Years ago, I remember seeing First Lady Michelle Obama in and interview where she was asked about her secret to being happily married. I distinctly remember her talking about how she really likes President Obama. That was the heart of her answer. Nothing really deep. Just her sharing how much she genuinely likes the man that she promised to spend the rest of her life with.
It sounds so basic, but so many of us get married and forget about the importance of staying in “like,” not just love, with the person we exchanged vows with.
It’s one thing to promise to love someone forever, but what happens if you stop liking that person? What happens when they no longer make your laugh, or you have very little interest in having fun with them? What do you do then?
Clearly falling out of love means major trouble, but I think falling out of like can be just as troublesome in a marriage. When you genuinely like the person you share a bed with every night—and being with that person makes your heart smile—it’s pretty sweet stuff.
And liking your spouse doesn’t mean you agree with them all the time, or that you never argue. All couples have disagreements. Rather, liking your spouse means you truly enjoy his or her company.
So what are some signs that you still really like the person you vowed to spend all of your days with? Here are a few:
You have a blast on date nights
You always hear how important it is to go on date nights, and that’s because it’s true. That time together allows you to connect with your spouse in a meaningful way.
When you both look forward to date nights and you return feeling energized, refreshed, and more connected—well, that’s a sign you both still like each other, and you like spending quality time together.
Your spouse is the first person you want to call
Whether it’s a promotion at work, or a fender bender on the way to the grocery store, your spouse is the first person you want to call. It doesn’t matter if the news is amazing or upsetting, you turn to the man or woman with and from whom you love to share your news, gain support, and hear the right words.
We don’t turn to people we don’t like for these things. We turn to the people that make us feel like we matter.
You have fun together, even if you aren’t doing much.
So date nights are hard to come by. I get it. We actually just found a babysitter we trust after years of searching. It can be hard.
But when you like someone, even the simple things can be fun – movie nights at home, family dinners, reminiscing about when you first met. Whatever it is, no matter how small, the interaction with each other is fun, loving, and it makes you feel good.
You enjoy exchanging ideas and having debates
When someone aggravates you to the point where you can’t even discuss much, it’s not a good thing. Being in a partnership with someone you like means that you can share ideas, have debates, and even disagree without it always turning into a fight.
Sure, things may get heated from time to time, but you should be able to enjoy conversations with the one you love and like and still feel good about the exchange.
You miss your spouse when he or she is not around
Okay, let me be honest. Sometimes when the kids are in bed and my husband is out of town for work, I enjoy the silence in my home. It rarely happens, so it’s nice. But generally speaking, I really miss him when he’s not around.
I enjoy his company. His presence makes me feel happy and safe. When you like your spouse, you want him around all of the time (well, at least most of the time). When someone’s absence is what truly makes you happy, and you always feel that way, it’s something you shouldn’t ignore.
So what happens if you feel like you no longer like the person you married? It doesn’t mean your marriage is over. It does, however, mean that you have work to do. Love is essential, but like is just as important.
You have to get to the root of why you feel the way you do. Have a conversation with your spouse, explore ways you can improve your union and consider counseling or therapy to help repair your marriage if necessary. If you are both willing to put in the work, you can fall in “like” again.
BMWK family, how do you know that you still like your spouse?