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.
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 fifteen 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 guys 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 guys 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.”
Geoff will answer a new family and relationship question every Friday. You can email your question to him at email@example.com
About the Author
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in St. George, UT. He is the owner of Alliant Counseling and Education (www.alliantcounseling.com) and the founding director of LifeStar of St. George, an outpatient treatment program for couples and individuals impacted by pornography and sexual addiction (www.lifestarstgeorge.com). He is the co-author of “Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity”, available at Deseret Book, and the audio series “Strengthening Recovery Through Strengthening Marriage”, available at www.marriage-recovery.com. He also writes a weekly relationship column for the St. George News (www.stgnews.com). He holds a bachelors degree from BYU in communications studies and a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Auburn University. He served a full-time mission to the Dominican Republic and currently serves on the high council of the St. George, Utah young single adult second stake. He is married to Jody Young Steurer and they are the parents of four children.
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