Tips on How To Save An Affection-Starved Marriage and Keep Your Relationship Happy
Affection can be one of the first things to go after children are born or when a marriage
is in trouble. BUT it doesn’t have to mean something serious and it can be naturally restored as I will go on to explain.
Why after children? Hundreds of couples have shared with me that the affection they used to give to each other over time has been transferred to their children. Whilst this can easily happen couples without children can go through periods of lack of affection too.
Affection for many people is what makes a relationship a relationship.
If you are craving affection in your marriage right now and are longing to be hugged, kissed, or given affection through caring words or “I love you” message – you are not alone. Thousands if not millions of couples may find themselves longing to be desired and cherished and this is often because of bad advice that never works.
If you are upset about a lack of affection in your marriage you may be feeling lonely, ignored, unimportant and unloved. You may have started to see you husband or wife as distant, cold, self-centred or only interested in the children.
If this is happening in your relationship right now, read on as I will tell you what works and what doesn’t when it comes to saving a marriage from a lack of affection.
Marriage Counsellors or well-meaning friends may tell you to have a serious discussion with your spouse telling them that the lack of affection is bothering you.
This relationship advice presumes that your spouse did not know that you like affection or forgot all of a sudden!
Or that maybe they did not realise that they were not showing you affection and somehow didn’t notice it.
But telling your husband or wife to be more affectionate never works, perhaps you already know that from trying it in your own relationship.
If anything, it can drive your husband or wife further away.
Having had this issue come up hundreds of times in the couples I’ve supported over the years I know what works and what doesn’t.
So here are a few of my tips on saving a marriage from a lack of affection.
RELATIONSHIP ADVICE TIP – 1 STOP BRINGING IT UP
Talking about it (even if only occasionally will not get your husband or wife to change. Yet many relationship counselors may advise telling your spouse ” You are not being affectionate”
It doesn’t matter whether you beg, demand, joke, it never, ever works long-term or feel good.
Of course your husband or wife may do it when you have told them to, but if you have ever asked for affection and been given it on demand you know what I am talking about when I say -it feels horrible!
It used to make me feel more lonely when my boyfriend hugged or kissed me because I pressurised them too. You want your spouse to be affectionate towards you because he or she wants to.
It reminds me of how I used to be around my Nan when I was young, she would always hold our face in her hands and demand kisses and cuddles, when we wanted to just say hi and run into her back garden and play. It felt forced. Just like when your mum would want to kiss you goodbye in front of your friends before school.
If you are upset about a lack of affection, then really you are longing to be desired.
By ordering affection you may notice in your spouse a reluctance to be affectionate with you.
AND when you notice that it HURTS.
I used to ask myself the DREADFUL question “What’s wrong with me!?!” or “Why am I so needy?”
Begging for affection feels terrible!
Even if your man or woman comply!
So my advice is DONT DO IT!
It harms you and makes them run a mile.
Stop listening to the advice that tells you to complain and INSTEAD see his or her lack of affection as a sign that perhaps they are not feeling loved either.
EVEN if you are being affectionate toward them – affection may not be big on their list of the ways they feel loved. There are 15 emotional needs I cover in my programs and affection is only one of them. Perhaps they need support in other areas, want love shown in a different way or are resisting control.
Instead of telling them what to do or getting upset about something you cannot control (their behaviour) practice making them happy and showing them love in different ways, for example through appreciation, respect, space, thoughtful gestures or gifts, these are a few of the 15 emotional needs.
RELATIONSHIP ADVICE TIP – 2 AVOID THE LACK OF SEX AND AFFECTION TRAP
The Secret of How to Keep Your Marriage Happy
Dan (name changed) shared with me in an online consultation that he is not having sex as much as he’d like to, barely at all in fact and he was feeling frustrated about it. He complained that his wife is never in the mood and after being turned down, he no longer bothered to make the effort. “I stopped trying all together Nicola, it was hard taking the constant rejection”.
When I spoke to Lisa his wife, she said was fed up with lack of affection; “the only time he kisses or hugs me is when he wants sex. He will come up behind me when I am washing the dishes or watching my favourite TV show and expect me to be all loving after he has ignored me all day. By then anyway, I’m tired and fed up, so there is no way I’m getting intimate.”
This example is so common it comes up almost weekly in my practice. One wants sex and isn’t getting it, so doesn’t feel like being affectionate, the other wants affection and withholds sex until they get it, so it becomes a vicious cycle. Neither is feeling satisfied or close. To break it, one or ideally both need to give first. When couples do that their relationship transforms.
RELATIONSHIP ADVICE TIP – 3 FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL – YOU & YOUR HAPPINESS
In a relationship we can never control how someone acts, as much as we would like to. Controlling behaviour leads to distance, resistance and shutdown.
Instead know that if you focus on being happy, easy going and fun, the flirting and affection will normally follow.
Often when men or women confess to me that they know they have not been affectionate towards their spouse it’s because they are stressed, dealing with a loss of some kind or concerned about the relationship or future. Rather than asking them to change, support them and aim to inspire them by being loving, happy and full of energy and light yourself. By becoming more focused on your own happiness and self-care you will become more attractive and be giving them the space that perhaps they need.
Bottom line, fretting about a lack of affection won’t help you save a marriage or make your marriage more affectionate. So focus on what you can control you and watch the stress release from you both.
I hope something in this article is useful to you.
From my heart to yours, Nicola
Nicola Beer – Relationship Transformation Specialist & Founder of The Save My Marriage Program
P.S Get the FREE Report 7 Secrets to Saving Your Marriage and Learn How to Increase Love, Connection and Happiness as well as How to Overcome Your Marriage Problems
Download your free copy here www.savemymarriageprogram.com/7-secrets/
PP.S Many people as me what is the Save My Marriage Program? It’s a relationship strengthening program designed as an alternative to marriage counselling. Recent case studies show that it’s twice as likely to successfully save and restore a marriage than traditional counselling. The program works well for those who set out to transform their marriage on their own, as well as for couples. It covers how to increase love, respect and trust, improve communication and connection, as well as help you individually to let go of past hurt, resentment or negativity.
It is available as a 10-week online course with full support from me, 1 to 1 online or in person consulting and in 5-star marriage retreats. Designed to keep your marriage happy.
To see if the program could be a fit for you – Book your FREE – SAVE MY MARRIAGE CONSULTATION now www.savemymarriageprogram.com/consult
Nicola Beer is an International Relationship & Divorce Coach who helps her clients find peace and create a new beginning after Marriage Breakdown and Divorce. This includes helping couples on the verge of a breakup to resolve their relationship issues once and for all so that they can revive the love, passion, respect, and fun that's been missing.
As well as helping clients during and after Divorce to manage stress, create more income and adjust to new financial realities, redefine who they are, create a new social life, and when they are ready to attract someone great. Nicola also runs 2 parenting programs that support children through and after divorce
Nicola has combined 11 years' experience helping people with emotional issues. This comprises 7 years private coaching and 4 years as a volunteer for the Samaritans where she supported callers dealing with any emotional distress. She is UK certified in Coaching, Grief Recovery for Adults and Children, NLP, Time Line Therapy, Hypnosis.
Nicola's passion for supporting people before, during and after divorce comes from her own childhood, where due to the stress of divorce her mother suffered a mental breakdown. As 1 of 5 children the divorce was devastating for her family and affected each of her family in different ways. More recently Nicola's older sister with 4 children is going through a difficult divorce. Having experienced and seen the pain and stress associated with divorce Nicola is focused on proving solutions. She knows divorce doesn't have to mean disaster and takes her clients and their children from surviving to thriving. She is equally passionate about saving marriages, so has a program to overcome relationship problems.
Nicola works with expats and locals, Muslims and Non-Muslims from all over the world, mainly from Dubai, London, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, either in person for a 2 day intensive package or further afield US, Australia via video conference and phone.