again. Rebuild your intimacy with intention. It will take time and effort, but if you’ve decided that you want to heal together, then you can’t skip this step.
There’s a lot of time and work involved in recommitting, but the good news is that it can absolutely pay off. In addition to counseling, commit to spending time with one another in meaningful conversation and shared activities. We also recommend taking a relationship assessment like Better Love, which can give you deeper insights into one another and help you get to know each other like never before. You can take the assessment here.
Have you or your spouse experienced falling out of love? How did you grow closer again? Let us know in the comments.