Restoring love is more important than resolving conflict when attempting to save a marriage.
This article first appeared on Divorced Moms and has been republished with permission.
When Jen and Adam married there had been a strong foundation of love that bonded them together. Ten years and two babies later, Jen was questioning whether she still loved Adam. She was considering divorce and wondering where the love she had felt so intensely for Adam had gone.
Over the years’ work, children, keeping a house running and the inconveniences of daily life had interfered with Jen and Adam maintaining a close emotional bond and lately all Jen seemed to feel when it came to Adam was resentment.
Where did the love she once felt go?
If both were willing to try, could the love be restored?
The only hope for Jan and Adam’s marriage is to work on restoring the love that was the foundation of the marriage in the first place.
Restoring Love in a Failing Marriage
I’ve found, in my work as a therapist that most couples, when attempting to save a marriage focus on conflicts in the marriage instead of restoring the feelings of love and the emotional bond they once shared.
Restoring love is more important than resolving conflict when attempting to save a marriage. Conflict is easily resolved if there is a foundation of love so, it only makes sense to work on getting back to that place of loving and deeply caring for one another before tackling conflict in the marriage.
I’m not saying that resolving conflicts shouldn’t be a top priority but, love always takes top priority, or it should.
A Plan for Restoring Love in a Failing Marriage
At this point it may be difficult but, think back to the attributes of your spouse that you fell in love with. Knowing why you once had feelings of love for your spouse will help you begin to rebuild that love. Love either grows or withers and dies based on how much spouses are willing to invest in the marriage.
If one spouse is taking more than they are giving, the foundation for which the marriage was built on will suffer. Just as with money, you can’t foolishly drain a bank account and expect to find money when you check your balance. In a marriage, you can’t continuously take and make demands and expect love to thrive without also being nourished in return.
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Marital love can last a lifetime if you avoid taking more than you give and unnecessarily putting too much stress on the thing that brought you together in the first place, love. If you’re feeling an absence of love and wish to rebuild that foundation, you’ll need to come up with an action plan for getting back on track.
Your First Step in Restoring Love in a Failing Marriage
The following 4 steps are a good place to begin.
- Make a commitment to recreate and sustain love in your marriage.
- Identify the habits that you’ve developed that destroy love and avoid those bad habits.
- Commit to behaving toward your spouse in a loving manner.
- Identify the most important emotional needs of your spouse and learn to meet those needs.
Having a plan that consists of giving love instead of taking love will help replenish love just as putting more money into that bank account that you drained. Making it second nature to treat your spouse in a loving manner will more than likely, motivate them to do the same in return. Giving love and feeling love is a proven way of falling back in love with a spouse.
Your Second Step in Restoring Love in a Failing Marriage
Set a plan of action in place by communicating with your spouse about behaviors you can both engage in that will help you rebuild the emotional bond and connection between the two of you.
Below are a few ideas or places to start:
- Take 30 minutes out of your day to have uninterrupted time together. During this time hold hands and talk about your day, what you appreciate about each other or make plans to do something special together. However, you use that 30 minutes make it about you and your spouse.
- During your workday make sure to reach out to each other with a text, an email or a Facebook post. Make sure that, although you are busy, there remains a connection and a closeness.
- Plan to have evening meals alone, together. If this means feeding the children and putting them to bed before you can have your evening meal, you’ll find it well worth the effort. Eating together without the distraction of the children will give you a calm atmosphere to discuss issues that came up during your day or problems that need resolutions without distractions. You will both be able to take a calming breath and come together as a couple and either quietly enjoy that time together or, work together to resolve a problem.
- Keep up with important occasions or appointments your spouse has. Whether it’s a doctor’s appointment or a meeting at work. Keep track and express an interest in how things went for them. Spouses often forget that just because it doesn’t seem important to them that recognition of what’s important to their spouse is a way of bonding and showing love.
- Start and end every day with a hug and kiss. No matter how rushed you are, take a moment out to connect physically at the beginning and ending of each day.
Add to this list of actions you think will help you feel more intimately bonded to your spouse.
Love can be restored in a marriage if a couple is willing to slow down and dedicate themselves to the time and energy it will take to rebuild that bond. If you find it awkward and strained when spending time alone consider a couple’s retreat specifically for helping couples break out of a rut they’ve found themselves in that isn’t helping love thrive and is possibly the reason love has died.