Many married people today are experiencing disconnection from their spouse, so if you are going through this in your marriage, then you are not alone.
The gap you are experiencing in your marriage did not appear in a day but rather over time. It may take months and sometimes years before it becomes obvious. Unfortunately, in most cases, real actions are only taken when the situation has gotten to the point that one of the parties is no longer interested in the marriage. However, I encourage you to not give up and give your marriage a chance by trying the following steps to help close the gap that exist between you and your spouse.
How do you have sex with someone you don’t feel connected to? How do you show affection to someone who doesn’t respect you? How do you relate with someone who doesn’t invest time in developing a bond with you?
A gap in marriage is any form of disconnection between a husband and wife that may create a distance and lead to the breakdown of the marriage. This is usually caused by neglect of the things that one or both parties feel are essential for the growth of the marriage and efforts are not forthcoming.
Failure to address this on time often lead to emotional distance between the husband and wife and consequently causes physical & sexual disconnection and in some cases.
How do you have sex with someone you don’t feel connected to? How do you show affection to someone who doesn’t respect you? How do you relate with someone who doesn’t invest time in developing a bond with you? These are all the effects that gap in your marriage will create and one of the reasons why married people whose kids have flown the nest finally realise that they no longer have things in common because those kids were the only bond that tied them together. They were the only common ground for most of the conversations that existed between them and now those kids are no longer there, it feels like two strangers are living together.
Below are 8 practical steps you can take right now to kick start the reconnection process between you and your spouse.
- Evaluate your marriage and see if the current state is sustainable
You and your spouse are the best judge of where your marriage is versus where you want it to be. You will need to do some self-assessments to understand how you have contributed to the state of your marriage and take responsibility where necessary. Ask yourself questions, such as: have I listened to the pleas of my spouse over the years? Have I been complacent and taken my spouse for granted? Have I belittled my spouse’s needs and counted them as unnecessary? What are my needs? Have I tried to communicate them to my spouse? How much effort have I made in trying to strengthen the bond of my marriage?
What are my essential needs that are not being met?
Most times when people are asked about their needs, they find it difficult to express them or are very vague so if you cannot express your needs, it will be unrealistic to expect your spouse to understand them. If I ask you, “What do you need?”, and you reply, “Someone that show they care”, but our idea of “caring” may be different. Your desire might be someone to hold your hands, tell you “I love you” whilst your spouse’s idea might be helping with chores or even buying you flowers. They are showing they care in the best way they know but it just doesn’t translate to what your idea of caring is; so you can’t afford to be vague – list them out.
Have honest & non-judgement discussion with your spouse
Once you’ve done steps 1 and 2 and I encourage you and your spouse to each go through these steps, then you both need to discuss each person’s evaluation of the state of your marriage and each other’s needs but do this in a non-judgemental and non-defensive manner. Be honest with one another and take your share of the responsibilities concerning the state of your marriage. Use the word “We” (“We have not made enough effort”, “We have not learned to appreciate each other”) rather than “You” (“You have not made enough effort in this marriage”, “You have not appreciated me enough”) as this shows that you’re including yourself as part of the reason your marriage is in the state it is and not entirely the other person’s sole responsibility.
Draft a recovery plan
This might sound extreme, but you’ve got to approach it with an attitude of “It’s now or never”. Don’t be too strict about things but have a realistic plan that you can both work towards. It could be going on date nights once a month, reducing the number of late working, or even being intentional about sexual intimacy once a week until some things improve. It might feel awkward to start with and you may not even feel like doing it but go in with the intention of meeting your spouse’s needs and when you both have this mindset, your needs will be met in the process. I also encourage you to track your progress by writing things down at the time of your discussion and revisit these things by having regular conversations so that the efforts are continuous until it becomes habits.
Show you appreciate each other
Don’t take anything for granted. When your spouse does something for you, whether big or small, make a big deal about it by showing you’re appreciative of their thoughts and actions – appreciation leads to receiving more. It can be as simple as cooking a meal, taking the bin out or buying you a snack you like when out shopping. Shout about it and be thankful.
Anytime you think of something good about your spouse, don’t ignore it – do it!
If you think of writing them a note or sending sweet text, then do it – James 4:17. Don’t wait until you can do big gestures before you do something, affections are shown in the little things we do daily. Deliberately close the gap between intentions and actions!
Show Interest in your spouse’s hobbies
One of the ways to bring back connection in marriage is to do things together and what better way to start by showing interest in your spouse’s hobbies. Join him to play a round of golf, go shopping with her, exercise together, do some crafting etc.
Pray & mediate in the Word together
This is not by any means the step you should take last as you should endeavour to do this daily if not being done already. The power of praying together as married couples cannot be underestimated, there is power in unity, and you need to understand that there might be spiritual elements in the challenges that you are experiencing in your marriage. You and your spouse must submit yourselves to God and rebuke the enemy in this area. Feed on the Word of God in order to strengthen you in these challenging times and together you are not only stronger but unstoppable.
Don’t give up on your marriage, a gap can be closed as long as the root cause is not a threat to your life (domestic violence) and I pray that God will guide you and renew the love, peace and joy that once existed between you and your spouse.