While most marriages begin with feelings of happiness and elation at embarking upon a journey through life together, these feelings spouses have for each other can fade over time. As the spouses become focused on raising kids and furthering careers, they lose focus on nurturing their love for each other. As a result, the marriage becomes stale and predictable. Communication and intimacy decrease while time spent apart increases, weakening their bond until eventually the marriage becomes entirely loveless.
When one or both individuals in a marriage feel they are not being listened to, or their opinions and comments are not valued, they stop expressing themselves and internalise their feelings. This leads to a breakdown of communication within the marriage and becomes a source of frustration for both spouses. When communication finally does occur, it often escalates into arguments, further increasing the frustration both spouses feel toward one another and their marriage overall.
Lots of Time Spent Apart
Once arguing becomes the central method of communication in a relationship, spouses avoid each other to minimise the chances of engaging in further arguments. Friends provide welcome distractions as well as emotional outlets and confidants, and a large amount of time is spent going out with them or staying at their place. As a result, spouses see each other less and less, contributing to a further breakdown in the relationship.
Amid the frustration of constant arguments and lack of time spent together, a further sign of a loveless marriage is evident in the lack of intimacy between spouses. Small signs of affection such as holding hands and kissing quickly vanish. Sexual desire for one another also vanishes because it feeds from emotional intimacy, which is one of the first casualties of a strained marital relationship. Spouses sometimes even opt to sleep in separate beds or different parts of their residence.
It is common for both spouses to lead busy lives in the workplace as well as at home, and during the workweek, the only period a married couple might have to spend together is mealtime, especially dinner. Where dinners together could have been a sacred ritual during the happier days of the marriage, unhappy couples make excuses to skip this time and minimise face-to-face contact with each other.
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- "Screamfree Marriage: Calming Down, Growing Up, and Getting Closer"; Hal Edward Runkel; 2011
- "The Complete Marriage Counselor Relationship-Saving Advice from America's Top 50+ Couples Therapists"; Sherry Amatenstein; 2010
- "The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today"; Andrew J. Cherlin; 2010