Emotional distance between you and your spouse is part of the ebb and flow of normal relationships. There are times in your marriage when you will feel extremely close to each other. Other times, that closeness just isn’t there.
Emotional distance between you and your spouse is part of the ebb and flow of normal relationships. There are times in your marriage when you will feel extremely close to each other. Other times, that closeness just isn’t there. This becomes a problem, however, when you feel that emotional distance has become the norm in your relationship and that normal interaction is minimal.
Everyone has a desire to be loved and to love in return. It is one of the most basic human needs. Marriage is generally an excellent place to fulfill this need. However, when emotional distance creeps into a marriage, it can make spouses feel isolated, lonely and unloved. When partners grow apart or lose touch with one another it is important to reverse this trend before it becomes a permanent aspect of the relationship. The following tips will help you avoid letting emotional distance prevent you from experiencing a happy, fulfilling marriage.
1. Don't expect your spouse to do all the work
Sometimes one spouse will continue to expect to be fulfilled without putting in any effort of their own. Marriage involves give and take from both partners. Behaviors such as, selfish demands, angry outbursts, constant criticism, annoying behavior and dishonesty are all things that will drain your partner and increase emotional distance. Examine your actions and honestly assess how much you are putting into the relationship. If you find yourself lacking, make an effort to change the way you interact with your spouse.
2. Don't settle for a mediocre relationship
Your marriage relationship is one of the things in life that provides the greatest potential for happiness. It is also one of the aspects of life over which you have a great deal of control. While you can’t control the actions of your spouse, you have absolute control over your own. If you are willing to put in the work, you will almost always get positive results.
3. Don't do anything without enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse
Always make major decisions together, and consult each other on small decisions, as well. When you feel like you are part of each other’s lives and are working as a team, you will more easily develop the closeness that is so important to your marriage.
4. Don't let emotional distance last too long
While there will be times in your marriage when you will feel less connected than others, don’t let these periods go on for too long. If circumstances, like periods of high stress or extremely hectic schedules, are the reason for the lack of closeness, make sure to get back on track as soon as life gets back to normal. Schedule some one-on-one alone time to reconnect with your spouse. If there are other reasons such as, unresolved marital issues that are causing distance between you, don’t allow them to continue to fester. Sit down and discuss them with your partner so that you can work them out and move on.
Arguing, if done in a manner that is fair and reasonable, is actually a healthy part of any relationship. Sometimes couples avoid discussing important issues because they want to avoid contention at all costs. This is a mistake. Learning to work through these issues is an important part of your marital relationship. Making certain topics off limits only allows resentment to build and will create a greater rift in your marriage.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.