How to spice up a marriage with an unwilling partner?


Most of you heard my story before it was hijacked and derailed. So any ideas about how to recreate the beginning of our marriage? I’ve already noted that whatever I try, she seems to turn it down. By the way she just had a physical not too long ago checking all the hormones and stuff.

ok, so I know-no buying sassy dresses that don’t fit!


maybe ask her what kind of a “special date” she would like…for instance you may be thinking dinner/movie whereas she would go for a weekend away. Maybe try just cuddling up with her on the couch, have a heart to heart and try to get her to tell you what she needs…Or even try taking up a new hobby together…just a thought…in the meantime pray for guidance! oh—maybe look into Retoville?? or some kind of marriage retreat?


I think just about any woman would say start with everything non-sexual go from there. Help with housework, offer a massage, fix her dinner.

I didn’t see your story, but I did get a few tidbits from another thread. She seems lazy to you; perhaps she is just overwhelmed, depressed, feels burnt out… not necessarily anything that would show up on a physical, but very real symptoms nonetheless. I know that when I am feeling down, the last thing I want to do is housework, and if my husband asks me why I didn’t do it or makes a deal out of having to do it himself, I become very bitter, very embarassed (having been home all day and accomplishing nothing), and very disinterested in intimacy. Try to notice every little positive thing she does and give her praise, but not in a patronizing way. Perhaps this will motivate her to do more.

She could also be suffering if she does not get enough exercise. See if you can get her to do some active things together.


When you were dating, what did the two of you do for fun?


Watch her closely.
What is bothering her in life?
Is she overwhelmed by work? Kids? Aging parents? Housework?
Where is her stress point?

Then work on THAT. Ask to help out! Offer an extra hand!.. but don’t offer help where YOU want to… offer it where SHE needs it.

She’ll notice.

Take it slowly… notice the little things she does and say thanks!.. then she’ll start to notice the little things you do.

One thing I love about my husband is his ability to flirt with me. It takes us back to when we were dating.
Kids are a wonderful blessing and gift of marriage… but are not the focus of the basic marital relationship. Get back to the roots of your marriage… she’ll notice.


I think Retrouvaille would be great if you could do it. If not that, then look to see what your diocese offers regarding married couple retreats or Marriage Encounter. Time away, out of your normal environment, to focus on your marriage and for her to hear how hurt you are would be good.

That’s not “spicing it up” in a physical way, but it might spice it up in a spiritual way. And, women are very much emotional, spiritual connection type people so hitting that dimension might lead to spicing it up in other ways.

There are a couple of books I can suggest (because I’m in to those kinds of books). Greg Popcak’s For Better… Forever is excellent. Also The Five Love Languages and His Needs, Her Needs are good books for couples to read together to understand the way in which the other person needs to receive love/affection.

Not everyone is motivated by the same things, so the things my DH does are not the same things that might work for you b/c your DW may have a different “love language”.

That said, if she really does suffer from depression (real depression, not just the sometimes-blues) then nothing you do can make a difference until she seeks help for the depression.

You sound like you have tried a number of things, and she is unwilling to engage in the family at all. That, to me, sounds like depression. If you’ve helped around the house, given her sincere compliments, set up special dates, done a nice back rub, etc, and she’s not responsding-- then it’s not you. It’s inside her and she has to want to fix it.

I would really recommend to your wife, woman to woman, that she read Dr. Laura’s book The Proper Care And Feeding Of Husbands-- but she might whack you over the head with it if you gave it to her yourself! Dr. Laura has a new book-- Care & Feeding of Marriage… maybe that one would work since it’s not directed at her.


Hmmm good question. I can hardly remember! We didn’t have to go out to enjoy each other. We had hot pants ya know! We just had to be in the presence of one another to enjoy our selves!


Do, I don’t really know - the good relatinoships I know, those of my friends and family, my neighbors and our own, began with shared interests. Two people might be initially attracted over just chemical attraction, that does not make for a real relationship.

Real love has one solid foot in friendship, and friendship comes from sharing an interest or a goal or a mission.

Frankly, if all you ever did when dating was pant at each other, well, now is the time to go back and build a friendship. Find something you both enjoy - movies, books, dancing, basketweaving, boating, ice hockey, something!


When hubby and I went to a Marriage Encounter weekend (years ago) the day we were driving home after the weekend was over we both commented on feeling like we did back at the beginning of our relationship. I’ve said this before on the forum when wives ask how to encourage there husbands to go to Marriage Encounter. I tell them to tell hubby it improves your sex life -because it really does. Men are generally stimulated more with the physical where as women are stimulated more with the emotional. Feeling understood is a great turn-on. You won’t be sorry.:thumbsup:


MM, let me suggest something a little different. Stop trying so hard. Sometimes one has to pick up the entire 100% of the work while the other works through problems.

I know I’d hate it if every day my wife tried to get me to change or do something different or whatever. Try to hold back and keep things low key. Let your wife know you accept her and love her.

And, don’t go back to the way things were ‘in the beginning’. This is now - find what you both enjoy now, what you what you want to do together now. Think about her and what she needs - not what she needs so she can give you what you need.


Absolutely. Do not try to “recapture” the past. It cannot be done. Love her today. Be grateful for whatever she does to love you today, and express your appreciation. Efforts that are noticed are easier to multiply. Love is not love if it is not full of gratitude.

Try to be your wife’s best friend. Whether she is up or down, ask if she wants to talk, and if she does…just LISTEN! The process is that not one of problem-solving, but that you help her come to her own conclusions by helping her clarify what it is that she is saying and what it is she wants, needs, or is thinking.

Make it a point to give her physical affection at various points of the day when sexuality is not even an option. Every morning, smile, hug her, and say good morning. Ask her how she slept. If you get up and leave the house too early, then call when she is up and do it then. When you see each other in the evening, try to be the first to ask her how her day went.

We all try to hide when we are down, so don’t blow her cover and say, “You look down.” When she is looking great, say so, but when she isn’t looking great, say, “I am so lucky to have married you. How are you doing?” (You’ll want to do this every now and then when she is looking great, too, so it doesn’t simply become a code for “You look terrible.” :wink: )

You know that as a husband, your job is to be Christ in your home. On Holy Thursday, you heard what that meant: wash the feet, attend to the needs of others before your own. If you do that, I’m thinking the return will take care of itself.

If it does not, then tell your wife that something seems amiss, and you would like to go to Marriage Encounter or get some third party to help the two of you to buff things up, in order that there might be no stone left unturned in helping you to know how to be the best husband possible for her.

By the time you have done all that, you should at least know your best course of action.


Well, in my opinion - here is the problem. Maybe it is time to actually build a marriage that is Christ-centered instead of hot-pants centered.


Don’t worry! None of that!


None of what?


I meant, don’t worry, no more hot pants!


yeah - but where is Christ?


I think that is a little unfair. He is not asking for spiritual guidance. Presuming he does not have God in his marriage or life is very uncharitable. He was asking about “Spice” in the marriage.

I know when I get married, oh boy, Can’t wait to have that SPICE!


MM, I commend you for wanting to improve your marriage. It sounds as though your wife really has no desire to do her part (or am I reading you wrong?). Y’all need to have a frank talk! She needs to realize that husbands are very important and need lots of attention.
My husband gets very cranky if I go for a spell without paying attention to him.
Just my two cents, for what it’s worth…:rolleyes:


Look at the entire post before you pull out what I said out of context and comment on the fairness of it. We have been trying to help him…he has given us interesting answers…this question of mine was hardly unfair.


I agree. That sounds like good advice.

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