“I need to talk to you. I have a problem.”

Following a workshop I gave on love and marriage, a woman approached me.

“Here I am 25 years later and I think I married the wrong man.”

“Wow, that is a problem,” I replied. “Let me ask you something. Is your husband kind to you? Is he good with your children? Does he provide? Is he respectful?”

I continued to give her a list of qualities I knew to be important for marriage to thrive. She nodded yes to each one.

There was a moment of silence and then she said, “You know, he really is a good guy! I think I’ve forgotten that.”

I told her to make a list of all the wonderful traits her husband has and to look at that list from time to time to remind herself of our conversation.

“Nobody's perfect, that’s for sure. But when we live with someone for a while, especially a spouse, it’s easy to take their positives for granted and then we only focus on that which drives us crazy. We can make the choice to focus on their virtues."

What Happened?

Many women cry at weddings and I wonder if sometimes we are crying for lost hopes and dreams. We don’t always understand or choose the challenges and struggles we face. Stress takes a hard toll on the relationship.

We also stop doing the things that keep us bonded and energize the marriage.

We stop asking questions and start assuming we know the answer.

We stop being curious about our spouse's thoughts and visions.

We stop sharing.

We stop listening.

We stop speaking kindly.

We stop communicating beyond problems and bills.

We stop expressing gratitude and start expecting automatically.

We stop trying to win our spouse over.

We stop putting in the work needed to keep our love alive.

We stop spending intimate time together.

We stop expressing our love.

Is it possible to change?

Of course it is. But we cannot expect our spouse to be the one to make the change. After a woman told me that she found her spouse boring after 10 years of marriage, I asked what she did to make her marriage more exciting.

She looked at me blankly.

If we are feeling dull than what can we do to make the relationship more intriguing?

Don’t wait for your spouse to plan an evening out. You be the one to create a thrilling experience! There are so many ways to light a fire in your relationship. Don’t go to the ‘same old same old’ place you’ve gone to for the past five years. Try a first date again.

And no phones allowed (only for true emergencies). No talking about kids or problems. What’s left to speak about? Now you know where your work lies. Remember when you used to share thoughts and dreams?

Regain romance. Seek out the little actions that have somehow fallen away with time. You’d be surprised how small moments make a big difference.

Use loving words again. Text your spouse an adoring message ‘just because’. Take a moment and look into each other’s eyes, then choose one nice compliment to give your spouse. "I love the way you….”

You will start to see a change when you put on your ‘love lens’ once again. Human nature takes us on a path of blaming, complaining and disconnect. Husband and wife must fight the urge to overlook the good and coax back closeness and connection.

There is one more important point for us to remember.

This also came from a conversation I had with a woman after a class. She told me that she feels uninspired in her marriage because she and her husband have totally different interests. “I love exciting trips, daring activities and going out till late in the night. He just likes to do calm things even when we’re on vacation. I know that he’s a super nice guy but we really don't enjoy the same things. Why can’t he do more of the stuff I like to do?”

Just because you and your spouse do not have the same idea of fun doesn't mean you don't belong together.

“Stop trying to change your husband,” I told her. And the same goes for men – stop trying to change your wife. Sure, it's great when you both love to go skiing or bike riding together. But there is a reason that opposites attract. God wished for us to complement each other’s lives, to learn from one another. We then complete each other.

It's not necessary for both husband and wife to do the same thing all the time. It is necessary to allow your spouse to enjoy their hobbies and time without derision and put downs. Instead of thinking that you both must be exactly the same, ask how you could learn a new perspective from your spouse. If you never enjoyed calm, breathe and take advantage of the peace you feel from stillness. If you don’t like to stay out late, choose a time to go beyond your comfort zone. But know that ultimately it is your differences that keep your relationship balanced.

Don’t try to transform your spouse. Instead transform the way you look at your spouse. Respect your differences. Allow for individual likes and tastes.

And enjoy falling in love again.