Where did the affection go? My husband and I have been marriage coaches for quite some time now, and this is one of the topics that comes up frequently.
“Before marriage he gave me all of the attention that I needed.” “What changed?”
“I didn’t realize she was so needy?”
Marriage happened! My husband and I had a good conversation about this recently. And we both thought that couples need to be more prepared for the new season in their lives after they get married. Marriage is a new season of anticipation, responsibility, and commitment that requires both husband and wife to make adjustments.
Before marriage, when you lived in two different houses, there was an anticipation to see each other; a longing that is fulfilled when you get together again. Time away from each other builds this anticipation. But when you wake up in the same bed every morning the anticipation changes. It’s different.
Adjustment: Husbands and wives should be aware of this and understand how this new normal affects your marriage. Look for new opportunities to build anticipation, such as looking forward to seeing your spouse at the end of a long work day or looking forward to the quiet time that you have with each other at night when the house is quiet, the kids are asleep, and you can finally connect and be intimate.
Before marriage, you were responsible for you and yours, and he was responsible for himself and his. Now he feels accountable for all. As a man, he naturally feels responsible for the household. This responsibility can temporarily shift his mindset away from the affection he used to share.
Adjustment: There is nothing more reassuring than knowing that your spouse has your back. Look for every opportunity to work together as a team. Your responsibilities are going to be a fact of life after you get married, so you both are will have to be more intentional about carving out time to reconnect and tend to each other’s needs.
Now that I’ve got you.
Before marriage, you were excited by the the chase. But now that you’re married, you’re taking each other for granted. Both husband and wife have a responsibility to ask, “Are there any things, that I used to do before marriage, that you want me to start doing again?”
Adjustment: It’s okay to think – now that I’ve got you, you’re mine. But you should also think – now that I’ve got you, I want to keep you. The little things you did before marriage should also be done after marriage. Keep the excitement alive.
With marriage comes the commitment to fulfill certain needs and desires within each other. One of these commitments is to give and receive loving sensual affection. Both partners have committed to meeting this need for one another.
Adjustment: If your spouse is starving for affection, you want to meet that need (regardless of whether you understand it or not.) Don’t ignore your spouse’s bids for attention. Instead, take a few moments to find out how to make a deposit into your spouse’s love bank.
Don’t give up on this new season of anticipation, responsibility and commitment. This challenge is fixable. Be patient with each other in love. Put forth a little more effort to be understanding of each other’s needs. And before you know it, he will be showing you love just as he used to.