Recognizing and Reviving an Apathetic Marriage

Somewhere between the honeymoon and divorce court is an apathetic marriage. The word apathetic is defined as “feeling or showing a lack of interest or concern; indifferent.” Basically, take a relationship where the couple feels like they are just roommates, then take it one step closer to the attorney’s office. It’s a dangerous place to be, but all hope is not lost.

The third year of marriage was probably the toughest for my wife and I (we won’t even talk about our first year; it will be a future blog called “What the Heck Just Happened”). We just had our first child, and I recently changed careers. So she was physically and mentally exhausted… and I had a new career. Actually, we were both tired and stressed through it all. She worked 12 hour shifts every other weekend, and I had a new career (did I already mention that?).

Then before we even realized it, BAM, we were roommates. We both had just enough energy to devote to our new roles as parents and virtually none to invest in each other. We had the typical fights with her saying that at least I got to get out of the house every day and talk to adults, and me saying I wish I got to stay home every day. Pretty sure that is a “conversation” almost all new parents have.

For us, we were still in love (the feeling) but had stopped loving (the verb) each other.

Signs of an Apathetic Marriage

  • No longer arguing
    You not only see the subject as “not worth it” but also see the person as “not worth it.”
  • No longer dating
    You do your own things with no effort towards mutual interests.
  • No longer making decisions together
    Consulting with the other just doesn’t seem necessary.
  • No longer having sex
    Explanation not necessary, right?

The Solution

You may drift into apathy, but you are going to have to row a little to get out of it. Pride will certainly try to convince you that YOU have been wronged and are the victim. Someone has to make the first move, and I believe that 99% of the time it should be the man. However, men have about a 1% chance of continuing to make an effort if their efforts aren’t noticed and reciprocated almost immediately. Sorry, that’s just how we are.

You have three choices in marriage: work hard to have a great one, do nothing and drift apart, or get divorced. Some could argue that option one and three both result in happiness, but I don’t think anyone would say that option two is a very good place to be.

“In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.” – Robert Anderson

Start dating again
Your spouse, start dating your spouse again. Try to have a “date night” (without kids) at least every 2-3 weeks. It may be expensive, but it’s cheaper than a divorce. Start with pursuing mutual interests.

5 for 5
I can’t remember where I heard this, but it is talking for 5 minutes within 5 feet of each other.  This gives you time to actually find out how their day was and start to take an interest in their needs.

Read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
If your love language is “Respect” and hers is “Romance” then you are speaking different languages.  You are probably trying to show her respect (since that is how YOU feel loved) and she is being romantic (because that is how SHE feels loved). You have to speak what they NEED to hear. If you’ve already read it, read it again. Check out this link.

Have sex daily for a week
I just added that one in case my wife reads this. If you know her, go ahead and share this with her via FB. Seriously though, we all know this could help. Not the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind, but the honeymoon kind. Follow it up with a chocolate milkshake from Whataburger…trust me.

Stay Up to Date

Shawn Albright Written by:

Shawn Albright is a husband, father, sales trainer and blogger. He writes about life in his 30's with discussions about discovering purpose, the difficulties of marriage and parenting, financial worries, career path, health, spirituality and more. Check out his blog, 30ish and Confused.

Be First to Comment

    What do you think?