Relationship Connection: Have I been blind to the true nature of my marriage?

Question

Please! Help! My husband and I have lost our connection. It’s like having a roommate that I’m not even sure I like, but have sex with. We don’t talk about anything without it becoming a fuss. So we spend most of our time saying nothing, even if we are sitting in the same room.

I’m still holding on to hope, as there was one point in our relationship that he was my everything. That was 15 yrs ago, but now I just hope we get through the day without fighting. I just don’t know where to start or if I can fix us.

Sometimes I wonder if our whole relationship was just me being blind and he has always been like this.

Answer

While it’s not unusual for couples to lose the strength of their connection as they coast through life, your marriage is experiencing more than just a little distance. It’s time to wake this marriage up and breathe some life into it. Realizations like this are actually great opportunities to reinvent the way you do things. If it’s not working for one of you, it’s not working for either of you.

For maximum impact, you’ll want to have a conversation with your husband outside the normal routine. This will require a change of scenery and plenty of time to really explore what each of you wants at this crossroad.

If you have kids, get someone to watch them and take a road trip somewhere where you can talk, side by side. This isn’t a time to set ultimatums or make threats. It’s a time to each take turns describing what this marriage feels like and how you want it to be different.

He may not have much to say or he may argue with you. Both are understandable responses, as there will likely be a wide range of responses from both of you as you cover 15 years worth of ground. Give yourselves plenty of space to talk through this so you can really hear each other. You might even agree to not solve anything this time around, but, instead, focus on just letting each other share without interruption.

Commit to him that you will stay in this conversation as long as he is willing to get this figured out with you. Even though there is certainly an urgency to get this figured out before the disconnection drops you into deeper despair, give yourself room to take as much time as you two need.

As long as the conversations continue to reveal more and allow you both to deepen your compassion and understanding for one another, stay with it.

If things get so shut down or explosive that there is no where else to turn, invite him to go visit a qualified marriage counselor with you so you can stay in conversation with one another. If you want to stay married, don’t give up. As Dr. Ed Tronick once said, “We thrive in the messiness of human connection. Without it, we wither.”

Stay connected!

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Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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12 Comments

  • Peg September 17, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Geoff, you forgot the “I” statements. Taking your spouses inventory always shuts down the conversation because people feel attacked. When I talk honestly about how I feel, someone who cares about me should be able to listen easier and consider ways to make a difference. When I realized this growing apart was a problem for my marriage, I sat and told my husband all the ways HE didn’t make me happy, didn’t accomplish anything but anger and resentment. We went to 4 different counselors before I learned that drug addiction was making our relationship impossible. He has been clean for over 7 years. We both attend 12 step programs and work on our relationship all the time. After more than 20 years of marriage, I can say that certain problems can be overcome with the decision to commit to fixing them and recognizing what role I play in the problem AND the solution instead of focusing on his behavior.

  • Utah man to wifey September 17, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Get back in the kitchen where you belong and make me a sammich!

  • chupacabra September 17, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Great point Peg, a brief discussion on using “I” language would be very helpful as this couple begins to relate to one another on a deeper level. If I may post a link, the following is an excellent article on effective communication http://www.ictstexas.com/4-easy-steps-expressing-feelings

  • Carol September 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I think every married couple should read this. It is short and to the point. If there is not a mutual respect there will be trouble.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1609079027/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  • Bobber September 17, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    A woman’s place is faithfully serve the priesthood holder. There’s nothing about whining and complaining included in the job description…

    • mesaman September 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      What a boorish person you are.

      • Simone September 17, 2014 at 8:00 pm

        For once mesaman i have to agree with you..Joyce is there anyway to stop Bobber and Koolaids trolling at least temporarily? I mean im no huge fan of Mormons either, i admit, but there comes a point when enough is enough.

        • Koolaid September 18, 2014 at 7:54 am

          Why do you read our comments?

  • MmmBacon September 17, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    It doesn’t matter how much you are willing to work on and connect with your wife. It takes two to want the marriage to work. It takes two to work on the issues that arise from putting two individual views and opinions together. If she has given up; or worse, given her emotional connections to another man; it won’t matter how badly you want to save the marriage. Takes two to make it work.

  • Stacye September 17, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Southland Bible Church will be presenting the “Love & Respect” series every Wednesday at 7:00 – 8:00 pm. If you have a good marriage, it will make it even better. If your marriage is just so-so, it will make it great. If your marriage is struggling, it could save it. Give it a shot.

  • r.neuman September 18, 2014 at 2:51 am

    It sounds like the couple in the article BOTH need to start trying harder to connect. The GOOD NEWS (very good news) is that she mentioned they are still having sex. Because when a couple stops having sex, it’s over. This couple has a lot more going for them than they think. At least they are not living in a SEXLESS, LOVELESS MARRIAGE….

    • Koolaid September 19, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      She’s probably having sex with him because she probably feels religiously compelled to as part of her serving her man requirement. Some males in the church hierarchy probably feel it’s the woman’s duty to perform booty duty.

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