Ask a counsellor: 'How can we get the spark back?'

Columnist and counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman whose marriage is stuck in a rut.

The problem
“After 20 years of marriage, I feel as if my husband and I are stuck in a rut. We both work hard, and the long hours mean when that we get in from work, we end up flopped in front of the TV, rather than talking about things as we used to.

“We’ve got three lovely children, but they are all off doing their own thing these days. I thought that would mean we’d have more time with one another, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out that way.

“I love my husband, but I am so bored, so how do I spark things up again? I’m sure my husband is as bored as I am really, but he might be funny if I initiated anything!”

Read: Ask a counsellor: ‘Why won’t my partner finalise his divorce?’

Fiona says
“Many marriages reach a stage where the couples feel things between them are stale and unsatisfactory, often because the couple has become so used to one another that they stop trying. It’s not really anyone’s fault, just a case of over-familiarity and a hectic lifestyle. Whilst you may not be able to recapture the heady rapture of the early days of your relationship, it is possible to make things sparkle once more.

Read: Confidence is sexy. How to feel both after 60

“It does require both of you to try, however, so I suggest that one night soon – not when he is watching his favourite program though – that you turn off the TV. Tell your husband that you miss the chats you used to have together and want to just sit and talk for a while.

“Start telling him what you’d like to be doing instead of sitting in front of the TV. Suggest that you’d like to spend more time with him; that you’d like to just go to bed early and cuddle occasionally – anything that encourages him to realise you still want him.

“I suggest you keep things positive and be careful not to criticise. Don’t tell him that you think the passion has gone and that you are bored, but make it clear you still find him attractive and want to enjoy his attention.

“Look at the Relate ( website too and the section on ‘Relationship Advice’. There’s all kinds of advice and guidance on moving forward when you feel you’re in a rut together.”

Read: Dear Fiona: ‘My wife had an emotional affair’

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

What advice would you give in this situation? How do you keep the spark alive in your relationship? Let us know in the comments section below.

– With PA

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Written by Fiona Caine