10 Ways to Rekindle a Dull Marriage

Note: This post first appeared in 2017 but has had a major overhaul. 🙂

Is your marriage stalled? Lifeless? Do you fear it’s even dying or dead? How can you rekindle your marriage?

Before you try and figure out what to do about your dull marriage, let’s look at the signs of a failing marriage.

What are the signs of a failing marriage?

  • Always criticising each other
  • Dull, boring sex, or none at all
  • Arguments followed by stiff silence
  • You argue about the same thing over and over
  • You don’t enjoy being together
  • You don’t share jokes
  • You have no fun together
  • You live separate lives
  • Communicate about essentials only – money, schedules, kids
  • You keep secrets from each other

Related: 14 Signs your marriage may be in trouble

What causes a marriage to die?

There are many things that could cause a marriage to fizzle out:

  • Growing apart – separate interests and not spending enough time together
  • Constant criticism and negativity
  • Failure to meet each other’s needs
  • Lack of communication and transparency
  • Addictions
  • Selfishness
  • Infidelity
  • Operating like you’re still single

While infidelity can kill a marriage swiftly, most times marriages die a slow, almost imperceptible death.

When neither partner is meeting the needs of their spouse, marriage stalls. 

A negative cycle of neglect results in empty hearts and dry formalities – like that boring kiss on the cheek as you rush out the door to work. 

The failure to meet each other’s needs is often unintentional, but the reaction to unmet needs may develop into intentional hurt.  Couples may begin to react to their pain by hurting their spouse.  If this is the case, it’s time to make a change.  And quick.

Note:  If your marriage has taken a blow because of serious sin in a spouse – adultery, pornography, abuse, addiction – you need “intensive care”.  Serious sin must be dealt with seriously.  This post is for couples whose marriages have drifted into mediocrity through neglect.

Related: 12 Signs you’re in a healthy relationship

Can love be rekindled in marriage?

If your marriage is stalled, here are 10 things you can do to kickstart it:

How do you fall back in love with each other again?

1.Pray together

Whether you feel like it or not.  Praying is one of the most intimate things a couple can do together.  It reveals your deepest thoughts and brings hope for the resolution of conflict in your marriage. 

If you go around in circles when trying to solve problems, stop and pray together. “Lord, we don’t know how to solve this, but thank You that You do. Please lead us so Your solution.”

By doing this you are seeking help from the Master Psychologist.  He knows just how to solve your problem and will guide you to answers.

Continuing praying together reaffirms your commitment to each other and your marriage even though your conflict is unresolved.

Practical Application:  Make a time to pray together as a couple – at least once a day.  Pray specifically for your relationship.

Related: 4 Ways to Develop Spiritual Intimacy with Your Spouse

2. Choose to meet each other’s needs

Whether you feel like it or not. It takes an emotionally mature human being to give with no strings attached. Giving because you are receiving is reactive giving.  Start giving out of choice and not because your needs are being met.

Find out what your spouse’s needs are. Sit yourselves down and have a conversation about your marriage and the needs you each have. Then start meeting those needs.

Practical Application:   Ask your spouse to tell you three things you can do to make him/her feel loved and appreciated.  Let him/her do the same for you.  Then do those things. Do the love language test so you have a better idea of how to meet your spouse’s needs.

3. Commit to the long haul

You’re not going to fix in five minutes what you have spent 10 or 15 years breaking.  Be patient.  Be prepared to work hard at your marriage for a long time. There is no instant solution to the problems you face.  You need  honest communication, hard work from both of you, and a commitment to never leave.

Practical Application:  Verbally confirm your long-term commitment to your spouse.  Tell them you are in this relationship for the long haul. You are not giving up.

4. Change your thinking

Get rid of hopeless thoughts that your marriage is over and that nothing is going to remedy it.  Choose to think positive thoughts about your marriage and your spouse. Thoughts and feelings lead to actions, so begin with changing your thinking.

Practical Application:  Make a list of things you appreciate about your spouse.  Review them daily.  Thank God for them. When you are tempted to focus on the negative in your spouse, go back to your list!

5. Commit to working on yourself first

No one can force change in someone else.  The only person you can change is yourself.  Take ownership of your faults in the relationship and work on being a better spouse.  Pray daily that God will reveal the things you need to change in your relationship – it may be an irritating habit, wrong thought patterns, or a change of attitude.

Practical Application:  Prayerfully make a list and begin working to cultivate opposite traits of character in yourself. Instead of criticism, cultivate affirmation of your spouse, replace irritability with cheerfulness, instead of neglecting household chores, do them at once.

6. Cultivate friendship

Do things you used to do before you were married:

  • Do things together you both enjoy – travel, hobbies, etc
  • Be playful, share jokes – whatever puts a smile on your faces
  • Talk about everything and anything – use the Couple Conversation Starter to help you.

Practical Application: Plan regular fun activities for yourselves as a couple, but be open to the spontaneous moments as well. Have a pillow fight, sit outside under the stars and talk, cook together. If one of you is more original, then take the lead and plan some fun activities.

7. Improve your communication

Learn to be vulnerable even if it feels a little scary (provided it is safe to do so, and you are not in an abusive relationship).

Improve your communication skills – which include both expressing yourself well and listening well.

Related: 8 Ways to build trust in relationships

Practical Application: Plan a couple talk time and practice your communication skills.

Related: 14 Things Not to do When You’re in a “Fight”

8. Forgive

Honest conversations about past hurts, apologising, and then choosing to forgive, will free your relationship from resentment. Once these blockages to intimacy are removed your relationship will be free to grow again.

Practical Application: Be brave and make an appointment with your spouse to have a difficult conversation.

Related: What forgiveness is and what it is not

9. Make time for your relationship

There’s a myth that says quality time is all that’s needed for great relationships. But the reality is that quality time happens within quantity time.

Those special moments – memories made, jokes shared, heartfelt conversations – usually happen in an unplanned context. They pop up unexpectedly, but have a lasting effect on the tenor of your relationship.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan special dates. Just make time for both.

Practical Application: Trim your schedule so that you can have more quantity time as a couple. Create space in your life to have time together where you are not actively doing anything – such as sitting outside on a bench or taking a bath together.

10. Touch

In a relationship that’s stalled, sex is often the only time a couple touches. But simple touches outside of the sexual context, will help to rekindle the closeness you once had.

  • Play with each other’s hair
  • Give a head, hand, or foot massage
  • Hold hands
  • Hug for at least 15 seconds
  • Kiss her/his cheek or neck
  • Cuddle on the couch
  • Play the “guess what I wrote on your back” game (did you do that as a child? 🙂 )

Related: 12 Stages of physical intimacy

Related: How to Reignite the Passion in your Marriage

God intended marriage to be a place of safety, companionship, friendship, fun, passion, and growth.

If your marriage has lost it’s light, be intentional about getting it back. Don’t settle for mediocre.

Is your relationship stalled?  Have you settled for mediocre?  What’s the most important thing in this list for you to do? 

About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer has three grown kids and is married to her best friend, Richard. She started this website as a platform to help families, and specifically women, to become the best version of themselves by growing spiritually, getting emotionally healthy, improving their marriages, and learning parenting skills. She has diplomas in relationship counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), and is a certified SYMBIS (Save Your Marriage Before It Starts) facilitator. She lives in sunny South Africa.

1 COMMENT

  1. 14 Signs Your Marriage May Be in Trouble - Love More to Live | 4th Mar 20

    […] 5 Simple Ways to Pull Your Marriage Out of A Stall for ideas on how to get […]

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