Often after people have been married awhile, they notice the “magic” that was once prevalent in their relationship doesn’t burn as brightly. You may feel alone where you once had a best friend. Or maybe you’re “only friends” when you want more romance. Fortunately there is a way to reawake the magic and make her fall in love with you all over again.
But first let me ask, do you really want her to that Do you want her to be your best friend and confident? To always put you first? Do you want to look into the love of your life’s eyes and feel that excitement you once felt at being with her? If you answer yes to these questions, read on!
Now I am not a psychologist, and I haven’t conducted in-depth studies on how to win back your spouse. What I have done is researched romance for dozens of novels I’ve written for over twenty-two years. For those twenty-two years I’ve communicated with readers all over the world who are struggling in their relationships. I have four sisters who are married, most longer than twenty years, two married daughters, and I have been married for nearly thirty years. I’ve learned a little about what women want.
Not going to be easy
A successful marriage is never easy. Not for anyone. There are always ups and downs as you go through adjustment phases. Marriage is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Ever. But when it’s done right, it’ll also be the most rewarding.
To be “done right” you both need to be in love. Silly, crazy, madly in love. If that’s not happening right now, but you want it to, don’t despair! Desire to change is the first thing required to make her fall in love with you all over again. You may just find that she wants the very same thing.
In fact, most of us crave the connection we had in the beginning. But this kind of “remagicking” requires the same kind of commitment we had in the beginning. It’s not backburner stuff. It’s action! It’s doing! Because with very few exceptions, you get back exactly what you put into anything in life.
Real change begins when YOU act and start the wheels rolling. It’s not about making your wife come to your level, or you giving up everything to meet her. It’s both of you trying, and meeting partway. You don’t even have to meet all the way. But since you can’t change your wife, you have to work on it first yourself. You have to change what you’re doing and show her you are sincere, and then she will either meet you partway, or it’ll be clear that you should part ways. Because a relationship does take two people who want to remain in the relationship.
For both husbands and wives
I’ve been in the romance business long enough to know that these steps work both ways, but I’m entitling this post “how to make HER fall in love with you all over again” because I’m a woman, and I have more experience with how women feel and what they want. But if you’re a woman reading this, every one of these steps can also be used to remagic your relationship with your husband too.
Step 1. Put her first
That means first before children, first before your parents, first before your job, first before your neighbors. That means if your spouse really cares about something, you need to try to care about it, or at least try to understand it. It doesn’t mean you give up your hobbies or goals or desires.
Examples of putting her first
If your parents don’t like your wife, you need to tell them that isn’t their place. If children take up so much time that you can’t ever be with your wife alone, figure out a way to change this. Same thing for work. That doesn’t mean you have to change everything you do, but make it clear she is the most important thing in your life.
If she walks into the room, you look up from the TV or computer or car parts—whatever it is you’re doing. You smile and look like you’re happy to see her. You may even reach out and take her hand while she’s talking or pull her in for a hug. She’ll have no doubt that you are listening.
You find out what is important to her. You make sure you’re at important appointments. You are her constant protector and defender. This is the first step that goes hand-in-hand with all the other steps.
Step 2: Don’t expect mind-reading
While some people are sensitive to what a spouse is thinking or feeling, far too many of us are clueless. Your wife cannot read your mind. For instance, even if she may sense that you’re feeling down and try to cheer you up, that doesn’t mean she can read your mind or will always be sensitive to what you want or expect.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought my spouse was thinking one thing, and he was thinking something else altogether. Bottom line, I utterly fail at this. I’ve proven that time and time again. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to make him happy. I definitely do!
Ask for what you need
With mind-reading off the table, you must tell your wife exactly what you need. This doesn’t mean a short comment as you run out the door. Or something said casually in passing. Or something said in a heat of an argument. Too many couples casually insert what they need into a conversation and their spouse has no clue what it really means in the overall noise of life.
It’s best to sit down with your wife and say, “This is really important to me. Very important. And I’m a little nervous to say. But I really need ______.” Make sure she understand the importance and repeat back to you what you’re saying because even words don’t always make sense. Women (and people in general) aren’t stupid or uncaring, they’re human. They miss clues, they forget things. Don’t wait for things to fall apart, suffering in agony, before you finally blow up in anger and frustration.
Therapists say that often people will hold grudges for years, only to finally realize in counseling that they’d never told their spouse what it was that hurt them.
Asking for what you need is hard to do. I know that, I really do. If it’s serious, it puts you in a vulnerable place. But if your relationship is to reach that magic level, you have to expose yourself. Give her the benefit of the doubt. If she loves you even a tiny bit, she’s not going to throw your needs back in your face—as long as she understands what it means to you. This is true for things that are not so serious like keeping the bathroom sink clear of clutter to who is going to initiate sex.
If you are not willing to ask for what you need, it may be impossible to “remagick” your marriage. Again, your wife can’t read your mind. If you need or want something—ask!
Ask your wife what she wants—then listen
Don’t assume you know what your wife wants or needs. Because you are also not a mind reader. (See above entry.) It’s okay to try to be sensitive and anticipate what your spouse wants, but that does not replace regular verbal communication and confirmation. I’m betting that 98% of the time, you will be wrong. You won’t know exactly what she is feeling or what drives her actions. You may come close, but it’s still only a guess. So ask her, and then repeat back to her what you understand. Ask her how important it is to her. You might be completely shocked at what you learn. And asking shows you care.
Remember that when your spouse is telling you something personal, they are exposed and vulnerable just like you are. Don’t take that lightly. Listen carefully, respond verbally and kindly, and remember it for the future. Even write it down if you have to.
Give input during your discussions. Words like “I don’t know” when trying to solve a problem, or “Whatever you want” generally translate to “I don’t care” or “I just wish you’d go away.” If you are not willing to communicate regularly about your relationship, it may be impossible to “remagick” your marriage.
Step 3: Say hello . . . or goodbye
Let your wife in on your plans before you disappear somewhere. It’s not asking permission, it’s a courtesy both partners should extend to the other. Let your wife know if you’re going to be later than usual getting home. It also gives you the opportunity to express affection with a hug or kiss, or even ask for company (if you’d like some). Most important, it lets her know you’re thinking about her and that she is special to you.
Step 4: Surprise her with . . .
Often it’s the small daily things that mean more to women than anything else. On a Facebook post, I asked people what their significant other did for them that shows love. So many women came back saying something like running a bath, bringing a drink, reaching out for a hug, going to doctor appointments. Simple things that don’t cost money or take much effort but show her she is loved.
My husband once surprised me with a plate of cut fruit in my office, and he will help get our youngest to bed when he sees I’m stressed. He put away all my camping gear when I went camping with my daughter, which made me so grateful. He does other things, like researching and buying things I need or asking me to take a walk. These acts of kindness make me believe he cares.
If you notice your wife is feeling blue, do something special, even if it’s sitting and watching a movie with her or giving her a neck rub. Yes, you should always ask if she’d prefer that you keep everyone out while she sleeps (but usually that’s a man thing and women prefer to have sympathetic company).
Step 5: Express gratitude
Tell your wife thank you if she does something for you—anything. That includes dinner, cleaning up, service for you or your children, or buying a gift. Did you say thanks the last time she left you a note and a treat? Or brought you something to eat? Washed your clothes? The thing is, if you don’t say thank you, you are telling her the effort meant nothing to you. You miss the opportunity to talk. You miss letting her know you noticed that she was trying to say she loves you.
If you miss these chances too many times, not only will the favors diminish, but the connection possibilities disappear—and that’s far more important than whatever she did for you in the first place.
So say thank you at least three times a day. More if you can. And look at her when you say it. Maybe grab her hand for a quick squeeze. Let’s be honest. Too many times we get used to what our spouses do that we expect it. If you take a moment to reflect, you will find something to be grateful for and saying it will open doors.
Step 6: Tell others how wonderful your wife is
One thing I’ve noticed in healthy relationships is the public expression of admiration. Yes, you should also privately tell her you’re proud of her accomplishments, but saying it publicly adds a lot of weight. It lets your wife know you think she’s special enough to brag about. If you aren’t doing this periodically, every time she hears some other man bragging about his wife, she’ll be sad because her husband doesn’t feel the same way about her. She may seem like she doesn’t care, but she does. A lot.
Step 7: The power of two little words
Saying you’re sorry is one of the simplest ways you can stop a fight or reduce hurt feelings. And you must say the words. Buying your wife something or giving her a hug is NOT an apology.
There should also never be any more to an apology than the expression of sorrow and what you perceive that you did. And whatever you plan for restitution or to reduce future occurrences. There should be no “buts” involved. When most people apologize, they say things like, “I’m sorry I did ____, but when you did ____, I got hurt/mad/sad.”
Bad behavior doesn’t excuse other bad behavior. Not ever. Especially because it often will go back to the mind reading thing again. If you didn’t tell your wife something that hurt you, you can’t expect her to know why you’re upset.
Perhaps worse is the “I’m sorry but you have to understand that you’re wrong and I’m right” apology. This is when you say you’re sorry but excuse yourself and place blame on your spouse. So many of my readers have this occurring in their lives. These non-apologies never work but always make things worse. You are not going to convince your spouse that you’re right this way. For more examples on poor apologies, see this article in the Huffington Post.
A sincere apology expresses sorrow for your actions. Period. This isn’t to say that you can’t discuss, perhaps at a later time, what you can do about some issue you’re dealing with, but that isn’t part of an apology. You are sorry or you aren’t.
So when was the last time you said “I’m sorry” to your wife? Actually said the words and meant them? Because too many women can’t remember a time, or remember only one time, when their husbands said a sincere “I’m sorry.”
And you know what? You can say sorry even if you don’t feel you’re the only one at fault, because let’s face it, most of us feel our spouse is at fault for 90% of the problems. But make sure you understand why your spouse is upset and accept responsibility. Be willing to be wrong.
If your wife offers a sincere apology, be ready to let her know if you forgive her. Or tell her what you need so that you’ll be able to forgive her. Don’t ignore her. She’s trying. You may not be able to forgive her right that minute but recognize she’s making an effort.
Step 8: Don’t speak ill about her
Make sure you’re not speaking ill about your wife. This doesn’t mean that if you are having trouble that you can’t talk to a counselor or to a close friend who are trying to help. But don’t share anything negative with anyone else.
Once in a relationship class my husband and attended, couples were asked to express something about their spouse that they didn’t like (nothing super private, thankfully!). One woman, whose husband wasn’t there that day, refuse to participate, saying that there were things that bothered her, but saying something without her husband there to defend himself was not something she was willing to do. At first that made me roll my eyes, but I changed my mind when my husband expressed that I sometimes left things on the bathroom counter. I was so hurt. Mostly because I was really young but also because I didn’t see it that way at all. To his credit, I’m sure there were a lot worse things he could have shared.
It’s interesting to note, though, that if he hadn’t said anything, I would never have known how he felt. That was the first time he’d ever really expressed a desire that I do or change something. Now, twenty-odd years later, I still make more effort than I might otherwise do to keep the bathroom counter clear of stuff that doesn’t belong. I put away my things, the children’s things, and even his stuff, if it’s around. I like it clear too, but I care more about it because I know he does. So if something matters to you, tell her! But maybe not in a public setting.
Step 9: Date—and not just once a week
Ever heard of date night? A weekly date alone has been a common recommendation for couples. Couple should take turns planning a night out, even if it’s just a movie or a walk in the park. If she won’t take her turn, you should continue to plan every other week. At least you’ll get out together that often.
But a magical relationship goes beyond this. It’s searching out more ways to spend time with your spouse, just like you did (or should have done) when you first met. Seek opportunities to be with her. A walk around the block, a quick drive to the store, watching a movie or game, or just sitting awhile on the deck and chat. Get creative!
Your spouse may not always be able to go with you, especially at first. But just asking creates an atmosphere where your spouse understands that you want to be with her.
Step 10: Getting away together
Getting away together is important, and you should take an active role in planning private mini-vacations for the two of you each year. Yes, these will be shorter if you’re a young couple with a baby, and you may even have to take a nursing child once or twice, but mostly these should be alone!
There is no better time to get away than your anniversary. An anniversary is important and should be a celebration! Plan something special for just the two of you. No children or work allowed! Try not to be hurt if your wife doesn’t reciprocate planning these events the first time or two, especially if you haven’t been celebrating it regularly, but ideally, you’d take turns planning a special getaway. Looking back on my nearly thirty years of marriage, not getting away alone more often is one of the things I most regret.
Step 11: Readily show affection
This is probably the most single important thing for women. Women need to feel affection from the one they love—and a lot of it. Please understand this. It is not a want, it is a need. Every time you leave the house, or she gets up in the morning, or even as you sit and watch TV, let her feel your affection. Show her you love her. If you are getting up out of bed and don’t think to greet her first, especially if she’s right there in the bed next to you and awake, she’s going to feel that you don’t care. Even if you don’t mean anything by it.
For many years, when my husband left for work or came home, he’d give me a kiss and a hug. It wasn’t until he started working at home that I began to realize how much it meant to me—that moment of affection. It told me he loved me as much as I loved him. Now hours will go by each day before I see him, and I hate that, so most mornings I go find him to say hello. But I learned recently I haven’t been doing it right! For best effect, I need to kiss him long and with intensity to boost our hormones and increase our intimacy. In fact, experts say making that morning kiss last for two minutes can change your relationship for the better.
There are other less obvious ways to show affection. Recently, I was sitting behind a couple in church, both in their sixties, and I watched as the husband scooted closer to his wife, just to feel their arms touch. She soon leaned into him. Eventually he put his arm around her and his fingers gently caressed her bare arm where the sleeve ended. It was utterly sweet and romantic and spontaneous. You could feel the love springing from them.
The affection can be more obvious as well. A few weeks ago, I went to a girl’s camp for three nights. When the woman who was driving our carpool guided her car into her garage, her husband came running out of the house. Before she even got out of the car, he leaned inside the window and began kissing her. She knew—we all did!—that he missed her and was glad she was home.
Return her affection
Again, remembering that affection is a need, if your wife reaches out to you, your hands better not be in your pocket. You better not be focusing on something else. Stop what you are doing and hold her. If you’re in bed, turn over and cuddle her. Even if you are upset. Acknowledge that it took effort for her to reach out. Let her know that you value her touch and are excited she’s in your life.
If you don’t return the affection, for whatever reason, she’ll be dying inside. She’ll feel rejected and unwanted. Too many readers tell me they’d rather sleep in another room than with their husbands who they know will never reach out to them.
It’s hard on either spouse to continue to express affection when the other partner withholds affection. And you shouldn’t, not for any reason. Even if you’re tired, sad, anxious, or angry. Because most of the time, unless you’ve told her, she will have no idea why you’re upset. (Remember the mind reading?) If you need to be alone, that’s fine, but give her a hug and let her know that. Don’t leave her guessing.
More than one reader has expressed to me that she no longer wants any affection from her husband because the minute he’s angry or upset, usually at something she has no clue about until the blow-up, he will withhold affection. Meaning he won’t give her a hug or a kiss. He won’t return one if she tries to give him one. These women avoid the issue completely rather than risk rejection.
So the next time your wife reaches out to you, be ready to act! Put aside your hurt feelings or your attraction for whatever project you’re working on and focus on her. The next time you watch a movie, draw her close or gently rub her hand. Bump her hip or swirl her around the kitchen as you make dinner together. It’s moments like this that reassure your wife that she is still loved. And there is nothing more attractive to a woman than a man who is completely and totally in love with her.
Normally, affection will come naturally to most men who are in a good mood, but often the need men have for and to give affection is connected to sexual desire, so if your libido has diminished for whatever reason, there may be a physical reason for not remembering to reach out. But once you realize that, a little effort to remember to show affection will go a long way.
Step 12: Sexual intimacy
Sexual intimacy is also an important factor in a relationship and the most sensitive. Rarely do couples understand what they want much less what their spouse wants. And because their needs are so prevalent in their own minds, it’s hard for them to understand that their spouse has no clue what they’re thinking.
For women, there may be many years of childbearing and nursing that get in the way of intimacy, but as couples age, often the roles are reversed, especially when hormone counts are off. Regardless of what stage of life you’re in, open communication about both what your wife wants and what you want is vital. Remember, neither of you are mind readers. Couples who love each other must become vulnerable to each other to be able to communicate.
To remagic your marriage, couples need to have sex or something akin to sex. If you are not having sex, for whatever reason, you are cutting out one of the most precious and intimate parts of your coupleness. You don’t make love to your children, your parents, your boss, or the neighbors. Only with your wife. It is something uniquely between the two of you.
A lot has been written about men’s need for sex, but your wife needs it too! If you have noticed a decline in your libido, weight gain, mood swings, or trouble sleeping, chances are you are suffering from hormone imbalance. This causes all kinds of havoc in your relationship. Not only will you feel volatile and off-balance, your wife will feel rejected, unattractive, and unwanted. NY physician Dr. Marcus says that wanting must be present in the relationship and “if it’s not, that desire is almost irreplaceable.” Here is a good article about why couples are not having sex, why it is important, and what should be done about it.
There are satisfying alternates to sex that still promote sexual closeness. There are also simple and safe ways to increase libido, from exercise and diet to HCG and bioidentical hormones. This is vital because experts say that when couples aren’t having sex they “become vulnerable to anger, detachment, infidelity and, ultimately, divorce.”
Benefits of sex
Besides, sex in a marriage is fun! And there are numerous health benefits. In articles across the Internet, doctors and researchers agree that the benefits of sex are:
- Strengthens your relationship
- Releases happy hormones
- Make you look happy/younger
- Dulls all kinds of pain
- Improves sleep
- Prevents colds and flu
- Keep hormones in balance
- Lowers risk of heart attack
- Lowers risk of prostate cancer
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces anxiety and stress
- Increases sexual desire
- Increases immune function
- Improves fitness
- Improves bladder control for women
- Makes your brain work better
- Lowers risk in pregnancy
How much sex should a couple have?
Studies on sexuality say the average number of times couples make love is anywhere from 7 times a month (younger couples) and 2-3 times a month for older couples. One NBC news article says that the happiest couples are making love at least once a week. Couples who had more sex weren’t happier, but couples with less noted dissatisfaction. Less than ten times a year is considered a sexless marriage.
Basically, it’s up to each couple to decide what works for them. But not having sex isn’t usually an option for a happy, healthy couple. Even people in their seventies and eighties are perfectly able to have a healthy sex life. As couples age, they have to consider these things and make a plan of attack to maintain their sexual closeness.
Keep in mind that not working to fix intimacy issues will drive your partner to seek replacement fulfillment elsewhere instead of with you (even if that fulfillment is nonsexual). Because of this, many therapists recommend scheduling sex dates 1-3 times a week for couples who have fallen out of the habit, who don’t seem to have the time, or who have other issues. (See here, here, here, here, and here.) Some claim that scheduling actually leads to more intimacy and desire, so maybe you can give it a try. Here is also a respectable site with helps for couples with sexual issues.
Step 13: Let go of the past
Life happens and we all make mistakes. Just like how new parents make mistakes for the first ten . . . aw, who’s kidding . . . twenty or thirty years of our kids’ lives, we all made mistakes as younger couples. We all still make mistakes. But we can free ourselves from the perceptions of the past and decide what to make of our relationships now. Couples change drastically over decades of marriage. Aside from learning what not to do, it really doesn’t matter what went on in the past because you can’t change that. But letting go of old hurts means you can focus on strengthening your relationship now and create moments of intense joy.
I told you it wouldn’t be easy, but it is possible! Basically, the key to marital happiness is kindness, consideration, affection, and intimacy. If you get rid of any one of these, you are heading for stormy waters. Both partners must want to make it work, but trying these steps alone for a time, and then sharing them with your wife is the best way to gage whether or not she is willing to fall in love with you again.
Please let me know below what special things your significant other does that make you fall in love with him/her all over again.