DearJames: There’s No Spark



I am over 50 & have been married for over 26 years. We have one child – early 20’s, independent but still at home. I have fallen out of love with my husband. I love him but there is NO spark. I have come to this realization within the last couple of years since becoming an (almost) ’empty nester’. I was too busy to realize this sooner. I have tried talking to him and we have tried counseling; counseling failed due to poor counselor. There is no intimacy between us. I know this is something I can’t live without. I have never cheated on him but I have had some recent temptations. He is (too) agreeable with any thing I suggest but it never accomplishes anything. He ‘listens’ to me and agrees but everything seems to go in one ear and out the other. He is not abusive or addicted to anything (drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.). He can’t possibly be happy with the way things are. I asked him if he was gay and he said no. He has difficulty with physical intimacy due to his being overweight & some medications he takes. He gives little effort to lose weight and get off his meds. I don’t know if I should stay or not.

-NO Spark

Dear NO Spark

Asking someone for directions is easy: understanding them so you arrive at your intended destination requires a whole other set of skills.

It requires comprehension, awareness, vulnerability, consciousness, action, determination, trust, confidence, commitment and courage, just to name a few.

Similarly, marriage is an equally perplexing dichotomy, for it’s just as easy to say yes and walk down the aisle, as it is to ask for directions; yet understanding what marriage truly is requires one to comprehend it with far greater depth, appreciation, openness and understanding.

Marriage is something you choose every single day.  It doesn’t stop at the alter after you say “I Do.”

And time and time again, this is where couples falter…they forget to choose marriage on a daily basis.

In an instant, years become seconds and before you realize it, life happened, and you find yourself residing in the dingy old development you helped create: Point of Complacency, an unfulfilling, beige-colored life, built by its very own occupants.

You are where you are, because you each chose it.  You have not only the opportunity, but the ability, to chose differently.

The spark vanished when you and your husband weren’t looking: choosing instead to prioritize everything and everyone else over the hopes, dreams, desires and commitments you made to one another.

In this, you are both faced with a defining life choice: Do I seek to understand the true meaning of marriage with this partner; OR, do I seek to understand it on my own or potentially with another?  In either case, the imperative is to know and understand the metaphor; everywhere I go…there I am.

Each of you need to reflect upon the choices you have made and continue to make during the course of this marriage; own those choices; where appropriate, atone for them; and then discern if you are each willing to begin anew.

Rediscovering one another, while at times proving difficult, may just offer you far greater rewards, than divorcing, only to realize you’ve either repeated the lesson with someone new or deprived yourself of it all together.

In either case, it is a lesson you have here-to-fore yet to explore.

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