Dr. Buckingham, I am a 32-year-old woman married to a man 18 years older than me. We have been together 11 years married for 9 with 3 beautiful children. Life was great at one time but that was many years ago. This marriage has been unhappy for about 6 years. It’s like one day a light bulb popped on in my head and I thought, “OH God what did I do.” I want to reconnect with my husband and save my marriage.
My husband is mean and boring now. He never wants to talk or laugh. He never holds me and only says I love you if I say it first. I know this because I paid attention for a year to see if he would say it first. I feel so lonely in my own house. I would have been gone, but I want my children to have a solid foundation. Then I wonder how solid is their foundation with miserable parents. I asked my husband one day did he hate me and he responded no but his actions say something totally different. I am just so hurt to see how he has lost love for me so fast. He has not been working and had issues with his health. I do take that into consideration. However, it cost nothing to make me laugh and it is definitely free to have some good old-fashioned conversation. I have my whole adult life invested in this relationship. How Can I Reconnect with My Husband and Save My Marriage?
Dear Unhappy Wife,
I am somewhat confused because, in the beginning, you stated, “Life was great at one time, but that was many years ago.” Then you went on to say, “ It’s like one day a light bulb popped on in my head and I thought OH God what did I do. My husband is mean and boring now.”
I realize that things can change over time, but I am confused because behavior typically does not change overnight. Things were great at one time and then a light bulb popped on. In my opinion, the “light bulb” occurrence is a conscious awakening of something that was already present. You examined his behavior over a year and witnessed something that you did not like. If this behavior was present for a year, I am wondering if it was an underlying issue that was ignored before. Situations might change over time, but how we cope with them is typically built in our character.
In order to provide a thorough and accurate response, I would need to know what was great at one time. This is important because the key to reconnecting with your husband and saving your marriage is for you and your husband to revisit what you all did well to make things great. Unfortunately, so many couples fail to develop a plan for keeping their marriage steamy. I’ve found that when things are going great, individuals are intentional about making them great. Examine what you and your husband did before and see if there is something that you can reignite now.
Remember that behind every behavior there is an emotion. Considering that your husband is not working and has health issues his spirit might be different than before. Your husband could potentially be suffering from depression. With this in mind, I recommend that you seek professional counseling. A professional can help you process your emotions and help you reconnect with your husband by enhancing your understanding of what he might be going through.
As someone who has acquired a few health issues over time, I can say that my mood has changed slightly. Given this, I have to be conscious of what I do and do not do and what I say or do not say. I share this to say that your husband’s health issues might be impacting his mood. I am glad to hear that you are taking this into consideration because it can be difficult to make others laugh when you struggle to find laughter internally.
Laughter and conversation are extremely important in a marriage, but so is emotional and mental stability. It is hard to be good to someone else when you are not good to yourself. Your husband has to get his mind right before he can stimulate your mind through conversation. Attending professional counseling is your best course of action to reconnect with your husband and save your marriage.
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Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions, and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.