It’s a common problem: you’re having serious marital problems – usually problems that have been going on for a long time. You’ve got a painful history of fights, broken promises, mistrust, and anger. And now, your partner wants out. They’re done. You want to save the relationship, and you’re looking for an answer to the question: “How do I get my spouse to fall in love again?” Of course, the real question you’re asking is: “How do I get my spouse to stay here long enough for us to fall in love again?” After all, if they don’t stick around, falling back in love isn’t a likely outcome.
If you’re at the place where you feel like your spouse has fallen out of love with you, the first question to ask is, “How did we get here?” The answers, of course, are rarely easy, but generally couples who have a long history of fighting and unhappiness have lots of reasons why the other person is to blame. I rarely hear people start out talking about what they could have done better in the relationship – it’s always about what their spouse should be doing differently.
Turning the Spotlight on Yourself
So when answering the “how did we get here” question, I encourage you to begin by considering every possible way in which you have contributed to the problem. Every time you disappointed your spouse, every time you spoke harshly, all the times you fought unfairly. This process is not about placing all the blame on you. Instead, the purpose is to stop blaming your spouse and start owning up to your role in the marital problems.
It’s hard for us to look at ourselves honestly and recognize our contribution to a given problem. Ideally, you’d both complete this inventory and consider your responsibility, but if your spouse has one foot out the door, you may have to take the first step. Taking responsibility gives your spouse the signal that you’re no longer interested in doing things the same way. That doesn’t mean you’ll convince him or her to stay, but at least you’ll have made a move to change the dynamic in your relationship.
Therapy May be the Answer
Ultimately, if your relationship has become toxic enough that one or both of you is no longer in love with the other, very likely the best course of action will be to seek out a qualified couples therapist who can help you navigate the process of putting your relationship back together. Very few couples succeed at doing this work on their own. The help of a professional gives you access to additional tools, an independent third party, and the expertise of someone who truly understands the principles of good relationships.
If you need help finding and choosing a couples therapist, read my article on this topic. You can also search for therapists on PsychologyToday.com or GoodTherapy.org. Another great resource is Facebook. Search for couples therapists in your area and visit their Facebook pages to see if you like what they have to say and to get their perspective.