I believe that most of us like to think that the deterioration of our marriage would be swift and noticeable. We like to think that it would be an obvious change that we would not only notice, but to which we would quickly react. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Much of the time, the deterioration of a marriage is a slow and gradual slide. We may not notice it until it has reached a point of crisis.  Our attention may not fall on it until it can almost seem to be too late to do much about it. And then we look around and we realize that our marriage just may be in big trouble.

Someone might say: "I honestly don't know how it's happened. I always considered myself as someone who had a strong marriage. And one of the reasons that it was so strong is because my husband and I always made it a priority. But over the last year and a half, there have been dramatic changes. And I'm ashamed to say that I didn't notice them at first. And I think that this was an honest mistake. My mother became ill and needed to move in with us for a while. I had no choice but to take on additional job responsibilities. So I started spending a lot of time with co-workers who ended up being like family members. My husband never complained about this. In fact, he tried to support me and was very loving because he knew that I was burning the candle at both ends. I did not really have a light bulb moment until a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that my husband was going out with his friends for the third time in a week and this didn't really alarm me because it had become the norm. And then I realized that I was spending time with co-workers instead of my husband. And then I really started thinking about it and I realized that my marriage has taken a pretty steep fall. Our sex life is much less than it was. We don't fight per se, but the closeness that we had before is missing. The other day, my husband announced that he had gotten a new boss and then he said under his breath 'as though you're even interested in my life anymore.' I was angry at first, but now I realize that he is right. I have not been a good wife. I have not made my marriage a priority. And honestly, I don't care about this as much as I should. And now I fear that it might be too late. I have no idea how to start to get my marriage to back to where it was or even if my husband wants that at this point."

Understanding The Importance Of Apathy: If there is one thing that I want you to get from this article, it is this. The time to address deteriorations in your marriage is at the instant that you notice it. So many of us would rather look away because it seems easier or less painful at the time. But doing this is so very risky. It is what almost cost me my marriage. The longer a marriage is neglected, the harder it is to get back. The more you continue to look away, the more your spouse assumes that you do not care and the more they participate in their own-less-than desirable behaviors. It's a very destructive cycle that feeds on itself, so it is very important to begin to break it as soon as you notice it, although none of this is blatantly your fault.  It's commendable that you wanted to care for your mother and stepped up the plate with your job.  Don't beat yourself up.  But take action as soon as possible.

Now That You Can, Revert Back To Your Old Habits: Perhaps the easiest and first course of action might be to spend more time at home. It seems as if enough time has passed between the crisis with your mom and your work that these things shouldn't need your immediate attention quite as much. Immediately start coming home and limiting the time that you spend away. Your husband should notice this and will hopefully do the same.

Once you start spending more time at home, watch your husband's behavior carefully. Are you able to fall back into your usual, loving routine? Is he receptive to you without resentment? Or are things a bit awkward and tense? Do you any issues jump out at you as things that need to be addressed immediately?

Use Your Close Observations For Clues About Where To Turn Your Attention: It's important that you observe very closely. Because this will give you a roadmap on where it's best to focus your attention first. Very few marriages can suffer neglect and suffer no ill effects. Most of the time, you will have some work to do in order to restore your marriage back to where it was before.

The good news is that you already have one of the most important ingredients - awareness. Not every one is so aware. Sometimes, people don't notice the atrophy of their marriage until they are separated or almost divorced. (I will cop to this. And I almost divorced. You can read about how I turned things around by clicking here.) So understand that you do have a huge advantage - you noticed the problem before it became insurmountable.  And you are more than willing to take action. Now, it is time to address it promptly.

I totally commend your awareness and your willingness.  Not everyone has this and it should serve you well.  So many people (myself included) want to take the easiest and the least painful way out.  I just hoped things would work themselves out.  But they most certainly didn't and I almost ended up divorced.  This was a very tough lesson to learn because it was very hard to get my husband to be receptive to me again.  You can read more about that process  at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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