You’re madly in love at the beginning of your marriage and are certain that you will be together forever. Then things slowly change. One day, you realize that your marriage may be in trouble. You don’t feel as close to your wife as you did before. She doesn’t seem that thrilled to see you anymore. Sex isn’t as frequent or satisfying.
Your wedding vows include a lifelong commitment to your wife for life, but only about half of first marriages last for 20 years or more.
Is your marriage doomed? Not necessarily. It takes both of you to get your marriage back on track, but as long as your wife does her part, there are some things you can do to save your marriage.
Put your wife before your buddies
Before you get married, it’s okay to put your buddies first before marriage. You can shoot some hoops on weekends, grab a beer after work and dedicate Sunday afternoons to watching football on TV. That changes after marriage. If you haven’t started putting your wife before your buddies, you’d better start now if you want your marriage to last.
You don’t need to drop your guy friends altogether. Talk about the situation with your wife to try to find a compromise. If the problem is Sunday football, for example, you may be able to make her happy just by limiting the games that you watch with your friends to every other Sunday during the season.
Give her space
Everyone needs a certain amount of space, and your wife may need a bit more. When you see that she’s not “busy,” don’t automatically assume that she needs your attention. She may need the opposite.
Even when she is at home and not occupied with chores, the children or her friends, she may not want to talk to you. Maybe you get your alone time during your daily commute or when you hang out in the garage. Your wife may need time to think her own thoughts, too. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and she may need even more time than you.
This seems obvious, but you may not be doing a good job.
Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D., a therapist and life coach explained,
“We humans are built for connection. We’re all desperate for connection. Sometimes we feel like there’s no way to reconnect, but the other person is just as desperate for that connection. When we change our approach they’re most likely to be magnetic to that connection because they’re already primed for it, already waiting for a chance for connection.”
Make sure that you share your feelings with your wife so that she doesn’t have to guess. Also, be a good listener so that you can continue to grow closer to your wife. If you don’t know how to communicate, start by asking your wife what you can do better. That way, she’ll see that you’re genuinely interested in improving.
Compliment her often
It’s far too easy to stop complimenting your wife when your wedding starts to feel distant, but chances are that you’ve kept up the criticisms. If the compliments have stopped, it’s time to reset and start them up again. Making an effort to compliment her helps you remember what you love about your wife, and helps her realize how much you love and appreciate her.
How many times have you thought about how lovely her hair looks or how she is so patient with the children, but you forgot to say it out loud? Increase the number of compliments you give by practicing saying positive things instead of just thinking them.
Your wife is undoubtedly partly to blame, but you can do your part to take responsibility for your marital problems. Help out with the children, household chores, cooking and washing up after meals.
Also take charge of yourself. Are you being the best husband that you can be? If not, you may be feeling guilty and taking it out on your wife as anger.