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How to Revive a Stale Marriage

These tips for reviving a dry, stale marriage are inspired by a husband who wants to reconnect with his wife, but fears his marriage is over.

“I have been involved in a affair for nearly 9 months,” says J. on How to Let Go of Someone You Love. “I ended it about 6 weeks ago. I am the married man who found love with someone nearly half my age. I was 39 and she was 20 when we met.”

He started the affair because love and intimacy in his marriage became stale. Are you in the same boat – affair or not? Read How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. It’s a great resource for married couples, and might help you save your marriage. It got excellent reviews on Amazon.

Here are my tips for love gone cold. I’ve also included more of J’s story, because it shows why men cheat on their wives.

4 Tips for Reviving a Stale Marriage

“I found myself falling in love with this woman and fulfilling things that were missing in my marriage. Something I was not prepared for. I have been married for 14 years and have grown apart from my wife. We don’t hate each other, we just became stale in our love and intimacy. Something I don’t know if will ever be restored after my betrayal.”

Realize your marriage has reached a crisis point

An affair – especially one that involves feelings of strong love and attachment to the other woman – is an obvious sign of a failing marriage. It’s rock bottom, or very close. An affair means you need to go beyond simply reviving a stale marriage or applying tips for love gone cold.

An affair means you need serious marriage help, from a counselor or marriage therapist. And, you may need help figuring out how to stop cheating on your spouse.

Remember that the grass is always greener on the other side

“I ended the affair to try and sort things out,” says J. “And, maybe see if there was something left in the tank with my marriage. I still love this other person and can’t stop thinking about her. I think about her in my dreams, morning, day and night. I think about the good and bad. I have tried to use the bad to get over her but it’s not working.”

He can’t stop obsessing about his girlfriend because he thinks life will be better with her. He doesn’t realize that in 14 years (or less), he’ll be in exactly the same boat. He’s on the romantic sexy high of forbidden love, and he’s comparing it to a long-term marriage that has gone stale.

He doesn’t realize that he’s obsessing about an ideal…not a real woman. If he lived with her, he’d be singing a different song.

Image by Cornelia Kopp, via flickr

Find common ground – the reasons you fell in love

What bonds you to your wife, after 14 years of marriage? I’ve only been married for six years (known him for 20), but we’ve got heaps of memories, experiences, and history together. I think growing apart can easily happen to married couples; the trick is to find and stay on the common ground that brought you together. Sometimes reviving a stale marriage means learning How to Motivate a Lazy Husband.

Reviving a stale marriage isn’t as easy as finding common ground, but it’s as good a place as any to start.

Create ways to keep your marriage fresh and interesting

When was the last time you did something fun and exciting with your spouse? It doesn’t have to be an adventure vacation or a romantic trip toParis! We take our dog to the off leash dog park, and find ourselves wearing permi-grins for the whole time. It’s fun. It’s fresh for us – we’ve only had the dog for six weeks.

Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.

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To revive a stale marriage, you need to overcome the feelings of emotional disconnection. For tips, read When You Feel Alone in Your Marriage – Emotional Disconnection.

5 thoughts on “How to Revive a Stale Marriage”

  1. Sassy, thanks for your thoughts on marriage! I agree, that selfishness seems to be at the root of so many relationship problems. My husband and I are taking a marriage course, and on the first night we learned how important it is to listen and care for our spouses.

  2. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on marital problems.. and one thing that I’ve noticed that soo many of the problems arise from selfishness. It seems to be a recurring theme of everyone looking out solely for themselves in the relationship….the “what’s in it for me”… However, a marriage is a commitment to another person, not a commitment to oneself! I strongly believe that if we would all love our mates unselfishly, there would be fewer divorces. I am posting this because I, myself, have been stuck in the “what’s in it for me” mode for awhile, and have started noticing the effect that it has on my marriage. I have now committed myself to thinking more of my spouse and less of my ideas of how things hsould be and going from here..

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Jason,

    I hope you are doing well these days, and that you’ve been successful in reviving your marriage!

    Most couples who get married don’t realize that marriage really is hard work, and we seem to naturally grow apart. It takes a lot of time and energy to stay connected, especially when you throw in the stress of work, children, finances, sex, health issues, and family dynamics!

    I think the most important thing to remember is that you’re on each other’s sides. You’re on the same team – and you don’t want to live in a stale marriage or have a cold love life!


  4. Laurie, Thank you for the article, I have not been with my affair partner since I last commented, but still think about her daily. My wife knows of the affair full right and is committed working it out, but I don’t know if I have in me to continue. She says she still loves me and I love her, but I am not in love with her and am finding it hard to connect. I have been in counseling to help sort out my feelings, thoughts and I am having a hard time with where I want to be. See the picture used to be in one hand my “wife” and in the other hand my “lover”. I have discovered that there is a third hand and in that hand its just “me”. I am having more thoughts of being on my own. I realize that it will be hard financially and emotionally! We have 3 great kids that I love more than anything in this world and the thought of them not in my life daily scares me. I just feel for the 14 yrs of marriage and 20 yrs of being together I have not been me and have done things for everyone else but me. I was the bread winner in our relationship early on and supported my wife in many things including her finishing her degree and recently her online course that lasted almost 2 yrs. She took on a lot other extracurricular activities that I supported as well. I was envious of her too. Maybe jealous somewhat. I traveled a lot with my job which made it hard for me to engage in other things. There are many more things I can share that speak to things in our marriage that have effected us growing apart such as we were very young and haven’t had the life experiences most have before they get married, point is I am not sure if I can go back to a marriage where I will eventually feel the same way. Sure some things will and have changed but I am not confident that the changes will stay the course. I am searching to be honest and true to my feelings which I haven’t been able to do in my entire marriage thus far. I do understand this is life sometimes, but I think the affair woke me up from a deep sleep and as I look around I don’t know where to go.

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