Inadvertent Behaviors That Might Lead To Emotional Detachment In A Marriage And Ways To Fix Them

Date November 17, 2017

The wedding day is one of the happiest and most romantic days of our lives. Unfortunately, sooner or later, the majority of couples are faced with all kinds of challenges in their relationships, which slowly but steadily lead them to become emotionally detached. Sometimes, it happens without any notice, and when they finally realize it, it might be too late for their marriage to survive. Here are some of the destructive behaviors, which increase the distance between the partners, and some ways to solve these problems.

Taking your partner for granted

It’s not a good idea to postpone reconnecting with the spouse for later, “when kids are older”. Very often, when children leave for college, many couples wake up to the realization they don’t recognize the person they have been living with all these years.

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Dr. Anjali Bhagra, an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, suggests practicing two minutes of gratitude in the early morning. Dedicate those minutes to appreciating everything that you have. Then, don’t criticize anyone in the first two minutes in the evening. She says:

It'll create a closer connection between the two of you, because just like mom always said—it's the thought that counts.

Constantly criticizing

Permanent nagging is a relationship killer. And resorting to personal insults is the last thing we want in our relationship as it seriously damages self-esteem of our partners. Guy Winch, Ph.D., psychologist, and author of Emotional First Aid says:

I'm not disputing that your spouse might be annoying. But there has to be a balance of negative to positive things you say.

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It pushes our partners away from us, launching a vicious circle. Finding a balance of 80% positive and only 20% negative might be helpful. It means that for every critical remark, there should be five nice things to say about your spouse.  

Not bothering to fight anymore

Even though fighting and conflicts are considered to be a negative tendency in a marriage, in reality, they could be a wonderful source for taking the relationship to the next level and bonding. On the other hand, giving up on fighting usually means we’ve given up on investing energy into our relationship and have become emotionally detached. Diane Gehart, a professor of marriage and family therapy at California State University, explains:

Fights can lead to greater intimacy if the couple processes the fight and repairs the relationship,

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Avoiding conflicts is not an option: embracing them and solving the problems is a way of reconnecting again.

Treating the spouse as a kid

Being a mother easily sticks to our behavior, doesn’t it? However, being a parent to an adult person only results in them either becoming even less responsible or leads to more aggression. Kathy McMahon, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and president of Couples Therapy Inc., says:

Your spouse is capable of deciding how to live his/her own life. If he/she is repeatedly doing something that makes you upset, figure out why it bothers you and then talk about it, rather than trying to 'correct' or punish like you would your children.

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Bringing outside stress into the relationship

We are not responsible for having negative emotions, but we are responsible for our actions that come from these emotions. Gary Lewandowski Jr., Ph.D., co-founder of Science of Relationships, says:

You stop caring as much about anyone else. The focus is on your plight of excessive demand and inefficient resources.

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There is no doubt that everyone is tired and stressed from work deadlines or problems with kids, but it is our responsibility not to become aggressive or insulting to our spouses because someone else stresses us out. It’s a good idea to nip it in the bud and think of a safe and fun way to relieve stress, such as engaging in any sports activities or mastering meditation techniques.

Skipping going out

According to the therapist Jane Greer, forgetting about romantic dinners and getting stuck in the routine is not good at all for your relationship. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something fancy, but spending time together with your spouse is a great way to relax and remember what it was like when you were just dating.

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These small yet significant things are pieces of one big puzzle that comprise this whole marriage thing. Putting them right in their places will secure your marriage’s bright and stable future.

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