9 Ways That You Are Killing the Passion in Your Marriage
When you first start dating someone, you have a fire for each other. You want to spend all of your time together, if you’re not together you are on the phone, and if you aren’t on the phone you are emailing each other or thinking about the other.
There’s no way that these feelings could ever go away, right? Well, if you’re together for a while before you get engaged, you might start feeling some of the incredible excitement you had for each other start to fade a little. It isn’t gone, real life and real life issues just get in the way. Then you become engaged and many of those excited feelings come back.
On your wedding day, all of those feelings seem to culminate into one super exciting day when you realize that you are spending the rest of your life with the person that you love. Too many couples spend the rest of their lives trying to keep that wedding day high going. I think that’s the problem. Ever wonder what happens after the honeymoon period is over? What happens when the love fog lifts and all the little things that you once thought were cute and enduring become irritating and annoying?
Couples that believe that the high they felt on their wedding day should be the way they feel throughout their marriage are the first to fail. Research shows that many of these marriages are dissolved within the first three years. From the wedding day to this ultimate demise, the feelings of failure, on the part of each person in the relationship, to keep the excitement going lead to arguments, stress, and essentially giving up in every area, which ultimately leads to divorce.
There’s no possible way to keep the relationship THAT exciting for years and years to come. Love grows and changes, becomes everlasting and matures. Check out my article Tips for Having a Happy, Healthy Marriage for some great ideas on developing this kind of love. In the meantime, here are some of the biggest ways individuals kill the passion in their relationships and ultimately sabotage their marriages.
How soon was your first in-law argument?
This is usually the very first issue that comes between a husband and a wife, which probably started way before the wedding day. The woman doesn’t know who to listen to, her husband or her mom. She cares for her mom and doesn’t want to hurt her feelings, even if that means standing up for her husband, and she’s hurt because her husband doesn’t love her mom as much as she does.
The husband loves his mother and would do anything for her, and feels like there’s something wrong with his wife if they’re not getting along. Why can’t his wife just be more reasonable, patient, and understanding?
The truth is, this is not a battle about who’s more important. It’s a battle within the parent and child as they have to learn to break that bond, with the mother allowing her child (husband or wife) to be an adult and turn to his/her spouse for advice rather than her, and the child not wanting to lose that bond shared with the parent.
It’s old as time. To keep your relationship alive, you are going to have to learn to stand up for your spouse. I didn’t say agree with your spouse, but stand up for him or her to your mother. Neither should be allowed to disrespect the other, but your alliance is now with the one you chose to marry, and your mother will come to understand that and respect you for it.
Before marriage we get settled into our spending habits. Whether you spent freely or held on tightly to your money, no doubt you found something that worked for you. However, when you get married you are sharing your money. Of course, some couples keep their separate banks accounts and their separate paychecks. They decide together how to split payment of the bills and work like roommates.
But then that’s really all you’ll be. Part of getting married is becoming one and learning how to work together with another person towards common goals. And money is going to be one of the biggest. Over the years, hopefully you’ll be saving together for a home, a new car, a baby, and much more. When you are each paying from your “own” money, arguments frequently arise about ownership, who is paying more, who deserves the decision, etc.
Money is going to be one of the first discussions you’ll want to have to clear things up from the very beginning. Maybe you set a budget together for expenditures for the month. My husband and I agree that small purchases (under $20) don’t need a discussion, but we agree on bigger ones. However, we always know how much we have in our account, how much the bills are, and how much we can spend.
Just like everything else will be in your marriage, this will always be a topic for compromise and communication. This might require you to step out of your comfort zone though. Work together on it so that you are both happy.
This is one that’s easy to fall into. When you first get married, you want so badly to look good to your husband. You want to stay in shape, stay in fashion and make your husband proud. You want to be showered, to have the house cleaned, and dinner cooked before he got home.
Then he starts working longer hours and coming home later and later. Maybe he picks up a hobby or hangs out with friends after work. Maybe it’s you that starts working longer hours and coming home exhausted from your day. You might decide to hang with the girls after work, or join a book club.
When you ARE at home, the reason to shower, get dressed, and smell good start slowly fading in favor of sweat pants, camisoles and fluffy slippers. You’ll shower in the morning before work, and you’re just going to go to bed soon after work, or after he gets home from work. You might as well be comfortable.
But those sweat pants, your unclean hair, and maybe even your stinky breath are going to make it much harder to be intimate, passionate, or even attractive to your spouse. Consider your relationship when you’re trying to decide whether or not to take a shower or get dressed for your spouse. It might make all the difference.
Along that same line of thinking, when was the last time you bought new underwear? Are they faded, hanging off of you, or have holes in them? Nothing says passion like ugly, faded underwear! Of course you want to impress when you first meet. You want the other person to think well of you, think you’re attractive, and want to be with you. But once you’re married, there’s no point anymore is there.
Don’t worry that your clothes all have holes in them, or that you don’t have a single item that isn’t stained. Nobody cares do they? Of course they do. Your spouse wants to be proud being seen with you, doesn’t want people to think that the two of you are dirt poor, and wants you to look good. You should too!
It’s usually the women that are guilty of this, but men are definitely not left out of the “extra baby weight” argument. First it’s just 5 extra pounds that you’ll just work harder to lose next week, or maybe you’ll just have a salad a couple of days next week to make up for it. Then it’s an extra 15 pounds. You’re just under a lot of stress, right?
A year later you’re an extra 20 or 30 pounds heavier, but you’ve “tried” really hard to work it off to no avail. You’re trying to get pregnant, so you’ve been eating really well. Your vitamins/medication is making you gain a little weight. You’ve been really busy and haven’t had time to eat right.
Stop coming up with excuses! Go for a bike ride, maybe a walk, or if you are really daring, get Zumba fitness for your gaming system. Stop drinking caffeinated drinks, add in some healthy practices into your cooking (low-fat foods, washing/cutting off fat from cooked meats, add in more veggies, cooking in olive oil . . .), drink more water throughout the day, and add fruit to your diet.
You don’t have to totally alter your life, but a few minor changes could really make a difference in your relationship. Don’t you think your spouse notices? Your lack of effort likely tells him or her that you don’t care anymore, that you don’t care about him or her anymore.
With money being one of the top contenders for the reason for the divorce rate, it’s no wonder this is the next item on our list. Especially with money being so tight for so many people, the only way to make the money that will pay the bills, by groceries, and take the two of you to dinner and the movies, is to work. More hours mean more money. It sucks, but this is the way of life.
You’ve got to be really careful though, especially when you are in a relationship, not to let work take over all of your spare time. My husband is learning this as he is torn between providing for us and spending time at home. You must find a careful balance between the two. Sometimes this simply means just turning off work and thoughts of work when you are at home.
With your available time, squeeze some valuable quality time in with your spouse. Purposely plan some time together away from responsibility every week or so. If you continue down the path of letting work rule your time, you will soon only have your work and nothing else.
Biggest Passion Killers
Long Working Hours
Bothersome Bathroom Habits
Snoring and Other Bedtime Issues
Lack of Romance
As you get more and more comfortable with your spouse and with being married, your weight, your wardrobe, and your hygiene won’t be the only things you let go. Soon you’ll stop shutting the bathroom door, you’ll start leaving your dirty socks on the floor, and you’ll start squeezing the toothpaste from the center of the tube.
Don’t tell me you already do those things! What about washing your feet in the sink, shaving your legs at the sink, or putting on a pad right in front of your husband? It happens to all of us, and I bet he’s just as guilty, but if you’re worrying about the passion leaving your relationship, you might want to think about your slacking bathroom habits.
With so many options for men and women to stop their snoring, this should no longer be a problem. If it is, you or your spouse should speak to your doctor. But what about some of your other bedroom habits. Do you shake your feet when you’re going to sleep, kick or twitch, steal the covers, or like to put your cold feet on your partner in the middle of the night?
It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, especially if you’re the perpetrator, but it can be. If it means sleepless nights for you or your spouse, you might want to work together to find a solution. Now what do we do with the dogs snoring and kicking?
Lack of Romance
One good way too keep the fire in the relationship is to never let the romance die out. I know this is much harder than it sounds. What with the arguments about money and in-laws, hygiene issues, weight gain, long work hours, lack of sleep due to snoring and kicking, it’s no wonder the two of you aren’t killing each other.
It takes effort to keep the romance alive in your relationship. Have dinner by firelight, snuggle up to a good movie, or cook dinner together. Consider scheduling a date night. I know this is cliché, but it’s priceless being able to escape life and responsibility for a night and actually get to enjoy an evening of your spouse all by yourself. A good book to reference for some great romantic ideas is 1001 Ways to Be Romantic by Gregory J.P. Godek.
Making an effort to be romantic, especially with all of the others issues that may be happening in your marriage, may be the difference between a happy marriage and being on the road to divorce.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but marriage isn’t all happiness and excitement all the time. No granted, you can have a wonderfully happy marriage and still have to deal with all of these factors. It’s life, and neither you nor your spouse is perfect.
The trick is to try to have a little patience and understanding with your spouse, and realize that life can be stressful. There’s nothing on this list that isn’t completely normal, and are factors that everybody has to deal with marriage or no marriage. My husband is laughing at me while I'm writing this. We've been through all of these, and he is reminding currently me that someone in this house keeps neglecting to replace the empty toilet paper roll. (Not me!)
If you realize that you are in the middle of one or more of these categories, this is the perfect opportunity to take the first small steps towards fixing them. I promise that with a little effort of your part, your spouse will definitely take notice. Check out my article Tips for Having a Happy, Healthy Marriage for some great ideas on where to go from here.
This book has been on our bookshelf since we started dating. The best part about it is that most of the ideas inside are creative and free. I highly recommend making this a permanent part of your home and your relationship.
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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness