I got married 15 years ago to a young woman who rocked my world.
I’d never met anyone like her, and a decade-and-a-half later I can say that still holds true. The problem is that our marital union has gone from a sizzling physical and emotional connection to a plodding routine.
We get along fine! But it honestly feels more like we are a couple of old friends than a married couple, and it’s starting to genuinely bother me.
Here’s advice for anyone in a similar predicament.
The issue of my marriage becoming like a friendship didn’t come out of anywhere.
It came out of my wife and I both taking each other for granted and putting our romance life on the backburner.
It came from getting too used to each other, basically.
Here’s what to do if you and your partner are struggling with similar problems.
1) Don’t panic!
I know couples who divorced when they started feeling more like friends.
They rushed for the exit doors and now regret it badly.
They thought for sure that they had fallen out of love, but it turned out that the marriage itself had just become humdrum. They were still very much in love with their partner, they just weren’t in love with the marriage itself.
I’ll explain what I mean here, but first and foremost please don’t panic if your marriage feels like a friendly hang-out with a college pal.
This is not necessarily the end of the line and it can actually be the beginning of a beautiful rekindling of the romantic fire.
2) Warm up your throat…
OK, I realize now that this sounds kind of dirty and sexual.
I didn’t mean it that way, I swear. Although…
Well, in any case:
You’re going to have to talk at least a bit if you want to address this ennui that’s plaguing your marriage.
It doesn’t have to be cold and clinical, it doesn’t have to be at couples counseling and it doesn’t have to be full of psychological jargon.
But you will have to talk eventually.
My wife and I realized that we’d barely talked in about five years, apart from general things regarding our finances, kids, and short-term plans.
It was like we were waking up from a lazy dream when I looked her in the eyes after a few too many drinks on a Friday at our friends’ place and said “honestly, I feel kind of weird about things.”
She looked shocked, but I knew she was feeling it, too.
3) Fix your marriage
Communicating in full transparency was the beginning of my wife and I’s road back to being “more than friends.”
It’s different for every couple.
But if you’ve become more like friends, there is definitely something a bit off in your marriage.
I don’t say that in a way to judge, only as someone who’s experienced it himself.
And a strategy I highly advise you to check out that’s helped my wife and me, is a course called Mend the Marriage.
It’s led by famous relationship expert Brad Browning.
If you’re reading this article on how to save your marriage alone, then chances are your marriage isn’t what it used to be…
And maybe it’s so bad, that you feel like your world is falling apart. This isn’t always two-sided, and your wife or husband may not be interested in doing anything about the problem.
You feel like all the passion, love, and romance have completely faded.
You feel like you and your partner can’t stop yelling at each other (or ignoring each other).
And maybe you feel that there’s almost nothing you can do to save your marriage, no matter how hard you try.
But you’re wrong.
You CAN save your marriage — even if you’re the only one trying.
If you feel like your marriage is worth fighting for, then do yourself a favor and watch this quick video from Browning that will teach you everything you need to know about salvaging the most important thing in the world:
You’ll learn the 3 critical mistakes that most couples commit that rip marriages apart. Most couples will never learn how to fix these three simple mistakes.
You’ll also learn Browning’s proven “Marriage Saving” method that’s simple and incredibly effective.
4) Turn up the heat in the bedroom
One thing that most friends don’t do is have hot sex. I know that isn’t always the case and that so-called “friends with benefits” are a growing phenomenon.
Still, my point is that if you want to switch the vibe from friends back to lovers, you’ll be well advised to start doing some loving. Turn up the heat in the bedroom, in whatever way appeals to both of you.
Does that mean sex toys, inviting in a third partner, opening the relationship, getting into roleplaying, exploring BDSM, or doing sex shows on webcams for people to watch online?
You tell me. My wife and I are fairly tame, although she does have a few fetishes I never would have guessed that have me pretty much fully turned on all day when I’m away from her.
If you find the physical passion is gone completely, start slowly.
Don’t pressure it. Sometimes it really does seem that neither of you wants any intimate activity nor to make love.
So be it. There are situations where physical issues and things like erectile dysfunction can also be at play.
Go easy on yourselves and work this out together slowly, with no pressure to force it to work.
5) Hit the road (together)
A major game-changer for my wife and I have been travel.
When I say that I mean real travel, not just heading to a resort for a week (although we did that too).
We have an RV and we’ve done some amazing trips together, last year through wine country.
That’s one passion we both share, and we went to so many tastings that I lost track on some days. Luckily we took turns being the designated driver.
The romance started flowering in new settings, particularly when we parked the RV and rented an Airbnb in the foothills of some beautiful mountains with amazing walking trails and a quaint little town nearby.
It was like we were reliving the early days of our marriage all over again. Those “friend” feelings really began to fade away and our hands naturally slipped into each other’s hands once again just like the old days.
Like relationship expert, Rachael Pace advises, “traveling is just overall great for anyone.
It’s especially great for couples who are struggling to bring back the romance in the relationship.”
6) Switch it up
There are things about my wife that made me start drifting away in my attraction, and vice versa.
Once we opened up about these in a light way to each other, we started to take some steps to change that.
She didn’t like:
- That I’d stopped exercising and ate junk food a lot
- That I rarely opened up about how I’m feeling
- That I treated sex like a chore or a boring routine
- That I obsessed about my career frustrations and treated her like a career counselor.
I didn’t like:
- That my wife constantly complained about finances
- That her weight had gone downhill in the past few years
- That she seemed to not be into having sex anymore
By both acknowledging what each other had said and vowing to pay attention to being conscious of it, we earned back each other’s trust and moved away from the friend vibe.
After all, a friend wouldn’t tell their friend that they’re too boring in bed.
And that’s just it:
You can earn back your spouse’s attraction and trust by showing them that you can change.
If you want some help with what to say, check out this quick video now.
Relationship expert Brad Browning reveals what you can do in this situation, and the steps you can do (starting today) to save your marriage.
8) Don’t use the kids as an excuse
Being a dedicated parent is awesome. My wife and I have a young son who we love dearly.
And he’s certainly a handful!
But there can be times that kids actually become a pretext for getting lazy in your marriage.
There is no doubt that being a parent requires huge focus and energy. But it doesn’t give you a ticket to ignore your spouse or tap out of the romantic side of your marriage.
It’s possible to fully commit to your kids and share parenting duties while still retaining the occasional free moment for a nice kiss or compliment from your significant other.
Your children need love, care, and attention. But seeing their parents happy and in love is ultimately the best gift they can get.
9) Tell the hard truths
As I said before, it’s key that you both open up to each other about what’s not turning your crank anymore in the marriage.
This isn’t always something easygoing. Like I said I told my wife she was getting a bit fat.
I never thought I’d tell any woman that, much less the one I made vows to 15 years ago.
She also told me I was a boring lover, and too obsessed with work stress.
I admit that my first reaction was to lash out, deny it or get her back.
But I absorbed the criticism and tried to see the benefit in it. A lot of maturity in a marriage is rooted in this ability to hear hard criticisms and not freak out over them.
I’m far from perfect, and my wife can have a nasty temper at times.
But we’re both making a lot of progress, and telling each other these hard truths is helping us rebuild the romantic core of our relationship.
We still treat each other courteously and don’t hurt each other’s feelings for fun or anything. But we also speak our minds and treat each other with enough respect to tell the hard truths that we usually like to avoid.
10) Do more romantic activities together
Travel has been a lifesaver for my wife and me, as I was saying.
More romantic activities are something I can highly recommend in general.
This can be everything from a ski trip and staying in a cozy chalet to doing yoga class together.
I never thought I’d be a yoga guy, but going to those classes with my wife has really reintroduced me to my own health and wellness.
Plus, seeing her in those yoga leggings has taken care of any hesitancy I had in the bedroom lately.
Whatever romantic activities you do, make sure it’s something you both love and decide on together.
11) Call the pros
There’s no shame in getting help. I used to think that relationship psychologists and counselors were full of bunk…to put it politely.
They sit you down acting holier-than-thou and give you an earful about how messed up you and your partner’s relationship is.
However, in recent years I have changed my mind somewhat.
Let me be clear:
I still think there are a lot of frauds out there who prey on people’s problems.
There are also some very legitimate and helpful individuals who really know what they’re talking about and have solutions for relationships and marriages that are stuck.
While this article explores some of the main things you can do if your marriage now feels like friendship, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.
With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice specific to your life and your experiences…
Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like marriages that are fading into routine boredom without any spark.
They’re a very popular resource for people facing this sort of challenge.
How do I know?
My wife and I reached out to them together online to get some help about half a year ago.
They’ve been groundbreaking in helping give us a new start.
After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was for both my wife and me.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
12) A note to best friends who married
In my wife and I’s situation, we married after a romantic and steamy relationship. We were madly in love.
But I do have friends who married their best friends. They now feel lost and like they got the short end of the stick.
Sex feels strange for them and they see their relationship more as a friendly partnership than a romantic endeavor.
In my humble opinion, marrying your “best friend” is generally a huge mistake.
Friends are for friendship.
Lovers and romantic partners are for relationships.
I realize that saying this may be controversial, but if you’re married to your best friend and it’s gotten boring then your situation could be unfixable.
Of course, you should still try to work through these issues and find if there’s a romantic essence somewhere in there.
But if the relationship was always more platonic, there may be nowhere else to take it from there.
True romance is…
A bit dangerous… Unpredictable … Mysterious … Overwhelming…
If you’ve opted for a marriage that was more friendship from the start that’s absolutely your choice, but that sometimes means it will always remain like that unless they’re used to being a romantic spark before.
Rekindling the flame
Rekindling the flame of a marriage can seem like an impossible task.
But it’s not.
My wife and I are doing better than we ever have, and although we’re far from perfect I would never have foreseen how good we are a year ago.
Flashing back, I can see myself sitting alone on the couch and feeling so frustrated I was almost about to walk out.
Saving the relationship when you’re the only one trying is tough but it doesn’t always mean your relationship should be scrapped.
Because if you still love your spouse, what you really need is a plan of attack to mend your marriage.
Many things can slowly infect a marriage—distance, lack of communication, and sexual issues. If not dealt with correctly, these problems can metamorphosize into infidelity and disconnectedness.
When someone asks me for advice to help save failing marriages, I always recommend relationship expert and divorce coach Brad Browning.
Brad is the real deal when it comes to saving marriages. He is a best-selling author and dispenses valuable advice on his extremely popular YouTube channel.
The strategies Brad reveals in it are extremely powerful and might be the difference between a “happy marriage” and an “unhappy divorce”.