My Spouse is Disengaged from Our Marriage. What Can I Do?

Is your spouse disengaged from your marriage?

When one of you disengages from your relationship, the marriage itself stops thriving. In turn, that can cause the other spouse to feel lonely and stuck. Living in this dynamic for years can eventually lead to the end of a marriage.

Does this sound familiar to you? If you’re unsure how to respond, we’ve gathered some suggestions to help you get started.

Signs Your Spouse is Disengaged

First, let’s take a look at some general signs your spouse has disengaged from your relationship.

Your spouse…

  • Has become withdrawn
  • Doesn’t seem to want to work on your relationship
  • Won’t engage in difficult conversations to solve problems
  • Seems disinterested in spending time with you
  • Has developed poor communication habits (or avoids communication completely)
  • Spends more time away from home or closed off in another room
  • Is unwilling to seek help or join you for couples counseling

Observing these behaviors in your relationship can be heartbreaking. It can make you feel hopeless if it goes on for an extended period of time. You might be desperate for answers and wondering how to turn things around.

If your spouse has indeed become distant, is there anything you can do to improve your marriage?

Get Clarity on Your Marriage

If you sense that your spouse is disengaged, the most loving thing you can do for both of you is to ask for clarity. Ask them how invested they are. A question like this can pose as a wake-up call for your spouse.

Let them know how much you value them and your marriage. It’s possible that your spouse doesn’t realize how much they’ve pulled away from you. When you ask the right questions and bring the issues to the surface, you give them a chance to take a closer look at where they stand.

You might also decide to tell your spouse that you aren’t willing to maintain the status quo. Consider saying something like, “What I need is for both of us to work toward a more fulfilling marriage. I want you on this journey with me.”

Focus on What You Can Do

Even if your spouse isn’t interested in counseling or taking steps to improve your relationship, you can still take action yourself. When just one person in a marriage continues to work toward a healthy dynamic and positive change, that benefits the whole relationship. Your spouse doesn’t have to be directly involved in the work you’re doing for you both to benefit.

Yes, it would be ideal if both of you could get into therapy and work together on the marriage. But let’s say you’re the only one doing the work right now. Even if that’s the case, every step you take toward healing benefits your relationship.

We like to say that your marriage is only as healthy as you are. Regardless of your spouse’s actions, you can continue moving toward healing. Our book, Healthy Me, Healthy Us, is a guide to help you do just that. Take a look and pick up your copy here.

Has your spouse ever been disengaged from your marriage? Let us know about your experiences in the comments.


  • Roland Blashe says:

    Hi. Talk about answered prayers. Just this morning I sat down and prayed over a situation that I have been dealing with for the past 5 months. I knew my wife was disengaged in our marriage for some time now. I was going to file for divorce, but when I prayed over the situation, I received an answer that I felt was saying – “do all and everything you can do, so that when and if the road leads to divorce, you can look at yourself in the mirror knowing that you gave it everything in your mind, body and soul to make it work”.

    So I did just that. Because of the stress, and the feeling of not being loved or even cared for, my health has been deteriorating the past couple of months, and I am normally a very fit and active man. Very fit in fact and a former Ironman triathlete, and now suddenly out of nowhere – I have very high blood pressure that doctors cannot explain. I started going to counseling. Went to my pastor. Watched bible study videos on topics of marriage. I became super excited and was envisioning a marriage that would be amazing. So excited that my day to day mood even changed. She noticed how happy and attentive I was. But that excitement eventually waned, because she couldn’t be bothered to give any time or effort into the work that ours or any marriage needs. The signs were all there for me to see, but I refused to acknowledge them. I knew I wouldn’t be giving it 100% of me if I let even a slight doubt got in my head. But last night I just had to know and asked the question you proposed and said “I cannot and WE cannot continue this way and I have proposed every solution I can think of. Every solution that I read and what was given to me by counselor’s and the church. I even came back with lots of homework and a plan to get our marriage back and most likely even better than it ever was, and yet, I see no desire to change, or desire to save our marriage, because one person cannot do it alone”. She finally admitted that she loves me, but isn’t “in love with me”. While this hurt, at the same time it actually was a relief hearing it. I knew it already based on her actions or lack thereof. I then went to bed and had the most restful sleep in a long time.
    So unfortunately, I have made the decision to divorce. I deserve to be happy. And I have been telling myself that I am not worthy. But now, after reading what I received just today from you, I can now know that I will be able to look at myself in the mirror when I look back on this marriage because what you wrote mirrors each and every one of the 7 signs she is disconnected, as well as every suggestion as to what I can and should do to save our marriage. .
    I know my comment here is not what you were looking for – but I have to tell you, just 3 hours after praying for God’s help or for a sign that divorce is the only option at this point, I received the email. I know God doesn’t want divorce. So now I have changed my prayer that God helps me help her, or helps her directly. When I started to analyze all I have done and all that she has pushed back on and wont join me in, all fingers point at one common denominator. God or church. So I believe she is believing satan’s lies and he is guiding her. Not God. While I will continue to pray for her, I feel better knowing that I am not alone out here and all I have been experiencing these past several months were written out already for me, and can now move on feeling at peace. So thank you.

    • MH says:

      I feel your pain and I’m sorry you’ve had to endure a season of hardship in your marriage. Unfortunately, everyone does at some point. However, you should read the words of Jesus in Matthew 19 before you pull the trigger on divorce. As a former triathlete and the mental toughness that takes, you have the ability with Christ’s help to continue the fight for your marriage. I’ve had my own struggles in the past so I’m speaking from experience. You’ve got more in you than five months. God doesn’t endorse divorce in situations like yours, but Satan does. Praying for you.

  • Jason says:

    What if it’s me ? We’ve been married 35+ but intimacy has fallen off for 25 and is now nonexistent. She is a massive empath/caring. Stress causes her to shut down … even if it is not me (I can be confrontational for anyone) our grown children lead lives that are stressful.

    My weakness my flaws can be a burden. Still with no intimacy i seem to lose my connection

    Having entered marriage full of passion to have it snuffed out leaving us as “friends “ makes me wonder if I’ve just brought forth a family into a world of pain. Should I have just stayed unmarried and been a good friend?

    Praying God sorts all this out before things run their course… in my 60’s so time is short

  • Talha says:

    Actually, this depends on person to person, and really sad to know this and feeling your pain point.

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