Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Think back to those early days in your relationship. I’m sure there are a few moments in time that are forever marked in your memory. Times where you and your love were soooo into each other, living life like an Alicia Keys song (cue Teenage Love Affair) or representing the perfect example of Jill Scott’s “A Long Walk.”
For me, one of those moments is a date my then boyfriend and I took to the Bronx Zoo. It was my first time there and we were double-dating with another couple. We walked through the exhibits, hand in hand, cuddling and smiling at each other, hardly even noticing the animals we paid to see. We were so googly-eyed we even got sucked into purchasing that ridiculously over-priced photo in the keepsake photo frame.
There is something so fresh and exciting about that time in a relationship. Where your heart is bursting with excitement for the next time you’ll talk or see each other. Where you’re thoughts are consumed by how you can spend as much time with each other as possible.
It’s an amazing time.
So much so that you make the decision to spend every single day with each other, forever, and ever, until death do you part.
Those first few months or years as a married couple are wonderful.
You’re the blushing bride, glad to cook, clean, and do anything else to put a smile on his face.
Your weekends are spent doing exciting things, going fun places and uncovering even more things you love about each other.
And then, somewhere, real life sets in. And those butterflies you once felt have gone back into their cocoons and now feel completely dormant.
You’re wondering if you have really lost the spark or if it’s just buried under the mail, that room full of toys, endless work meetings, or that mounting pile of laundry.
As a relationship expert and marriage coach, I see the signs all the time. And I’ll even admit to you, there are many that show up in my own marriage from time to time.
And let’s be even more honest and admit that the reason you’re reading this is because you already know to some degree, that spark is just not there like it used to be. You’re here now looking to see just how long gone it is, you’re peeking your head in so you can tally up how many of these signs are fully present in your own marriage today.
Well, let’s get to it.
Below are 12 clear signs your marriage has lost it’s spark.
#1. You don’t have sex often. Now of course, often, is to your own interpretation. But when you compare your sex life in earlier days to what’s happening now, you know it’s not even up to your own standards. Every once and a while you feel the urge, but it’s just too much effort, and honestly, you’d rather just go to sleep. And if your husband does try to initiate with you, you are not the most welcoming and excited participant in the beginning.
#2. You haven’t gone on a date night in a while. Thinking back to those early days, all you did was date. But now, like sex, it’s too much of a hassle. You can’t find a babysitter, you don’t know what to do, your schedule is just too packed, so you do nothing but talk about how you need to have a date night. Or of you do manage to get the one night out together, you have nothing fun and exciting to talk about, and it feels like you’ve had every conversation there is to have.
#3. You don’t connect throughout the day. Remember when you would text or call each other a million times? Just to check in and “see how he was doing?” Well now you find that you just don’t have the time to reach out, or when the thought crosses your mind, you quickly shut it down with “he’s too busy” or “he won’t care” or “I’ll do it later.” Well later has come and gone. Many times. And you still spent most of your day apart and not in much communication with each other.
#4. There’s no excitement when you reunite. When either of you walks through the door, there may be a quick hello, but it’s immediately followed by a list of all the things that need to happen. No smile, little eye-contact and there’s not a lot of time to talk about your day because the responsibilities of the household are totally taking over. It’s not until later you realize, you didn’t offer a warm greeting or show any sign you were actually happy to see each other.
#5. Most of your time is spent co-parenting, not connecting as lovers. You have very little couple time together. There is always a child in need of your attention, and after that’s taken care of, you just need a minute to yourself. Any alone time with your husband is a luxury that you’ve just not been able to afford lately. And he doesn’t seem to be missing it because he’s not really doing anything to spend more time with you either.
#6. Doing nice things for your husband feels like a chore. Those tiny expressions of your love and affection just don’t seem as automatic these days. You know you should show your appreciation so he doesn’t feel taken for granted, but you’re not even sure he will notice your effort or reciprocate. And that makes it feel like more work when you are already overwhelmed with other things to do.
#7. You don’t touch each other much outside of sex. (If you’re even having sex.) There are not many hugs, no little passing touches, and your hands have not held each other in who knows how long. If you’re sitting on the couch, he’s at one end and you are at the other. And in the bed, you are most comfortable on your side and don’t want as much as a toe of his touching you.
#8. You don’t make plans or think of more ways to spend time together. Earlier in your relationship, you might see an event or hear about something and immediately think, “oh we should go do that!” But now, when you hear of an event or another fun outing, instead of thinking and making plans for it to happen, you shrug your shoulders and sit on the sidelines. You are not sure you would really have fun and it doesn’t seem worth looking into right now.
#9. You hold back. When it comes to communicating, you no longer run to your husband with everything on your mind. He’s not the first person you think of to share the latest gossip, or happenings of your day. You are hesitant to go to him with the things that concern you for fear he just won’t understand. It seems like he just doesn’t get you anymore, so you keep things in more to yourself.
#10. You live parallel lives. Sure you are in the same room and the TV is on, but you’re not really watching TV “together”. He’s on his phone, you are on yours and there are few words exchanged between the two of you. You go about your time in the house deep in your own mind, planning and thinking about what you need to do, and not really present to his presence or engaged in any meaningful interaction. You go to bed on your own time-table that’s rarely influenced by what he’s doing.
#11. You don’t express heartfelt appreciation or gratitude. When your relationship was new, you were likely tripping over yourself to make sure he knew how much you appreciated him. Every dinner out, every trip to the movies, every kind gesture was met with your enthusiastic “thank you” and heartfelt appreciation. Now when you say thank you, it’s more out of habit, and honestly, sometimes the things you “thank him” for are things he should just be doing anyway.
#12. You have let yourself go a little. Let me ask, what is your bed-time attire like these days? Do you throw on any combination of shirts and leggings and call it a day? Are you scrambling around putting on the nearest pair of socks, mismatched and all? Is your headwrap in need of a complete overhaul or replacement? You give yourself a pass because “it doesn’t really matter anymore”, but this lack of effort on your part could mean you just are not interested in impressing your husband anymore.
I could definitely go on, but I think you get the point. Now, I want you to know I didn’t write this just for you to find you and your husband as culprits of these mistakes. I wrote this to offer you some solutions as well.
As a mother juggling the needs of a 2 1/2-year-old and a 9-month-old, I’m constantly finding ways to re-ignite that flame so that my own marriage is full of passion and excitement.
So don’t hang your head down in defeat! Let’s take a look at the things you can actually start doing right away to light that spark back in your marriage and understand why these things have been happening in the first place.
I’ve created a quick little guide called Love Spark: 12 Quick Ways to Reignite Your Marriage
It’s filled with ideas you’ve probably not heard of and ideas that you can actually make happen this week! Because if you’re like me, you know you need to be making those tiny deposits every day, but you quickly forget or lose your steam. Or the ideas you come across are boring or just don’t fit into your busy life. Well, I can guarantee you there’s something in the list you will be running to try.
And this resource is just seconds from being in your inbox! Sign up to download Love Spark using the button below and stay connected to me to receive other tips and strategies that work in creating a happier, more exciting and loving marriage.
To your marriage full of excitement,
Dr. Chavonne Perotte
Marriage Coach & Founder of RelateAble