Do you feel that “in love” feeling with your spouse is fading? Would you like to fall back in love again in your marriage by relighting that flame? Well you can! To help learn how you can fall back in love again in with your spouse, I have interviewed psychologist Dr. Aimee Vadnais.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am both a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice located in San Diego, California. My doctoral research was on marital satisfaction and emotional intelligence. I am a certified Prepare/Enrich counselor, providing premarital counseling and education, as well as marital counseling and education. Additionally, I am the Director of the MA in Clinical Psychology Program at Azusa Pacific University’s San Diego campus. I am happily married to an emotionally intelligent husband and a proud mother of a son.”
How do one or two people in a marriage fall out of love?
“While beginning relationships can be very exciting and passionate, long-term relationships can lose their sparks with time. Many marriages start out with couples reporting being infatuated with one another but as time progresses, they start to fall out of love with one another. Many of these couples only see the positives in the relationship and either don’t look for or ignore any negatives. This is really a misconstrued reality because the couples aren’t seeing the real picture. However, once they get married, things can change if couples entered into the relationship with blinders on. They then begin to see the negative aspects of the person and focus on these, rather than the positive ones that they used to see during their courtship.”
“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “In 2008, it was estimated that 40% of all marriages ended in divorce and, on average, first marriages that end in divorce last about eight years.” While marriage can be a wonderful experience for some couples, other couples experience additional stressors during their marriages which reduce their overall satisfaction levels, such a mortgages, child rearing, job loss or change, difficulties with role negotiations, financial difficulties, and/or personal problems, like addiction or depression. These stressors can cause marital strain on the relationship and couples can begin to grow apart rather than continue to grow together. Many couples choose to give up on the relationship rather than stick through it during these difficult times.”
What type of impact can falling out of love have on each spouse?
“Sometimes couples are not even aware that they are falling out of love with one another because they have become so accustom to the routines that they have created to make life work. They are too busy juggling careers, kids, and extracurricular activities to notice that they don’t have any time left for them, the couple. Other times, it is the presence of a third party that makes someone in the couple realize that the romantic part of the relationship is weak or totally dead. This can have extremely difficult repercussions for a couple, especially if it causes one person in the relationship to have an affair or another one to become depressed or withdrawn. It can also cause anger, blame, and resentment if one person is still trying to make the relationship work and the other has “checked out.” Lastly, it can cause one or both people to feel a sense of failure about the relationship, or of themselves or each other.”
How can someone fall back in love with his or her spouse?
“I am a firm believer that each and every day, you have to renew your commitment to your spouse and to your marriage. Many couples put themselves first, rather than the relationship. We are living in an individualistic society, but marriage really is not an individualistic concept. One of the things that I see most in unhappy couples is that they stop appreciating each other, not the big things, but the little everyday things. Once you start taking these little things for granted and you stop recognizing the positive impacts that your spouse makes in your life, the relationship can go downhill quickly. Therefore, I try to get couples to stop and recognize the little, everyday things that their spouse does for them and then verbally acknowledge to their spouse that they appreciate it. In a sense, you are trying to catch your spouse doing the good things (maximizing the positives) rather than watching for and criticizing the things your spouse is doing wrong (minimizing the negative). This seems like a simple solution, but you would be amazed how hard it is for couples to put this into practice. Really, it is about changing yourself and your perspective rather than changing the other person. Once you can change the way you think about your spouse and your relationship, you will start to recognize things in and about your spouse that might relight the flame in your relationship.”
“I also think it is important to laugh together at life, to go out on date nights without the kids, and to find common hobbies that you can do together. Having a connection with other married couples or being in married group through your church or temple can also be resourceful and help you connect with other people going through similar circumstances. It is really important that couples don’t lose sight of the fact that most relationships have periods with waxes and wanes, and not to give up during a valley period. If you hang in there, the relationship usually will begin to peak again with time (barring unhealthy or abusive relationships).”
What last advice would you like to leave for someone who wants to fall back in love with his or her spouse?
Hang in there and do your best each and every day to show love and allow yourself to be loved in return. Put your marriage first and do things to make it thrive, even if that means making personal sacrifices along the way. Remember that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Thank you Dr. Vadnais for the interview on how to fall back in love with your spouse. For more information on Dr. Aimee Vadnais check out her website on www.cvpsych.com.
Sratling, Cassandra (9 June 2009). “Blended families can overcome daunting odds”. Burlington, Vermont: Burlington Free Press. pp. 9A.
^ a b c “Census Bureau Reports”.
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