By Cindi McMenamin, Crosswalk.com
Are you finding yourself not so attracted to your spouse these days?
Time can do that to any of us. Familiarity breeds contempt. Before you know it, you’re in a routine, and the sparks just aren’t flying anymore. Sometimes it’s because you (or your spouse) have changed, one or both of you have developed different interests, or there’s baggage between the two of you that has affected how you see one another.
When you and your spouse said “I do,” you were most likely committing yourselves to each other ’til death do you part,’ not until the feelings changed or one of you no longer found the other attractive. That can sometimes make one or both of us slack off a little when it comes to maintaining our attractiveness. But insisting your spouse do something so they’ll be more attractive to you often doesn’t work. It can tend to add more resistance or wounds to the picture. So, be the agent of change in your marriage and commit to doing what you can to bring back that spark.
Here are seven things to do when you’re not attracted to your spouse anymore.
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1. Thank God for Your Spouse – Daily
During the first four years of my marriage, my husband could do no wrong. Looking back now, was he really that perfect? No. But I was daily thanking God for my new husband during the one-hour commute to my job and back the first four years we were married. That daily awareness of my husband as a gift I needed to be thankful for completely affected how I saw him day in and day out. And it also made me more excited to see him when I arrived home.
After I had a child and quit commuting to work, my prayer time lessened, and so did my focus on my husband as a gift. But the day I started thanking God for him again (back when I knew something had to change for our relationship to improve) is the day my perspective returned to that of a new bride.
Gratitude does something powerful to our attitude and perspective. Perhaps that’s why Scripture says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV). No matter what your spouse looks like or how you feel toward them, start thanking God for them regularly, and you may begin to see them differently and more attractively.
2. Focus on the Qualities that First Attracted You to Your Spouse
Admit it. Certain things about your spouse turned your head and impressed you when the two of you first met. Maybe it was their laugh, their love for God, their positive outlook on life, or the special way they treated you. Look for those once attractive attributes in your spouse and begin to focus on them. If you’re having trouble finding them right now, look for the other things your spouse is doing right. Is he or she extremely loyal? Are they dependable? Regularly on time? Are they great with the kids or grandkids?
Start looking for what you appreciate about your spouse and dwell there. What you focus on will grow. As Philippians 4:8 instructs, let your mind think on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable” in your spouse. “If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” We often tell ourselves what to think, so we can start telling ourselves once again what is attractive in the one we chose to marry.
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3. Praise Their Qualities Aloud
Do you realize the more we say something, the more we’ll believe it? People deceive themselves all the time by uttering lies aloud or simply telling themselves things that aren’t true and then believing them: He must not like me anymore. She’s not interested in me like she used to be. He’s so disconnected. She believes she can do better than me. Stop the negative mind chatter (or verbal chatter with others) and start telling yourself and others what a loyal, dependable, talented, or funny spouse you have. The more you say it and hear yourself say it, the more you will believe it. Again, what we focus on grows.
In Psalm 42:5, the songwriter was in a funk and didn’t know why: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” (verse 5). So the Psalmist did something we all need to do when our minds start heading down an unhealthy path. He told himself what to think: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.”
Try this tactic if you are finding your spouse unattractive and you don’t know why. Verbally say aloud, “This is the best spouse I could ever have” or “This man is God’s wonderful gift to me” or “This woman is the most beautiful woman in the world in my heart and eyes.” Tell yourself you are still attracted to your spouse and get rid of your negative, critical, or just complacent thinking.
4. Seek to Be More Attractive to Them
Sometimes it works both ways. You’re just not attracted to him anymore because he’s put on some weight and doesn’t look any more like the hot dude you married. And while you may be hitting the gym three times a week and doing what you can to stay in shape, he may have lost a little of that attraction toward you because of a tone he’s heard, a controlling nature that creeps up now and then, or simply because you’ve stopped being the girl you once were. We all change after marriage. We all become lazier when it comes to being on our best behavior and best appearance. While our attractiveness to each other should never be based upon physical appearance alone, the reality is that both sexes still tend to be attracted to what we see and how the other makes us feel.
So what can you do to make sure you are still the person he or she fell in love with? As you seek to bring back the girl or guy you once were (someone more flirty, adventurous, humorous, or considerate?), then you may cause your spouse to remember the way he or she was and want to do the same for you. Remember, more of the same doesn’t mean change. So, if the dynamic needs to change, then change the dynamic by doing something differently.
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5. Try Something New Together
As the interests you once shared begin to wane, it’s essential to have other shared interests to take their place. Get a pet to raise together if your lives revolved around the kids and they’re grown now. Better yet, set some goals (like writing a bucket list together?) and start trying new things together, instead of separately. Many couples I know started swing or line-dancing lessons, took art classes, or decided to start hiking trails together. Invest in exercising together or making a list of the museums you’d like to visit or cultural experiences you’d like to share.
You may find that the two things you enjoy doing together later in life are more fun and fulfilling than the activities you enjoyed when you both started out in marriage. A counseling couple I know calls this “discovering your us.” What can the two of you do together that one or both of you were never really interested in doing alone? You may find that brings you back to a place where you are once again attracted to your spouse.
6. Pray for Your Spouse’s Heart
Do you realize your heart softens for those you pray for? If you truly love your spouse and just don’t find them attractive anymore, pray for their spiritual life, health habits, attitude, and peace of mind. Pray that they will find joy. Pray that they will once again be the person you fell in love with because if they’re grumpy and that’s why they’re not attractive to you, then they are not very happy right now either. Pray that God will give them back their spark. Mostly pray that your spouse will love God more than any other, and it will produce joy in their life. Psalm 16:8 says, “In His presence is fullness of joy.” And a joyful person is one whom others – and hopefully you again – often find attractive.
Also, the more you pray for your spouse, the more your heart will be invested in your marriage, and the more God can do the work in you to cause you to find your spouse attractive once again.
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7. Pray for Your Own Heart - and for Eyes to See Your Spouse as God Does
You were clearly once attracted to your spouse, either emotionally, physically, or both. Therefore, you may need to pray for eyes to see them that way again, without the annoying habits, without the added pounds, without that surly tone that has been surfacing lately. You certainly want your spouse to see YOU the way you once were, so extend grace and do the same for your husband or wife. Or, if there have been some positive changes in your spouse that you haven’t noticed, ask God for the ability to see your spouse through new eyes – forgiving eyes, eyes that don’t revert back to those things about them that drive you crazy or the things your spouse has done in the past that have hurt you.
God loves us unconditionally, and in His Word, He promises to remove our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west. Do you have that kind of love and forgiveness for your spouse? If not, ask for the heart and eyes to see your spouse as God does – unconditionally loved, fully redeemed, and new in Christ. With that kind of love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:8, NASB), there is no room for betrayal, bitterness, separation, or divorce – only love for our spouse as God loves us.
For more on strengthening your marriage, see Cindi’s books, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, and When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection.
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