While every marriage has its ups and downs, maintaining a positive attitude when yours has been on a downhill slide from a fun, romantic relationship to a cold and distant one is difficult. Marriage is full of challenges, and this one can challenge even the most determined wife, as it attacks one of a woman's core needs -- to be loved. Like any other marital problem, however, this one can be overcome. You'll need time, patience and the willingness to continue giving love of your own.
You're Not Alone
Romantic love is the first stage of becoming part of a couple, and this feeling can be expected to fade, according to therapist Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and his coauthor Helen Hunt, Ph.D., in their book, "Making Marriage Simple." When this happens, it is easy for a partner to feel betrayed, as her biggest fan may have become her most vocal critic. Such marital problems can be a recipe for growth, however, as long as both partners are fully committed to working through them. If you view your current situation as a stage within your marriage rather than as the end of love in your life, you'll feel less discouraged as you strive to work things out.
Deal With Energy Zappers
Often, a woman can wind up feeling unattractive and unloved simply because her husband doesn't have the energy to put as much into the relationship as he once did. The stress that a messy house, children who misbehave, bills that are overdue can suck energy, which can dull the sex and romance, according to sex therapist Laurie Watson, in her article, "Why I'm Not Into You" in "Psychology Today." Help with the burdens of everyday life, Watson advises. Perhaps you can hire a lawn service to attend to the yard on the weekends or take over the task of paying the bills so that he isn't focused on finances rather than on your frilly nightie.
Take a Hint From the Pain
Pain often provides motivation to take the initiative to heal a hurting relationship. Don't count on your husband changing, though. Instead, grab the reins and seek support to help you work on issues that need addressing. Focus on bringing love and admiration into your marriage, advise psychotherapists Linda and Charlie Bloom, in their book, "101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married." As you do this, you'll be less likely to notice failures and shortcomings on the part of your spouse, and this feeling will breathe new life into your marriage. Your husband will feel the change in the atmosphere and soon, he may follow suit.
Seek Validation Elsewhere
When people don't feel valued by a spouse, they often seek validation in an affair. This is a terrible idea that is rooted in a bit of truth, which is that one person -- your spouse -- will not always meet your needs. Get some of the affection you need outside your marriage by engaging in activities you enjoy with people you are thrilled to be around. While becoming an integral part of the community choir won't replace the need you have for love from your husband, the friendship and goodwill of your other companions will help to ease the loneliness you feel while you work on your relationship.
- "Making Marriage Simple"; Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D
- Psychology Today: Why I'm Not Into You
- "101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married"; Linda Bloom, Ph.D. and Charlie Bloom, Ph.D.
- Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images