After years of marriage a couple runs the risk of becoming more like roommates rather than romantic lovers. Household chores, caring for children, stress related to work, and dealing with finances can cause those loving feelings to dwindle over time if they aren’t addressed. Sometimes people don’t bother to try and rekindle those feelings after they’ve lost them.
The good news is there are plenty of things couples can do to help bring back those loving feelings. The best way to change how you feel about something is to change your thoughts and your behaviors. When you think differently and do things differently you will feel differently. This is especially true when you change how you think about your spouse and how you behave toward your spouse. Making some small changes can make a big difference in how you feel.
How to Think Differently
Thinking negative thoughts about your spouse leads to negative feelings. Remembering the time your spouse said something that hurt your feelings or that he didn’t do something you expected can lead to you feeling angry, resentful, and frustrated about your spouse. This may cause you to question your spouse’s love for you or you may even begin to question your entire marriage.
It doesn’t even necessary have to be negative thoughts that lead to negative feelings. Sometimes, the absence of positive thoughts can also make your relationship feel somewhat “blah.” If you are focused on your job, your kids, and other areas of your life, you may not spend much time thinking about the positive aspects of your marriage.
Here are some strategies to help you think differently so that you can feel more positive about your marriage:
- Replace negative thoughts with more realistic ones- Whenever you notice that you are having negative thoughts about your partner, replace them with more realistic thoughts. For example, if you think, “He’s such a slob. He never cleans up after himself,” replace it with something that is more accurate such as “He prefers to do things other than cleaning and sometimes he doesn’t put his dishes in the sink.” Sometimes a simple change in the wording can make a big difference in how you feel.
- Ask yourself what you would say to a friend with the same problem- Think about how you would respond to a friend or loved one who approached you with the same problem and try to give yourself the same advice. For example, how would you respond to a friend who said, “I feel so frustrated that my husband works such long hours. Sometimes I think he doesn’t care about spending time with me.” Perhaps you could reassure your friend or tell her to try and communicate with him about it. Give yourself the same advice you’d give to your friend and it can be easier to put your situation into a better perspective.
- Spend time each day focusing on good things about your spouse- Conjure up positive thoughts about your spouse each day. Create a list of five of your spouse’s best qualities or the five times that you felt most in love with your spouse. Read the list every day and it will change how you feel.
- Create opportunities to walk down memory lane- Look through old pictures or a scrapbook to remind you of fun times you have together. Remembering vacations, trips, adventures and other times can help you feel those loving feelings again.
How to Behave Differently
Sometimes people say they don’t spend any quality time with their spouse because they don’t feel like it. Well if you wait until you suddenly and spontaneously feel those loving feelings, you may be waiting a long time. Instead, it is important to change your behavior first and this will change how you feel.
- Behave like a loving partner even when you don’t feel like it- True love means acting like a loving spouse, even when you don’t feel like it. So, do something nice for your partner. Ask yourself, what do couples who are really in love do? Then do just that. The feelings will follow.
- Do one thing each day to show your love- Establish good habits and do one thing each day to show your love. Whether you leave a loving note in your partner’s pocket, make a special dinner or buy a surprise gift, it is important to behave lovingly each and every day.
- Provide physical affection- When you feel like you’ve lost those loving feelings it is more important than ever to provide physical affection. Behaving affectionately can help you to feel more affectionate and loving. Remember, change your behavior first and the feelings will follow.