Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Loveless Marriage

Making Your Marriage Work When You Don't Love Your Spouse

Being married is never easy. When you feel the love is gone, make the effort to stay married anyway. Your family deserves it. 
There are many reasons that people marry. Some people marry for love, some marry for companionship, and others marry for convenience and still others for money. Some couples have an “arranged” marriage where the match was made by their parents. Many people marry because they have unexpectedly become pregnant and the list goes on.

Although there are many reasons people get married in the first place, there are relatively few reasons why people stay married.

Unbelievably some couples actually enjoy their marriage and stay together “till death do they part” because they cannot imagine living without their chosen mate. Some couples stay together for the sake of their children and others stay together for fear of the unknown. No matter the reasoning behind couples choosing to make their marriage work even when they don’t feel love for each other, short of the marriage being an abusive situation, it is a choice that should be applauded and supported by friends and family members. If the choice has been made to continue the marriage in a loveless scenario there are things that can be done to make the union enjoyable for both parties involved.

Remember that you chose this person. Whatever has changed between the beginning of the relationship and current circumstances does not have bearing on the fact you chose to marry your spouse. “In sickness and in health, in good times and bad, until death do you part”. The marriage may have hit a “bad time”. That does not give license to end the marriage. People have to learn to work through the “bad times”. Enduring difficult circumstances is a character building and relationship strengthening opportunity. Learn to embrace the challenges, work through the difficulties and come out stronger for making the effort; this is essential if you want to stay together.

Put your spouse first. It can be difficult, but learning to put your feelings aside and treating your spouse as if they are a top priority will work wonders in the happiness of the home. Some people may ask: “Why do I have to always be the one to put forth the effort?” If this is a question you are asking, ask yourself another one: Do you want your marriage to work or not?

Recall the things you love most about your spouse. There are traits that your spouse possesses that you found charming in the past. Ironically enough they may even be the things that annoy you most now. Take some time to cherish those traits. Learn to love your spouse again and commit to stay together.
To stay together and make a marriage work even if you think you no longer love your spouse can be difficult, but with a positive attitude, a “can do” spirit and a willing heart it is possible to have the happy, loving family of your dreams.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sometimes people chose to stay in a loveless marriage because they have children and they don't want to put the children through a divorce. Other times, financial burdens or limitations keep you from breaking away. Still other times, you are firm in your commitment to your marriage. You believe that marriage is forever and you, quite admirably, don't want to take the easy way out. There are ways to cope with these types of marriages, and I'll offer some tips toward that end. But, I also firmly believe that you don't have to live this way. You can turn a marriage without love completely around with a little bit of effort, openness, and patience. I'll discuss this more in the following article.

Don't Define Your Marriage Based On Others' Expectations: First off, I hate the phrase "loveless marriage." Because this almost implies that there never was any love between the spouses or that there never will be. This is very limiting and this perception doesn't do anything to help your cause. It's far more favorable to accept that your marriage is going through a rough patch right now which is manifesting itself as a lack of intimacy. But, that doesn't mean that you can't manufacture or reignite these feelings. Don't allow yourself to make these types of assumptions because if you do, this becomes your road map and this is a very faulty one that won't lead you anywhere that you really want to go.
Also, don't worry so much about what others think or expect. Your marriage isn't really anyone's business but your own, but the media would have us think that if we aren't all over each other all of the time, there is something wrong with us. With that said, most married couples do have a bond and a commitment that binds them which is based on shared feelings of intimacy, closeness, and understanding. If you lack any of these components, this doesn't mean that there is something wrong with your or that you can't get them back. It just means that you have some work to do. Vow to close out the outside world and not to worry about others expectations of what should make you happy in your marriage. Only you and your spouse can decide that. Don't let others make you feel that you are lacking or that you should do something else to please anyone but yourself. Define what you and your spouse need to be happy and to feel connected and concentrate only on that.

Why You (And Your Family) Deserve So Much More Than A Loveless Marriage: Many people stay in this type of marriage because they think that it's the best thing for the kids or because they "don't want to hurt anyone." But, if you think that your children or your spouse don't catch onto the fact that something is lacking, you're probably mistaken. Children are very perceptive, and parents who aren't affectionate or closely bonded are modeling the type of marriage that your children may well grow up and have. Counselors are very fond of saying that the greatest gift that you can give your child (and to yourself) are two parents who are happy and who love each other. This sounds cliche, but I believe it to be completely accurate.
You and your spouse are modeling how to live, interact, and connect for your children. They will grow up and know no other way than what you are showing them. They may well sense or even witness that your household isn't like others, but it's more likely than not that they'll live (at least on some levels) similarly to you. At the very least, they will have been affected by growing up in a home that lacks laughter and love.
I'm not telling you this to make you feel guilty or to insinuate that you aren't doing the best that you can for your children. I'm telling you this hoping that you can see that although your intentions are very honorable and unselfish, they may not be as healthy for your children as you had hoped.

Turning Around A Loveless Marriage: If you've found this article, it's highly likely that you and your spouse have gotten into the habit of going through the motions and forgoing intimacy. This is a habit that can be broken, just like any other. But, one of you must make the first move. Since you care enough to research this topic, let that person be you. You may feel quite vulnerable and hesitant to be the one to initiate this, but it's better than just hoping that things will get better without being proactive.
You really have two options here. You can be honest with your spouse, sit them down, and explain that you are troubled by the lack of intimacy in your marriage and want to work with them to change things. Try to make this sound like something that is going to be mutually beneficial and fun, not something that is going to require a lot of "work." You're really trying to get to a place where the two of you can have fun and be upbeat together so try to keep the conversation on this same keel.
The other option that you have is to just begin by changing your own actions. Maybe you don't want to lay your cards on the table yet, but you'd like to start to making some changes with what you can control - yourself. So, you'll be the one to start initiating more intimate gestures. Start small at first. Shoot for loving glances, spontaneous laughter, or the brush of a hand or shoulder. Don't put too much pressure on yourself and move slowly. But, over time, your goal is to slowly improve things so that physical touch and emotional closeness don't feel so foreign and awkward.

Finding Your Own Happiness: While your making these small changes in your marriage, it's important to look at yourself and your own fulfillment and happiness. In short, you can't give what you do not have. You can not be lighthearted and playful with your partner if you're depressed or not fulfilled within your own heart. I often find that if people focus on what makes them happy as an individual (without judging if this is right or wrong), then becoming happy as a couple falls into place more easily. You're more open to receiving pleasure and give and take because you've learned to take responsibility for and to participate in your own happiness. In other words, you don't need for your spouse to provide this for you, but you want them to share this with you and you set it up to make this so.
It was my husband, not me, who felt that our marriage was "loveless," so he threatened to end it. I knew that it wasn't over for me and I refused to give up. But, for a long time I drew on negative emotions rather than positive ones. This seriously backfired. Thankfully, I realized my tactics were not working and changed course. Eventually, I was able to not only restore my husband's love, but to change the dynamics of our marriage.