Sad as it might be, most marriages do not turn out to be the picture that you expected as you stood gazing into one another¡¦s eyes and exchanged your vows. Do you find yourself having thoughts like the following?:

„X The spark has long since gone.
„X If it weren¡¦t for the children you might just pack your bags and go.
„X Is this all there is?
„X The only thing my marriage is offering me is financial security.
„X I can¡¦t remember the last time we had fun or laughed together.

Marriage just doesn¡¦t seem to be all it was supposed to be.

In my private practice, these are common complaints. What¡¦s even more surprising is that they are being voiced by those partners who do choose to stay with each other. Unfortunately, these issues are often the one thing that both partners have in common. Most spouses don¡¦t remember anything bad happening. That¡¦s because there wasn¡¦t anything particularly traumatic ¡V it just seemed to happen. One day you reflect on the last ¡§x¡¨ amount of years and realize, sadly, that things just aren¡¦t the same, that this is not what you expected from life. You¡¦d like it to be different ¡V after all, your spouse isn¡¦t such a bad person. But then you¡¦re faced with some realities - it¡¦s gone on for so long, you made some attempts that didn¡¦t work, there¡¦s not enough time in the day to do anything different, there¡¦s not any extra money to go for help. So you¡¦re left feeling stymied, feeling helpless. After all, things were different when you got married - you were young, you were hopeful, you didn¡¦t have all the responsibilities you have now. It¡¦s likely that you resign yourself to the thought that as you took your vows, it was a fantasy you had. Now you¡¦re living the reality.

As dismal as this may sound, it is not necessarily the way a couple has to function. It¡¦s quite possible to put the vitality back into your marriage. Your relationship can be one that is satisfying to both you and your partner and one that brings both of you joy. There are tools that can bring your marriage back to life and they are not difficult nor are they costly. In fact, they are ones that everyone is capable of doing without the need for some sort of specialized training.

The only requirement is that you put in some time and effort. A marriage needs attention as a flower needs light and water to thrive. The reason that you don¡¦t remember what went wrong in the marriage, or when it went wrong, is because the erosion happened slowly over time. Most often what happens is life and all of the daily stresses. As you take care of them, you put your relationship on a back burner with the assumption that it will hold. Of course, sometimes other things must take priority and a solid marriage can withstand occasional stress. But when you keep putting other things first, a marriage cannot stay connected. It¡¦s a similar process to having a good friend. In order to keep the friendship going, you must put some work into it. If neither partner does anything toward that end, like calling or writing, the friendship drifts. A marriage is a vital relationship - to the partners and to their children. How it functions will have meaning in every aspect of their lives. All too often, you assume that when you take your marriage vows and say, ¡§I love you,¡¨ the rest will fall into place. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

So, remember to give your marriage the attention it deserves and watch it start to come back to life!

Author's Bio: 

Finally, a psychologist who goes that extra mile and cares about the people with whom she works. Whether Dr. Karen Sherman ( or ) is giving a speech, offering a teleseminar, or doing a workshop - she's helping people connect to their potential and becoming aware of their choices. Let Dr. Karen help you learn to make life choices both personally and in your relationships by signing up for her free newsletter at

You can find more of her tools in her newest book, Mindfulness and The Art of Choice: Transform Your Life or the one she previously co-authored, Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make It Last. She's also a contributor to 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, a featured writer on Yahoo Personals, a blogger at, and a columnist for