How to Rekindle Your Marriage – 15 Ways that Really Work!

My wife and I had a great marriage for years, but there was a time when she told me that she wasn’t IN love with me anymore. I knew I needed to take action, so I began to research how to rekindle your marriage.

Here are the best ways to rekindle your marriage:

  1. Spend quality time together (put the kids to bed & put phones down)
  2. Increase physical touch without the expectation of sex
  3. Make your sex life a priority too
  4. Be 100% accountable for your actions
  5. Appreciate your spouse without expectation
  6. Don’t look to your spouse to make you happy or for feelings of validation

But there’s a lot more to rebuilding trust in a damaged relationship and rekindling the lost passion in a marriage.

So in this post, we’re diving deep into the world of stale, boring, and even broken marriages. We’re answering all the top questions, reviewing advice from some top relationship experts, and walking you through the best way to rekindle your marriage when the love has faded.

15 Proven Steps to Rekindle Your Marriage 

1. Spend time together weekly

Kids, bills, dinner, yard-work, business dinners, that new episode of whatever.

The world seemingly conspires against you and your spouse just getting to hang out. So the first place to start is with making your spouse a priority. You have to consciously make it happen.

Use an app if you must or a calendar, but have weekly date nights!

2. Talk and connect regularly

After work when the kids are in bed don’t just turn on the TV, pour a glass of wine and sit next to your spouse in a vegetative state.

That’s OK some nights, but it shouldn’t be every night.

Get together sometimes and just talk.  Connect.  Over coffee or after dinner.  Meet up for lunch occasionally. Make an effort to connect with each other’s lives, thoughts, goals, and fears.

This person is (hopefully) the biggest part of your life, so why should we expend the least amount of effort on them?

3. Avoid placing expectations on them

There is a saying from Tony Robbins I love:

“Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant”.

Essentially that means don’t focus on what you think your spouse should be doing.

Just be appreciative of who they are and what they are doing and what they bring to the table.  It’s essentially a glass half full or empty proposition.

When all you focus on is what they aren’t doing, you’ll never feel satisfied. If you see your spouse as a constant disappointment, that’s a recipe for divorce! Trust me. This goes a long way towards you feeling happier and more fulfilled.

4. Take 100% ownership and accountability

Anyone in a long-term relationship has done things to damage it.

Maybe one of you had a problem with drugs or alcohol.  Or had an affair. Perhaps you were overly critical and always on edge.

It could also be more benign habits. But over a period of years, even the smallest issue can become draining to our spouse. It can take its toll on love and being in love.

So if you know you’ve contributed to the broken relationship it’s not enough just to stop the behavior.

Acknowledge it!  Own it. Accept it. Apologize for it. You don’t need to dwell on the past, but you do need to take responsibility for it so your partner can heal.

That, in turn, will often cause them to let their guard down and own their behavior too.  Then and only then can you truly begin to move forward in forging the best chapter yet in your romantic relationship.

There’s no shame in making mistakes. The shame comes in repeating them and/or not taking responsibility for them. Learning how to rekindle a marriage must include accountability.

5. Make sex a priority

As with #1, the world again conspires to push sex by the wayside.  Men and women also have different sexual needs. And our needs change differently as we age. And it’s also true that each of you might have a different sex drive.

That being said, sexual intimacy and physical affection are an important part of ANY relationship and it can be very hard to have a rewarding and lasting relationship without them.

Make sex a priority. Keep it interesting. Change it up, and don’t cast it aside.

If you’re too tired at night after the kids go to bed, make it part of the morning ritual.  Schedule it if you must like Adam & Kristina Braverman on Parenthood.

But make it a regular part of your routine and you will rekindle your marriage.

6. Touch and connect without the expectation of sex

Aside from making sure sex is a priority, it’s also important to touch your partner without the expectation that it’s leading to physical intimacy.

Women want to feel valued for more than just being a sex object.

Yes, they want to feel sexy and desired. But they also want an emotional bond and to be appreciated for all the many facets and aspects of their personality. A true intimate connection goes way beyond just sex.

Emotional intimacy is fostered by touch. A sense of security and connection with our partner is created by physical connections.

Hold hands, snuggle, kiss.  If it leads to sex; great!  But don’t initiate it for that reason.

7. Fake it till you make it

I know that phrase is a bit controversial but I like it.

Anything we do, when we are first learning it (or trying to rekindle it) will feel awkward.  It feels foreign and unfamiliar; a bit unnatural.

Learning how to rekindle a broken marriage is no different!

But you didn’t stop riding your bike as a kid just because it felt awkward at first.  You kept doing it until it felt natural; until you fell into a groove and it became part of who you are.

So any task, habit, or direction you want to take in life can be seen in the same way.

If you and your spouse have had love diminish, go through the motions.  Follow the steps above.  It will feel a little awkward at first, but the good news is it will eventually feel totally natural; you will fall back in love again!

8. Don’t look to your spouse to make you happy

Only you can make yourself happy.

It’s true that others can do things to anger or sadden us, but our own inner happiness is ours to own and nurture.

If you expect your spouse to provide your happiness you’re in for a disappointment.  They can bring joy, love, and support, but don’t lose sight of looking inward.

9. Have some activities away from each other

We don’t need to do EVERYTHING together. An ex once told me “wouldn’t it be great if we could spend every minute together with no one else ever around?”

At the time I thought it was sweet.  Now older and wise I realize how truly co-dependent and potentially smothering that really was.

Have hobbies and activities away from each other. Not all the time, and not even the majority of the time.

But have interests and friends outside of your marriage or relationship. Then when you do come together you’re excited to see one another and you have interesting things to talk about.

10. Build true intimacy

Intimacy means closeness and familiarity.

Our spouse is often the person with whom we let our guard down the most.  As damage in the relationship happens, the guard comes up and trust diminishes.

So when working on relationship issues, it’s essential that we work on rebuilding intimacy.  It’s one of the most important things. Be less defensive, say things that don’t make your spouse feel defensive.

As the guard comes down and intimacy and emotional connection improve, so will the marriage.

There are MANY ways to help build intimacy, so I urge you to check out all 31 incredible ways you can Restore Intimacy in Marriage (click to read my article) in one of my newer posts.

11. Change up your sex patterns

After a couple has been together some time, it’s easy to fall into routine patterns.

When we’re talking about sex, the routine can sometimes become boring.  Now don’t get me wrong, most of us would rather have routine sex than none at all.

But change it up once in a while! If your spouse is usually the one who initiates it, you initiate it every once in a while. Change positions or even location.  Spice things up a little and create new experiences!

12. Make a list of your favorite memories

All long-term couples will have a few standout moments of the early days of the relationship; places, events, concerts, or simpler moments where they really enjoyed time with their spouse.

Often that’s in the honeymoon phase of the relationship.

Write those moments down. If you want to take it a step farther, print out pictures from them and create a photo album of them or a montage of photos in a frame on the wall.

As you recall those moments, it’s an easy way for the feelings you had for your spouse at that time to return.

13. Alter your routine

Married couples, especially with kids in the mix, tend to fall into a routine each week.

Getting kids ready for school. grocery shopping, cleaning the house, etc. We fall into a rhythm and find ourselves doing the same things each week and most days of the week.

So, it can get a little boring.

So next time you want to do something, change it up! Do something together you used to do separately. Change the days you do some tasks. Allow some lesser important things to get moved to the back burner.

As life gets more interesting and less routine, your marriage will follow suit!

14. Understand each other’s love language

When my wife used to ask me to tell her in-depth, exactly why I love her, I fumbled at my words.

But if she asked me to build her something, fix something, or schedule something, I am ALL about it. I show love through my actions and less so through my words.

But learning to get more comfortable with your spouse’s love language is a great way to build (or rebuild) connection on a deeper level.

When you put aside expectations and just appreciate your spouse AND the ways that THEY choose to show love you WILL be happier.

Each person shows and expresses love differently and it’s not fair to expect one spouse to show you love how you think it should be shown. If they aren’t showing it at all, that’s a different problem.

But do take time to understand and appreciate their (and your) love language.

The 5 love languages are:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Acts of service
  • Receiving gifts
  • Quality time
  • Physical touch

So if your wife’s love language is words of affirmation but you rarely tell her you love her or appreciate the things she does, she may feel unloved even if you buy her a lot of things or spend a lot of time with her.

15. Examine your friends’ list

Are most of your friends single or divorced? Are they are the bar or club every weekend drinking heavily and hooking up with strangers?

When you (and they) are in your early 20s and single that’s OK.

But as we get older, get further down the career path, get married, and especially when we have kids, behaviors like that don’t have a place in our lives anymore.

But if you still hang out with friends like that, however great a person they might be, it affects how we think (negatively).

I’m not saying to ditch all your single friends, but I am saying that according to the noted speaker and author Jim Rohn (and often misappropriated to Aristotle):

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

So, begin to cultivate friendships with people that you’d like to be more like and slowly begin to spend less time with people whose lives you would not want for yourself.

How do you rekindle a marriage during separation?

Here are the steps to rekindle a marriage after separation:

  • Take things slowly, but not vague or undefined (it’s not fair to keep your spouse in limbo indefinitely)
  • Set regular weekly times to meet and talk
  • Have clear boundaries (no alcohol consumption when meeting, no unscheduled drop-ins, no intimacy at first)
  • Avoid being intimate at the start (it sends a very confusing message)
  • Do express how you feel (but avoid yelling, name-calling, or blame)
  • Consider seeing a marriage counselor (if you aren’t already)
  • Try to understand your role in the problem (and any underlying root issues that fueled it)
  • As things progress, begin to date your spouse (still taking things slowly)
  • Don’t rush to reconcile (the tendency will be for both of you to return to your old patterns if you don’t really take time to examine the real issues and take steps to change them.
  • It’s OK if you aren’t sure if you are still in love (but know that you CAN fall back in love as things progress)
  • Make saving your marriage the top priority (friends, nights out, family, and even your kids all need to take a backseat to get your marriage back on track. After all, if you end up divorcing, none of it will matter anyway).
  • Put ego and pride aside (many a marriage has ended in divorce because one spouse was too proud to apologize or take real ownership of the damage they did)

Final Thoughts

In this post, we examined exactly how to how to rekindle a broken marriage.

We identified some of the most common things and main reason that derails marriages. That includes things that cause damage and also can cause partners to drift apart.

But we also looked at the crucial steps you can take to rekindle the marriage. It’s totally natural for relationships to settle into a routine. But you don’t have to accept a boring or passionless marriage.

Like anything worth doing you have to put forth the effort. It’s never too late to save your marriage or relationship; you just have to try.

Photo credits (that aren’t mine or which require attribution):
Faded Love via (Lomo edit) by Clyde Robinson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Jeff Campbell

Leave a Comment