We've Got No Spark!

Q: My husband and I dated for three years before we got married. I'm 29 now, and we'll be celebrating our second anniversary shortly. But we are not happy. He told me I was more his friend than his wife and that we are living two separate lives. Now he wants to try and rekindle whatever was there before. How do I do that? He never talks to me and says he just wants me to leave him alone. And there are so many more issues.... Am I just postponing the inevitable here??? -- Donna

Dr. Susan: Divorce is rarely inevitable, but it's normal and inevitable to feel less "head-over-heels" excited about one another after the early years of a relationship. The problem here is that you're getting mixed messages from your husband. Or rather, the message isn't mixed at all: he's saying it's your job to fix what's wrong and to rekindle his loving feelings. You can't do it all alone.

You can take some initiative though. Find out more specifically what he's missing. Is it sex? Is it the passion you both used to feel when having sex? Some couples find it helpful to regularly devote a couple hours a week to one another, by going on a kind of date where you promise to listen to one another and take each other's conversation seriously. He owes you that. Persist in finding out how the two of you can attack the problem. When a young married man says his wife is more like a roommate, it often means that sex has become less frequent. If so, are you willing to make more sexual overtures to him, as well as going along with his desires even when it wasn't your idea?

As for the "two separate lives" issue, both of you need to reevaluate what you want out of life and marriage. You'll feel closer to one another if you take on a large project, learn a new skill, or plan a vacation together. It's easy to drift. It takes a conscious decision to make staying close a priority. Divorce won't solve anything -- you'll both simply go through this same process with other partners, over and over again. You also mention "many more issues." You owe it to your futures to read about what makes a so-so marriage better, and to discuss all those "issues" in depth with one another, a wise friend, or a counselor.

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