“S/he doesn’t have my time; no quality time together, no communication, no nothing…!”: why and how to deal with attention deficits in marriage

More often than not, the attention that comes with the euphoric stage of a love (the early times in marital relationships, usually characterized by excitement, pleasure and intense inter-spousal feelings) dissipates with time, for instance, with the arrival of kids, work demands and other activities and engagements that scramble for an individual’s attention. The absence of attention in a marital relationship gives the spouses the feeling that they are not loved and cared for any longer, a belief that can trigger anxiety, insecurity and resentment. Giving your spouse the attention he/she deserves does not only give them the feeling that they are loved and cared for, it helps to keep your emotional account full and overflowing; make both spouses happier; buy reciprocated love and attention; build respect, appreciation and stronger connection. Unfortunately, in this industrialized, technologically advanced world, phones, social media, the hustling and bustling lives that we lead, make it difficult to shower the much needed attention on our spouses. The following may be considered in ensuring that attention is given to your spouse.

  1. Take notice of your spouse without forgetting to dole out sincere compliments.
  2. Be sensitive to emotional and physical changes in your spouse, as well as to your spouse’s needs.
  3. Set aside time to enjoy each other’s company. This has to be planned and worked out as the demanding nature of the modern life may contend with such a decision.
  4. Lend a listening ear to your spouse. Beyond bonding you two, listening points to respect for the other person.
  5. Do “stuff” together. Relaxation, leisure and recreation should not be considered as luxury. They are some of the necessary imperatives for rejuvenating the married life. Doing these together helps to develop common interests, understanding and marital peace.

Naturally, human beings are approval seekers. They want to be reckoned with, appreciated, valued and respected. Giving attention to your spouse is one of the greatest forms of approval that one can accord them. It tells the other person “he/she values me”. Interestingly, giving attention to your spouse has the capacity of engendering reciprocal attention for yourself from him/her. Active attention supports the development of communication skills, mutual affection and bonding, as well as opportunities for effective conflict resolution in marriage. Couples are better able to understand each other and become a formidable team for achieving desired goals. Finally, mutual attention between spouses optimizes the primary companionship function of marriage, while producing the sweetness that should come with a healthy marriage. You cannot afford the ills that accompanies a marriage that is devoid of inter-spousal attention.

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