Feeling connected in a marriage is essential. However, there are many threats that can undermine this connection and lead to a feeling of distance. In today’s #MarriageMonday, we’re exploring five of the main reasons couples lose that feeling of connection.
Mark: Let’s be honest: Most of us entered into marriage with stars in our eyes and a belief that our spouse would meet our needs, fulfill our dreams, and satisfy our expectations. Many of us spent months preparing for our wedding and just a handful of hours—if we had some form of premarital counseling—preparing for our marriage. In our ceremony, we uttered vows that promised we’d love each other “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health,” having no understanding of what that might look like in practice.
Jill: Reality probably set in as soon as you discovered this person you committed to puts the toilet paper roll on backwards. Not only that, but they think, process life, deal with conflict, manage money, desire sex, solve problems, handle stress, and make decisions differently than you do.
Mark: Real life can be tough on a marriage. Real life requires hard conversations, personal growth and change, money and time management, and so much more. Those things can sometimes cause a little bit (okay, maybe a lot) of friction in a relationship.
Jill: In the midst of the day-to-day, it’s easy for a distance to start to form between you and your spouse. It’s slow (we often call it a slow fade), but that distance can impact the connection we feel to our spouse and in turn affect the unity we have in our marriage.
Mark: Today, we want to explore the topic of connection. Specifically, we want to highlight five of the biggest threats to connection in a marriage. By understanding these threats and learning how to address them, couples can work to strengthen their emotional connection and maintain a healthy relationship.
(By the way, we hosted an online marriage workshop all about connection this week. For a few more days you can buy the recording. Check out the details here!)
Jill: As you’re reading these, we encourage you to consider which threat is impacting connection the most in your marriage. Whatever it is, we then encourage you to gently share that perspective with your spouse. That can be a great conversation-starter.
Mark: In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy for couples to get caught up in their busy schedules and neglect spending quality time together. This lack of togetherness can lead to a feeling of disconnection. Whether it’s going on a date night, taking a weekend getaway, or simply spending an evening at home together, it’s important for couples to carve out time for each other in order to strengthen their connection.
Jill: In our upcoming workshop, we recommend three regular “Connection Protection Opportunities.” These are called the Daily Drip, Weekly Weld, and the Monthly Move. By incorporating regular opportunities for togetherness, you can build a deeply-connected marriage.
2) Differing Goals and Priorities
Mark: It’s natural for couples to have different goals and priorities, but if these differences are not addressed, it can also lead to a feeling of disconnection.
Jill: When one person feels like their goals and priorities are not being respected or valued by their spouse, it can create distance and tension in the relationship. This is why it’s crucial for couples to discuss their goals and priorities and find ways to support and encourage each other while still maintaining their own individuality.
Mark: Differences in a marriage are hard in the first place, but they are even harder when they impact the direction your family is moving in. Since it’s challenging, a lot of couples just don’t talk about it. They’ll make assumptions, get frustrated, and then react towards their spouse out of that frustration. Instead, it’s important to talk openly, have safe conversations, and make mutual decisions together.
Read More: 6 Core Differences in Many Marriages
3) Broken Trust
Jill: This one was a big one in our story, and we hear from couples every single week who are recovering from broken trust as well. Certainly, infidelity is a big part of the conversation here. When one partner is unfaithful, it can shatter the trust and emotional bond between two people. It can be difficult for the partner who experienced that broken trust to feel connected and intimate with their spouse again, and the relationship requires a lot of work to heal and rebuild.
Mark: Like we share in No More Perfect Marriages, infidelity was part of our story. However, it’s important to acknowledge that broken trust is a bigger topic than one person having an affair. (We explore 12 additional ways trust can be broken in this podcast episode.)
Jill: After apologizing, there’s only one way to actually rebuild trust: Consistent changed behavior over time. Where do you need to rebuild trust in your marriage?
4) Lack of Communication
Mark: Communication is essential in any relationship, and it is especially important in a marriage. When couples don’t talk openly and honestly with each other, it can lead to misunderstandings, resentment, and a lack of emotional connection.
Jill: Perhaps unsurprisingly, without effective communication it can be difficult for couples to resolve conflicts and move forward in an effective way. This is why we spend so much time in our coaching, our seminars, and our intensives helping people understand how to have a safe conversation.
Mark: It’s important for couples to make time to talk with each other. During those conversations, we have to learn to listen actively, validate what was shared, and then respond respectfully. Could your communication use a tune-up?
5) Lack of Physical Intimacy
Jill: This is a big one. And let me just say right upfront: This is about sex, and it’s not just about sex. So many marriages have lost physical connection altogether: the lengthy hug in the kitchen, the kiss goodbye before work, the holding hands, and the list goes on. I can assure you that connection in a marriage is impacted by the lack of those little pieces of physical intimacy just like it’s impacted by a lack of regular sex.
Mark: Physical intimacy is an important part of any romantic relationship, and like Jill mentioned, a lack of it can lead to a feeling of disconnection in a marriage. It’s so important for couples to make time for physical intimacy and to communicate about their needs and desires in this area. (Remember #4?)
Jill: It’s important for couples to be open and honest with each other about their needs and to work together to find a balance that works for both of them. Without this unity and commitment, couples can start to experience deep levels of frustration and even resentment as time goes on.
So what about you? Which of these threats are currently impacting your marriage the most?
We offered an online marriage workshop this week called Connect with Your Spouse in 2023. For a few more days you can pick it up as an on-demand workshop. It’s just $15 and a great way to start 2023 focusing on your marriage. Get the on-demand workshop now!
Do you feel like your marriage is hanging on by a thread (or you want to make sure it doesn’t get there)? Consider our Marriage 2.0 Intensive that we host at our home in Normal, IL. We only work with one couple at a time. We’d love to work with you!