Relationships can be complicated; most of us know this and have experienced it. The relationship curve does not stay the same all through your marriage or whatever form of long-term relationship you have chosen. And when it feels like you’re slowly drifting apart but can’t do anything to salvage the situation, figuring out things married couples can do to reconnect can be the lifeboat you need.
Like the stock exchange, there are highs and lows, wins and losses in every relationship. A major low point is a loss of connection in a relationship for various reasons. You might be thinking, “How to reconnect with your spouse? Is it even possible in the first place?”
People in strong and healthy relationships will tell you that connections in a marriage suffer when there are financial issues, when the loss of a dear one like a child or a parent hits you, or when there’s infidelity. Marriage is something you need to work on constantly, so even when the connection wanes in phases, how willing you are to reconnect with your spouse will actually decide the fate of your relationship.
When You Feel Disconnected With Your Spouse: 6 Causes
Loss of connection in a relationship can happen at any time. It can happen in the first year of marriage itself or it can happen when you’ve been happily married for 20 years. To regain emotional connection can become a lifetime of work, regardless of how long you’ve been together.
In the first year, spouses could have adjustment issues, sometimes one spouse becomes controlling and the other wants space. The loss of connection in a relationship can make both spouses distraught, and the causes of disconnection can be multiple. “I felt emotionally disconnected from my husband, and I didn’t even know why. It took a few heart-to-hearts, a few heated arguments, and lots of understanding to realize that he felt unloved and felt as though he had to change himself to cater to me.
“I didn’t like it when he spoke too loudly, though he tried to change that, it also ate away at him because he felt as though he couldn’t be his authentic self with me. Thankfully, we were able to talk through our differences. If you want to reconnect with your spouse emotionally, makes sure you communicate your feelings effectively,” Julia told us, talking about her decade-long marriage with Ruben.
If things are going awry, reconnecting with your spouse emotionally may not seem as easy as communicating with them about it. When things get rough, it’ll do you some good to figure out why there may be a disconnect in the first place. Let’s find out.
1. Adjustment issues
When two people start living together, compromises have to be made. But when that has to happen with the suspension of self, then the trouble begins. A chilled air-conditioner vs a warmer bedroom could look like a trivial issue but it can create disconnection in a long-term relationship. That’s why some couples even opt for separate bedrooms, it’s just a way of making things work.
Archie and Liz had been married for a year when certain issues started creeping in. Archie was a morning person, Liz wasn’t. Archie could barely tolerate a spoonful of chili flakes, Liz was a spice fiend. None of these seemed like life-altering differences, but they became obstacles to building connections in a marriage.
Related Reading: Adjustment in Marriage: 10 Tips For Newly Married Couples to Make Their Relationship Strong
2. Control vs too much space
A controlling husband or a wife who is completely spaced out are both bad for a relationship. But when couples fail to find the middle path, there’s often a disconnect. With disconnect, ways to reconnect with a spouse also fall by the wayside.
When one spouse is a control freak and the other spouse keeps harping on individuality and space and wants more me time, issues begin to fester in the marriage. This can lead to loss of connection in the relationship as resentment builds, or one partner starts feeling stifled.
3. Money issues
Starting from financial infidelity to problems around sharing expenses, money issues can be a monster that can ruin relationships. Disconnection happens when the financial stress becomes unbearable or one partner is a spendthrift and the other one is a miser. Take Jen and Jake, for instance. Jake was cheerfully casual about spending and didn’t worry about saving for the future.
Jen, having grown up in a financially tight household, weighed and noted down everything she spent. Soon, this led to major conflict and loss of connection in the relationship, with Jen calling Jake immature and Jake wishing Jen were a little less uptight. Remember, there are questions to reconnect with a spouse, but “why did you spend $49.99 on a pair of shoes” might not necessarily be the best one.
4. Cheating can wreck a marriage
Thanks to the smartphones at our disposal, a spouse can get embroiled in an emotional affair even without knowing it. Online cheating is easier than ever today, and it’s clear to see how one spouse engaging in an online affair is drastically going to impact the relationship.
Spouses have feelings like guilt because their partner ventured into an affair and are mentally tormented because of the cheating. That’s when they find it hard to reconnect after cheating. That’s what happened to Martha and James. After half a decade of marriage, Martha saw James drifting apart, and it seemed like his phone was more important than her.
“I felt emotionally disconnected from my husband, and I figured out why when I saw a few dirty texts on his phone that he was trying to hide from me. He had been having an online emotional affair, and it felt impossible to get things back to the way they were after that,” says Martha.
5. Interference of in-laws
If an affair can take a toll on a marriage, elderly in-laws moving in with a couple could also lead to discord. If you are constantly fighting about the in-laws and if they are coming between you, it can ravage your marriage. Dealing with their temper tantrums can create a strain on the marriage. Even if you’re wondering what to talk about with your spouse to reconnect, having in-laws in the same living space can make it difficult to have these conversations.
6. Unhealthy addictions and coping mechanisms
Drug addictions, alcoholism, or betting addictions can create discord in a marriage. If your spouse is heavily addicted to any or all of these, it could cause major changes to their personality, making it difficult to reconnect to a spouse.
Nowadays, social media addiction is also a major reason for creating a disconnection between couples. To get over drug addiction, you might need to go for rehabilitation or see a counselor. And for social media addictions, a detox could be good enough to reconnect with your spouse.
10 Signs Of Disconnection In Your Marriage
Now that we have discussed the causes, the next step is to spot the signs that declare all too clearly that disconnection exists in a marriage. Understanding the signs can help you reconnect with your spouse and hopefully find your back to a happier space.
You’ll only be able to traverse to that happier space if you can ascertain if something is going south or not. On your journey to reconnect with your spouse emotionally, the signs will help you figure out exactly what you need to fix as well. Let’s take a look at them:
1. There is more silence than talk
Charlie and Hank had always been a deeply communicative couple. Their dinner table conversations covered everything under the sun – from politics to office gossip. But a few years into the marriage, the communication problems between them were palpable and the zest for building connection in their marriage was gone.
It’s common for long-term relationships to change over time. But, if your marriage was one of cheerful conversations and laughter, it can be heartbreaking to see each other not saying a word over your meals, and quickly getting busy with the TV or the phone. When you notice something like that, it’s time to reconnect with a distant spouse.
Related Reading: How To Respond To The Silent Treatment – Effective Ways To Handle It
2. You need to reconnect with your spouse emotionally if there is a communication gap
We know, it sounds like the oldest cliche around, but communication really is key to any relationship. You might already be aware that you don’t communicate about each other’s feelings anymore. You have angry outbursts, you both fester in your own little stew of feelings or go silent.
You never discuss why you feel disconnected in the relationship or talk about ways to reconnect with a spouse. Rather than talking or going on dates to reconnect with your spouse, you’re just letting the communication distance between you grow.
3. Your partner has emotionally checked out
You may be feeling no emotional connection with your husband because your husband has checked out of the marriage emotionally. Or perhaps your wife has given up on the marriage in her mind, and it seems like there’s a larger rift growing between you two every single day. If you feel the relationship is worth saving, you’ll make every effort to emotionally reconnect with your husband.
4. There is sex but no intimacy
You have sex but you do not make love anymore. You just give in to your biological instincts but there is no intimacy when you are in each other’s arms. You might even feel the disconnection in the relationship the moment you make out. A lack of intimacy during the time emotions should be running high signals a major need to reconnect with your spouse sexually. It wouldn’t even be too unheard of if yours has turned into a sexless marriage.
5. You do not resolve conflicts
Conflict resolution is the most important aspect of a healthy relationship, but you know you are in an unhealthy relationship because you sleep over your conflicts. You keep festering inside but you never bring it up and resolve it. For any relationship, knowing how to reconnect with your spouse after a fight is vital. There needs to be an effective conclusion reached after your fights, or the animosity that lingers in the air is going to eat you both up from the inside.
Related Reading: 13 Tell-Tale Signs A Man Is Unhappy In His Marriage
6. You hardly spend time together
Earlier you would travel together, go on movie dates or even plan double dates with friends but now you hardly find any solace in each other’s company. You loathe spending time with each other. If you realize you’re both getting a little too busy with your own lives, you may need to do a few ideas on things to do with your spouse to reconnect. More on that later.
7. Silent treatment is meted out to each other
There could be some benefits of silence in a relationship but prolonged silent treatment amounts to emotional abuse if it’s meted out to each other out of spite. It leads to moving further apart rather than reconnecting with your husband or wife. In a relationship that seems exhausting, trying to resolve conflicts maturely just doesn’t seem to be worth it anymore. Instead, you may opt to stonewall each other.
8. You don’t say “I love you”
Saying a spontaneous “I love you” is all it takes to make you feel loved and happy. But if you just don’t feel like uttering those words, something could be really wrong with your relationship. Though it may seem like a formality after a point of time, assuring your partner that you really do love them and care for them might literally be all you need. But if you can’t remember the last time you said these three words to each other with actual intent behind it, it’s time to think about what’s wrong.
9. You don’t keep track of each other’s lives
When Carly got a big promotion at work, she didn’t tell her husband Jerry. It was her colleague who told Jerry, and predictably, he was surprised and hurt that Carly hadn’t told him herself. On the other hand, when Jerry was thinking about investing in a mobile home, it was a while before he discussed it with Carly. You know you cannot reconnect with a distant spouse when s/he doesn’t share her/his life plans, triumphs and tribulations with you.
10. There is no effort by your partner to make you happy
It’s the small gestures in a relationship that make two people happy. There are no efforts to bring home flowers or gifts or toss-up an interesting dish to make your spouse happy. There was a time when Marie and Jason would frequently surprise each other with small gifts. But after four years of marriage, these gestures of love dried up, leaving them pondering over ways to reconnect with a spouse.
If all the signs have got you drawing parallels with your own relationship, figuring out things to do with your spouse to reconnect might be the first step you need to take. Let’s take an in-depth look at all you need to do, so you move one step closer to the harmonious marriage you yearn for.
Related Reading: 7 Warning Signs You Are Growing Apart In Your Marriage
8 Steps To Reconnect With Your Spouse
So, how do you reconnect with a distant spouse? When disconnection in a marriage happens, it goes on a complete downward spiral, but psychologist John Gottman, who has saved hundreds of marriages from divorce and has been researching over 3,000 couples for the last 40 years, feels that timely reconnection is the key to putting a marriage back on track.
John Gottman says it’s possible to bring back marriages from the brink if couples seek intervention in the early phases of disconnection. By just knowing what to talk about with your spouse to reconnect with them, you’ll be making sure that the communication becomes more effective and engaging.
Whether you’re looking to be more sexually intimate with your husband or you’re trying to reconnect with your spouse after separation, knowing what you need to do is an absolute necessity. So if the question, “how to reconnect with your spouse?” has been weighing heavy on your mind, here are 8 steps you could follow.
1. Reconnect with your spouse spontaneously
The first sign of disconnection in a relationship is that spontaneity goes out the window. Before you utter a word you keep thinking if that would make your spouse angry or would you be hurting them with your actions. You cannot resolve conflicts with just a hug and go to bed cuddling each other.
The first step to reconnect with your spouse is to try to bring back spontaneity. A good way to do that is to let go of the anger or hurt. Whether it’s the fact that your spouse is lazy with the chores or if it’s financial concerns that are making you angry, find a solution to them and try to let go.
Instead, focus on the positives of the relationship and the shared memories and try to bring back that simple hug or the peck on the cheek. And if you’re looking to reconnect with your spouse sexually, a spontaneous night of lovemaking might be all you need. Go ahead and set the mood with a few candles and that expensive wine, and you’ll have yourselves a night to remember.
2. Reconnect with your spouse emotionally
Emotional dependence on each other is a sign of a healthy relationship. When you start feeling an emotional disconnect, your relationship inevitably takes a blow. The emotional disconnect happens when conflicts are left unresolved. A good way to resolve issues is to accept that conflict is inevitable but instead of saying hurtful words to your partner in the conflict, you must try to reason with each other.
If you make sure not to use hurtful words, play the blame game, or spew venom, and instead try to have a dialogue about the problem, you can be in a better space. In order to do that, you must talk to your partner honestly and amicably. Figuring out how to reconnect with your spouse after a fight, and you’ll be one step closer toward emotional intimacy.
Ask questions to reconnect with a spouse, and listen carefully to what they’re saying. Sometimes, if you want to regain an emotional connection with your spouse, all you need to do is make them feel validated by listening to them.
3. Reconnect with your spouse spiritually
In a relationship, there is always a spiritual connection. Some believe in it, some don’t. Some feel it more, some don’t. When you are inordinately connected spiritually, it’s a sign you are soulmates and share a certain level of comfort and faith in each other. A spiritual connection is when spouses can make out that a partner is disturbed mentally or know what they need to do to fix the situation. It’s not magic, it’s just a case of how well you understand each other.
But sometimes, there is a breakdown of this spiritual connection when partners feel like strangers living in the same house. The fact remains, no matter what situations you go through, this connection remains. All you have to do is resurrect it with care and effort.
So if you’ve been thinking about what to talk about with your spouse to reconnect, try to talk about how you don’t feel innately connected to them. Perhaps a wonderful conversation will ensue, and you’ll know exactly why you both feel so distant.
Related Reading: 12 Realistic Expectations In A Relationship
4. Reconnect with your spouse sexually
When there’s a disconnect between spouses, the first thing that goes out of the window is your sex life. Either it becomes very dissatisfying or lack of intimacy leads to no sex at all. Reconnecting sexually with your partner needs some effort on your part but you have to start with emotional reconnection before you can get intimate physically and find that old warmth.
Physical intimacy is very important to bring back the connection. You could start working on the friendship, go on dates to reconnect with your spouse, travel together and go for the non-sensual touch first. To build a strong connection in your marriage, you have to rely on building a strong foundation of friendship first.
If you’re looking to be more sexually intimate with your husband or wife, go ahead and surprise them by spontaneously making the first move, and focusing a bit more on foreplay than usual. From new positions to setting the mood beforehand, there are a plethora of things you can do. What matters more is how interested you are in reconnecting with your spouse emotionally
5. Reconnect with your spouse intellectually
Both of you could be avid readers and there was a time when you could discuss a book for hours, but now that doesn’t happen anymore. The debates you used to have earlier because of your clashing political ideologies seem futile and you do not watch back-to-back movies lying on the couch anymore.
To reconnect with your significant other, gift them a book or buy tickets to the movies. Tell them you heard of a great Netflix series that you want to watch together. In a healthy relationship, spouses are usually on the same page when it comes to intellectual intimacy. Opting for a class together or joining a webinar together can also be great ways to reconnect intellectually.
6. Reconnect with your spouse happily
How to reconnect with your spouse? In order to do that you have to first understand what is the root cause of unhappiness in your relationship. If you can work on that and eliminate it, then nothing can stop you from reconnecting and finding your happiness. When looking to find things to do with your spouse to reconnect, try to think of things that made you both happy.
Perhaps you loved doing yoga together, or maybe you two felt connected to each other while making food together. Happiness can be a stroll in the garden or indulging in the ritual of having coffee together in the morning. Go back to all the rituals that made you happy and you will find your marriage has already become invigorated.
7. Reconnect with your spouse logically
What to talk about with your spouse to reconnect? Talk logic. Apply solid reasoning to your relationship. Sometimes our mind is clouded by our emotions and sentiments and we end up jumping to conclusions and drawing inferences that have no logic. This way we harm our relationship immensely.
Improving communication in your relationship with logic does help in building reconnection in a relationship. If you have the answers to the hows and whys, then much of the misunderstandings that plagued your relationship can be cleared. Try to look at all actions and situations with logic, and you will be able to reconnect with your partner better.
Perhaps you both jump to conclusions while you argue or you just let your emotions get the better of you, hence putting logic in the backseat. In a situation where you’re trying to reconnect with your spouse after separation, you must logically and objectively look at what went wrong in your relationship and why it did.
8. Find things to do with your spouse to reconnect
One of the most important aspects of this journey is to find things to do with your spouse to reconnect, since only by spending constructive time together will you feel part of a greater whole again. When the humdrum of life takes hold of you and it feels like eons have passed since you had fun with your partner, you must try and establish a bond again with your partner.
When you’re all out of ideas, perhaps a few of these things to do with your spouse to reconnect can come to your aid:
- Find a new hobby together, like hiking or chess
- Go on date nights to your favorite part of the city
- Set your phone aside for some time and just have conversations with each other
- Join a running club, a dance class or a yoga class
- Cook together or for each other, or challenge each other to a cook-off
- Visit new places in your city like tourists
- Have a spa night at home
The list goes on, and only stops where your imagination ends. The point is, with the help of these things married couples can do to reconnect, you’ll make new memories with your partner and strengthen your bond. Marriage is a long and tough journey and all its phases cannot be the same. It is normal to lose the connection at times, but you can always reconnect with your spouse and strengthen your bond by following the steps we listed out for you today.
At the end of the day, what decides how well you’ll get along is how much effort you’re willing to put into it. If your marriage is currently going through a difficult period, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists can help you navigate these tough times, and guide you back to the healthy relationship you once had.
It’s very hard for a marriage to survive without an emotional connection. It is because of the emotional connection you can survive the ups and downs and when that connection is gone you are like two zombies sharing the same bed, that’s all.
First, you need to pinpoint the root cause of the disconnection in the marriage. Then you need to check if all the signs of disconnection are there in your relationship. When you realize why you are drifting apart, you make efforts to reconnect.
You have to take some important steps like spending time together, going for dates, finding the old rituals, to reconnect both emotionally and sexually.
Both partners need to accept that they are growing apart in the marriage and they need to take concrete steps to reconnect with their spouse. Making the effort to reconnect is all you need to do to restore the marriage.