5 Easy Ways to Reheat a Marriage that’s turned Cold
By: J. Marlando
The Tangled Wings of Discontentment
A gigantic unhappy maker in countless marriages is that they simply cool down. This phenomenon happens for countless reasons not excluding familiarity. Young, freshly married couples, never think that their relationship will ever become, in a term, a “7 & 6” existence but a large percentage of them do. After all, in marriage we eat together, we sleep together, we watch TV together, we go most places together and we are confronted with the same problems, the same obligations and the same routines even if we have totally different jobs or careers. And, most commonly, we tend to argue and disagree more and more as time goes on or…we start living in vast silences wherein communication doesn’t include much more than, “It’s time to eat or change the channel or fighting over issues While I am not painting a very pretty picture I am describing a whole lot of marriages that began with laugher, talk, great expectations and yes, jumping anxiously in the sack together that have most virtually turned cold.
For one thing, the world we live in is quite demanding and often anxiety filled. And, a great percentage of us add to the pressure of our daily living by volunteering to get into over-debt. If we have kids, the kids are a constant concern if not a worry. All this adds up to create all the typical reasons for marriages to cool down with bedroom intimacies becoming more and more a mere extension of all the other routines.
None of this means that husbands and wives necessarily begin to cheat or end their marriages in divorce although 50% will end up in breakup and who knows how many will sleep around? One statistic tells us that 20% of married men and 15% of married women have had affairs. When you stop and think about it, that’s a big number of cheaters but not an overwhelming percentage of them.
The hidden statistic is how many husbands and wives are merely living “aptly” together or even “unhappily” ever after. While sexual morality, (I prefer calling it sexual ethics) have gotten much more lenient over the last half century, there remains a moral principle for most husbands and wives to stay monogamous. This is especially true in the United States’ culture I believe because that old Puritanism is still running through the collective bloodstream of the nation. Indeed, I believe that it is our religious conscience—even if we never go to church—that keeps our more natural promiscuous natures in check. And anyway, sexual loyalty in marriage is far more practical for any number of reasons than is cheating and so, the old axiom that tells us that “cheaters never win” proves true time and time again when it comes to marital infidelity.
In any case, we are basically concentrating on those couples in the hidden statistic mentioned in the above paragraph. Those living as husband and wives in relationships that have either turned cold or in the least have cooled down to a lifestyle of cordiality at best.
This is a serious problem for a lot of married couples and among them are those who simply believe that marriage sooner or later becomes stagnant and that’s just how it is. You know, they say they are staying together for the kids or for financial reasons or just because they have “made their bed” and are determined to lie in it. In regard to all this, perhaps you’ve heard the old warning that tells us: Marriage is like taking a hot bath, once you’re in it for a little while, it ain’t so hot anymore.
Heating Up the Bath Water
First of all it is never easy to rekindle a relationship that has, by and other name, grown apart. That is, husband and wife may be living together, doing all the normal stuff like eating and sleeping together but beneath the surface they remain at a distance; that old, wonderful emotional connectedness has gone by the wayside in countless little ways and maybe in a few big ways as well.
Before we get started, however, here are to essential or basic things you must never do:
1. NEVER talk about your relationship problems with your spouse. First of all, the only thing that does is confirm the problems. Talking in fact will often lead to arguments that only escalate the difficulties between your spouse and you. Remember, Words—promises, pleading demanding—change nothing, only human action does.
2. NEVER say to your spouse anything like, I’m working on our relationship or, I’m doing this to make changes so I think you should be doing this too. If you are sincere about following these five steps, follow them on your own and keep what you’re doing to yourself. If you don’t, you will probably add to your problems as opposed to eliminating them.
If you truly want to reunite in a loving, passionate and contented relationship, you absolutely cannot think that your mate should make changes or even participate. If you do, you’ll just cause additional arguments and greater unhappiness. And anyway the chances are that your mate believes that he or she is the anchor of the relationship and if you were more like him or her you’d be better off and happier.
This is a subject I cover in other articles but the bottom line is that the minute you want to be more like yourself than him or herself, the relationship is destined for discontentment in any case. Recall when you were first going together your appeal was his or her differences and it was those differences that you fell in love with. Now, after a few years together, you have discovered that your mate is not everything you thought that he or she was going to be; that you are both imperfect human beings sharing life in an imperfect world. And so that’s the first thing that you must reckon with: your mate is ever as imperfect as you are, living in the same uncertainties that you live in.
You, however, are going to attempt make the changes it takes to be a better mate than you are right now: You are going to do what it takes to better and sweeten your relationship.
If you expect changes overnight forget it—just because you suddenly want to rekindle your marriage doesn’t mean your spouse is going to respond—the chances are your spouse won’t trust your changes for a long time anyway. Remember he or she is used to a rather mediocre relationship so that will be his or her present reality. And anyway, the truth is that you can never change your mate and trying only pushes you further and further apart. Just work on you!
Step one is the most important in that it actually recovers those old feelings that once made you absolutely happy. And, you have to follow step one every day for a solid two weeks before continuing on. If you don’t have the determination or the discipline, forget it because down deep you don’t care that much about rekindling happiness and contentment in your marriage anyway. Indeed, if you can’t do step one conscientiously, stop fooling yourself, go turn on the television set and lose yourself in someone else’s life. Otherwise, it should only take 5 steps to rekindle your marriage. If you do step one, however, I will promise you that you will start seeing positive change in your relationship even before you start working on the other four factors.
Step one: Every time you SEE your spouse and every time before you speak to him or her say silently to yourself: I love you.
That’s right, even if your spouse is cranky or angry or pouty or aloof or whatever, you say silently to yourself, I love you. And you can say “I love you” as many times as you wish before acting or reacting.
Step Two: After your two weeks of saying “I love you” silently whenever she has entered your presence or you have entered hers you are ready for the second challenge. You will make it a point to listen more to your mate than to communicate your own thoughts or feeling and you will really listen to what he or she is saying.
If he or she is in a complaining, confrontational mood, crying, laughing, complaining, celebrating you will NOT respond with your opinion or your thoughts or your feelings. You will instead listen mindfully and caringly. You will practice listening and caring about how your mate feels and thinks WITHOUT corrupting her message with your own. You will make it a point to show EMPATHY for his or her values, responses, projections, moods, feelings and so forth and you will be UNDERSTANDING as opposed to being your usual judgmental self. You will do this consciously and conscientiously. That’s right, you will listen but you will listen with both your heart as well as your mind and this will become your habit. When this has become your habit, you can move onto step three.
Step Three: You will refrain from ever belittling your mate no matter how foolish, wrong or absurd he or she may have been. You will make it a point that anytime such a circumstance evolves to ENCOURAGE your mate into the future, and you will accept your mate’s right, as a human being, to be wrong, to fail and to make mistakes just like you do. In other words, when your mate falls, you will not reprimand or pass judgment on him or her but instead you will give him or her a loving hand up and be done with it. You will begin this practice immediately.
Step Four: You will refuse to think only about yourself in your marriage. Think today, what can I do to make life better, easier, happier for my mate? And if you can—do it! Remember your good intentions as a wife or husband is not simply to be a spouse but to also be a friend and an ally. Cheer your mate on to his or her own accomplishments, fun, work, hobby or sport.
Remember there are three distinct lives involved in a marriage: Your life…your mate’s life…and your life together as a team of two. The moment that you forget this and weave all three together, as so many couples do, you will always end up in levels of discontent, anxiety and unhappiness.
This is often the most difficult rule to grasp because for a great many it is most difficult to do. Nevertheless, the happiest of husband and wives are always those willing to be in the grandstand to cheer the other on in each other’s own endeavors. When you understand this much, you will begin refreshing positive conversations and rekindling your greater friendship. Just remember there are times for being together and times for being an ally. This is the great realization of step four and you can start by merely complimenting your spouse for the little things he or she does that make a difference in her or his daily routines. After all, we ALL like to be complimented and appreciated. It’s as simple and complex as that.
Step Five: The final step is that you can now say to your husband or wife, I love you out loud and as often as you desire. You can say it at this juncture because if you’ve actually done the four above steps, he or she will believe you. First of all, we ALL want to know that our spouses know all about us and love us anyway. This alone is a vital cornerstone of a loving, lasting marriage.
I have said this before in lectures and I have written this before in other material: The greatest secret of a happy, lasting marriage is to simply remember to be nice to each other.
The five above steps are really only the processes of being “nice.” Indeed, when you were dating and wanting to win your mate’s heart, you did most of the above naturally—you listened and took an interest in the other’s thoughts and feelings. You didn’t try and talk over him or her to get your point across as if your values and opinions were all that matters. You were interested in the other’s…individuality. You were sincerely interested in what your mate liked to do for his or herself and you supported him or her as a faithful ally. And, beyond all else you always or nearly always acted in love and so in understanding and in kindness.
A great marriage is not complicated to build and maintain but far too many people forget the basics of simply being nice to the other. Sometimes they let the world get in their way and they drift apart instead of growing closer together. Once a marital relationship has grown cold or unhappy it is most difficult to rekindle those old feelings of trust. Without trust no marriage survives, at least not well. The five steps offered in this narrative are the vital stepping stones for regaining…trust. In marriage trust is the major platform for love. It is never the other way around!
In trust we do not hurt the other’s feelings, we do not make value judgments or name call; we practice tolerance and seek understanding. Life can be tough, so to speak, even frightening and often heartbreaking. You are in life together, two children amidst a world of noise and chaos and of struggle. We will NEVER respond to that world exactly alike. We are two different genders, two different people creating two different realities. Our challenge then is to do our best to supply the other with as much security and safety as possible and to NEVER take the world out on each other.
A happy, secure, lasting and loving marriage is easy to have but you must truly want a happy, secure, lasting and loving marriage. Food for thought!
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll probably also like, “The Three Greatest Secrets of a Happy, Fun Marriage. Click here. http://www.infobarrel.com/The_Three_Great_Secrets_of_a_Happy_FUN_Marriage