I sometimes hear from people who are alarmed to find that they no longer have any strong feelings for their spouse. Often, they wish that they did still have these feelings because that would make life a lot easier for themselves or for their families. But, when they are being honest, they have to admit that they just don't. And they wonder what this means for their marriage and for their family.

I heard from a wife who said: "I have to admit that having kids was not great for my marriage. My husband and I were so happy very early in our marriage. But since we've had a couple of kids, things have cooled between us. I no longer feel pins and needles when he touches me. I no longer feel loving feelings when I look at him. The other night was our anniversary. We took the kids with us to dinner. After my husband paid the bill, he looked into my eyes and said 'I love you.' And I'm embarrassed and sorry to say that I didn't feel anything at all. There were no romantic feelings. I didn't even feel sentimental really. I was just thinking that I wished he would quickly pay the bill so I could go home, get to bed, and put this day behind me. I am very sad about this whole thing, but I just can not change how I feel or how I don't feel. I've tried to feel more romantic toward him. But I just don't. At the same time, I don't want a divorce. Family is extremely important to me. I don't want my children to grow up in a single-parent home. So where do I go from here? Because ten years ago, I could never imagine just feeling nothing when my spouse expressed love for me."

This sounds like an alarming situation, but I can not tell you how common it is, especially when the couple is juggling careers, responsibilities, and children. And it's my opinion that it certainly doesn't mean that your marriage is over. In the following article, I will offer some things that you can try to turn this situation around.

It's Time To Tend The Rose Garden: I will admit that this is a corny cliche that is often used when referring to your marriage. But, I am using it anyway because it is so truthful and relevant. If you leave your rose garden unattended, it will eventually develop a series of diseases while the leaves and flowers will miniaturize until they no longer even resemble the beautiful rose that they used to be. (I know this first hand as I keep growing roses despite the work.) In fact, if you ignore a rose garden, you will likely eventually wonder if it is more trouble than it is worth. But if you just tackle the maintenance as it comes, then you are rewarded with roses that you are actually proud to cut and display.

The same is true with a marriage. If you do not take the time to nurture and care for it, then eventually, it is going to shrivel up and be choked out by disease or weeds. And this is true no matter how beautiful it was when you first planted it. (I know this first hand because this is ultimately what caused a separation in my own marriage. You can read about how I turned that separation around and saved my marriage by clicking here.) 

In your marriage, the minimal maintenance necessary is carefree time together alone. This means without children. This means without talking about the bills or the house or all of the other things that are necessary but unpleasant. By no means am I suggesting that you ignore your problems. But set aside some sacred time for only the two of you. Yes, this may be awkward and uncomfortable at first. But with time, you will be rewarded with glimpses of the relationship that used to make you very happy. And you will see the man who used to make you weak in the knees.

Make It A Priority To Lighten Your Load In Other Areas: Please bear with me when I say this. I don't mean to make it sound as if you are not handling your life with complete mastery. However, sometimes when we are juggling so many things, we can't fully take in any of those things. This can negatively affect your perceptions of every area of your life. Let me be very honest. Many wives tell me that when they are trying to handle the job, the child, the home, and the marriage, they begin to view their husband as just one more task to check off of their to-do list. And when this happens, of course your feelings for him are going to be negatively affected because he is just more task for you to complete when you are already understandably exhausted.

This is why it is vital that you do whatever you need to do to lighten your load. Because if you can eliminate some of those things off of your to-do list, then you can start to give your full attention to those things that are still on it. Give yourself permission to let down some of your load. This may mean hiring out some chores or accepting that your house isn't always going to look perfect. But define those things or relationships that you really want to enjoy and put everything else on the bottom shelf. Your children are only young once. Your marriage is hopefully still the most important relationship in your life. So these things should come first without any hesitation. Once you make this shift, you will often find that your feelings will begin to return because your priorities are now in balance.

It was no wonder that this wife just wanted to come home. She was exhausted. She knew that homework and the clean up were waiting for her. That's why it was vital that she be relentless about lighting her load and asking for more of her husband's help. Frankly, there is nothing more sexy and alluring than a man who helps his wife with his children. I urged this wife to insist on this shift. Because I felt that once she did, her feelings for her husband would likely begin to return.  I know firsthand that when the circumstances improve, the feelings of love can come back.

I will admit that in my own marriage it was my husband's feelings that had started to wane.   We separated for a while as a result.  But once we worked together to prioritize our marriage and leave all of the other pressures behind, this made a true difference for us.  I am very confident that his feelings for me have returned.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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