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Advice on Problems After Many Years of Marriage

relationship problems

Once a marriage has passed the initial passionate period, it can become stale. This can be a huge problem for married couples, especially those that have a lot of years under their belt. Whether you have been married for 6 years or 20, the advice you find here from our dating coach can show you how to spice your relationship back up.

Stale Marriage Problems After 5 Years or Even 20 Years

Reader Question

Lori, My wife and I have been married for 20 years and two months. For the past 2-3 months my wife has been telling me she has an emotional block. She no longer says she loves me, but yet we hold hands in public sometimes. She has very, very limited physical contact with me. I want to make her feel good about us again. I love her so much. Can you help?~~Ray

Expert Reply

Dear Ray,

Congratulations on being married for 20 years! The two of you have a commitment to the relationship which is important when the relationship is going through tough times. There may be a couple of reasons your wife feels an 'emotional block'. Health could be one reason. Perhaps your wife has started to experience peri-menopausal symptoms. While she may not be going through menopause, fluctuations in her hormonal levels can contribute to less sexual interest and desire. A visit to the doctor and getting blood tests will tell you both whether there is a medical reason for her lack of desire. To help you understand how health can affect a woman's mental and emotional well-being, I recommend two authors for you to read. The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. and there are several books by author Gail Sheehy on the topic.

However, before sending your wife off to the doctor to be 'treated' I would like you to consider that your wife's lack of desire may have more to do with her re-evaluation of her life and her relationship with you. It's normal for all humans to go through developmental stages at different times in life. Unfortunately, this growth is not talked about, so people often feel alone or not understood, resulting in feelings of loneliness, boredom and even depression. I'll bet that while you are aware of the changes your wife is demonstrating now, she probably has been feeling the way she does for longer than the last 2-3 months. It's just that you haven't noticed the changes she has been feeling until she made it obvious and told you. Don't blame yourself or your wife for your lack of observation. It's likely that she has been feeling differently and didn't know how to verbalize this to you.

All is not lost. I'm going to suggest that regardless of whether the change she feels is a result of a medical condition, a new and natural developmental stage she is going through, or a combination of the two, the result is the same. Your marriage is suffering. I'll bet that after 20 years of marriage your relationship with your wife has grown routine and stale. Your connection with your wife needs to be strengthened. This means that trust between you and your wife needs to be nurtured and quite possibly reestablished and excitement needs to be re-ignited.

Remember when you first met your wife? The newness of the relationship made you want to spend time with her to get to know her and to learn about her interests, her passions, her thoughts and ideas. You took an interest in her. You made yourself attractive to her by having your own interests, passions and physical prowess. You also tried to find out her likes and dislikes in order to satisfy her and draw her to you. Now is the time to date your wife again and discover the woman she is now. How has she changed? What are her new dreams, likes and dislikes? By dating your wife, you demonstrate to her your desire and willingness to pursue her.

So think back to some of the romantic things you did when you first met your wife; the time you spent planning activities, conversations starters, and dates. Are any of these appropriate now? What new ways came you come up with to court your wife? What ways can you make yourself more attractive to her again? When you discover what her new dreams, interests or passions are, and share your with her, you both are growing together. You can support her new or old interests by buying her lessons. Some interests the two of you can do together, others may be for her to do alone.

When your wife feels supported by you and excited by trying something new or finding ways to challenge herself to grow, she will feel stronger, smarter and more powerful. As a result of feeling good and sharing these experiences with you, the two of you can grow closer and your relationship can grow stronger.


Advice on Problems After Many Years of Marriage