All posts by Kim Bowen

Marriage Problems? You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling. Here’s How to fix it.

Marriage Problems: lost that loving feeling, when you don't love your spouse anymoreSo many of the marriage problems I see are because one spouse just doesn’t “FEEL” in love anymore.

So you think you’ve lost that loving feeling?

I don’t mean to be disrespectful…but so what?

This won’t be my most popular post, and I am expecting some backlash but I can’t hold this in any longer.  

So many of the marriage problems I see are because one spouse just doesn’t “FEEL” in love anymore.

What can you do when you don’t feel love for your spouse?

Trust me on this folks–it’s going to happen.  

And it can get scary when those feelings are gone for more than a few days or weeks. Sometimes they can be gone for a really long time.  Maybe even years.  

Then we start to question whether this person we are with is the “right” person.  

We love them but we aren’t in love with them.  Click here to read more on finding the right person.  

Well guess what?  

You didn’t agree to stay married to your spouse until you didn’t feel love anymore.  

You made promises.  

You made commitments.  

You may even have brought children into the equation.  

What about them and your commitment as a family?

Do you realize it is much harder to end a business partnership than it is to dissolve a marriage? Isn’t that absurd?

Here are some reasons I often hear for ending a marriage:

You don’t want to stay married just for the kids.

I often hear this as the excuse people give when they want to leave their marriage.  I get it. You love your kids but staying in an unhappy marriage for the kids’ sake?  No way!  

The next rationale I usually hear is how seeing the parents unhappy together is way worse than having their family split apart.  

Well here is the thing: there is another option.  Fight for a better marriage…for the kids!  

Nothing is healthier for your kids than a healthy marriage.  

Don’t choose between two damaging choices when there is a healing choice available.  

You have tried counseling for your marriage problems, and it didn’t work.

This is hard.  Counseling is draining emotionally and financially.  But if you are physically sick, you keep going to doctors and trying different medicines until you are well.  Why wouldn’t you fight as hard to get the most important relationship of your life well?  

If counseling didn’t work, find another counselor.  

If things didn’t get better because your spouse refuses to change, that’s another matter entirely.  

But honestly, I rarely see this happen.  I usually see one very motivated person who is willing to do anything and one who wants out because they don’t feel it anymore.

You aren’t sure you really ever loved your spouse, so there isn’t anything to rebuild.

Here is another “so what” issue.  Ever heard the phrase “love the one you’re with?”  Or how about “Dance with the one who brought you.”  

Ok, I’ll stop with the country music lyrics.  But you get the point.  

There is all kinds of research that also shows that feeling unhappy in a relationship for a long period of time causes you to rewrite history.  

The fact that you truly cannot imagine ever really loving your spouse becomes real in your own mind.  The mind has amazing capabilities to create narratives that have very little to do with reality.  

You’ve been telling your spouse how unhappy you have been for years, and nothing has changed.

Well, here is a fascinating phenomenon:  You tell your spouse you are unhappy, and nothing changes. And then you tell them you want a divorce and BAM!  They are suddenly very eager to do whatever it takes to fix marriage problems.  

And then you get mad because it took you threatening to leave before they changed.  You feel you shouldn’t have had to get to that point.

You feel if your spouse loved you, they would want to fix your unhappiness.  

In a perfect world maybe.  But you aren’t living in a perfect world, and most people need the threat of something unpleasant to really change themselves.  

Here’s where you went wrong: you put up with bad behavior or emotional distance for so long without any consequences, because you were afraid you might have to follow through.  

It took years of misery before you weren’t so afraid any more.  Don’t be mad at your spouse for holding to a toxic pattern when you have enabled him or her.  You needed motivation before you changed how you showed up in your marriage, and your spouse needed the same kick in the pants.  

You allowed it to take years because you stayed.  

I have been teaching clients for years that love is more than a feeling.  

It is a commitment to act lovingly even when the feelings aren’t there.  

It boggles my mind that we think it is perfectly normal to divorce when we don’t feel in love, but we are expected to do other things whether we feel like it or not.

How many days do you feel like getting up when the alarm goes off?  

How often do you feel like going to work?  

What if you changed jobs every time you realized you didn’t like going to work?  

How often do you feel like forgiving someone who wronged you, yet you do it anyway because you know it is the healthiest option?  

What about your kids?  Do you feel “in love” with them every day?  

I have teenagers.  

I can’t wake up one morning and divorce my kids because I’m not feeling passionate about being their mom.  

Your spouse is your FAMILY.  

You don’t divorce your family unless there is abuse.  

Why do marriages get an easier out?  

Marriages are the very foundation of families.  If you think this makes marriage sound like hard work and love isn’t supposed to be hard, click here.

The most damaging thing you can do is look outside the marriage for all the things you aren’t getting from your spouse.  

You meet someone who excites you and causes your heart to pound just by getting their texts.  

This person makes you feel alive while being around your spouse drains you.  

The more emotionally and/or physically involved you get with this new person, the less love you feel for your spouse.  

In fact, you feel angry because your spouse isn’t making you happy.  

Your spouse isn’t affectionate enough, or generous enough, or (fill in the blank) enough.  

That anger helps you justify what you are doing.   

But let me give you a reality check.  

There is nothing your spouse is or isn’t doing that justifies having an affair.  


Affairs are fantasies for people who are afraid to grow up.

Not everyone who loses the loving feeling will have an affair.  

Many just check out of the marriage.  Don’t do it.  

Don’t give in to feelings of hurt and hopelessness.  

Commit to doing whatever it takes to have a vital, connected, loving marriage.

Here is the thing about feelings: they come and they go.  They change.  They intensify and then wane.  

Love is so much more than a feeling.

But it often does include feelings of warmth, compassion, lust and longing–those feelings aren’t mystical.  They can be created and re-created by strengthening the bond between you.  

We know how to recreate the feelings most people associate with love.

At The Marriage Place, we can help you feel connected again.  We can show you how to find those feelings that are gone.  Even if your spouse won’t come with you.  Make an appointment HERE.  

You can start creating the relationship you want today.

Image source: IMDB

When Love Hurts: Abusive Relationships

When you think of abusive relationships, you probably envision physical beatings and bruises.  No doubt that is one form of abuse I see.  But to be honest, it isn’t what I see most often.  More than anything else, I see verbal abuse and emotional abuse.  What I try to get my clients to see is that this type of abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse.

I was interviewed by Peter Kowalke for Mind Body Green last month.  Here is a snippet of that interview where I explain how to stop this kind of abuse.  If you want more information call us at 972-441-4432 or email us here.  We will be happy to set up an appointment with a coach or a counselor who can help you learn how to bring some calmness and peace back in your home.


FAQ: “Why Is Marriage So Hard?”

Why is marriage so hard?Today we’re answering one of the most frequently asked questions: “Why Is Marriage So Hard?”

If you think marriage is easy, you may not be doing it right.

Falling in love.

Committing to a lifetime together.

Sex.  Kids.  Bills.  Vacations.  Yard work.  Sickness.  Inlaws.  Outlaws.  

It’s all part of this thing we call marriage.

Day by day we build complicated lives: intermingling finances, assets and DNA to create our family structures.  

We live together in confined spaces navigating through different personality traits and annoying pet peeves with each of us carrying our own vast assortment of insecurities, fears and past woundings.  

What could possibly go wrong in marriage?!

Trust me on this: plenty goes wrong. And with annoying frequency.  

It usually looks like a blending of blaming, criticizing, bullying, intimidation, obsessing, worrying, fear, anxiety, depression, addiction, avoidance, people pleasing, anger, controlling, resentment and lying just to name a few.    

This is why it amazes me when someone says marriage shouldn’t be hard. How in the world can it NOT be hard?  

Why is marriage so hard? Because it is work.  

The work is learning how to merge together, while softening each of your edges.  

It is being together enough to work as a team in harmony, yet separate enough to maintain your individuality.  

The work of marriage is a deep, soul changing work on each person individually.  

Not to change your partner but to learn to adapt to your partner.  

It’s about changing YOU because in that adapting, you learn about yourself and how you show up in the world.  

Marriage is a great vehicle to doing the hard work of growing yourself up emotionally.  

Marriage is work, because it is a constant introspection into your behaviors, thoughts and emotions to see where you are off relationally.  

Otherwise, you and your spouse are simply reacting to one another instead of intentionally moving toward each other.

We always say at The Marriage Place that intimacy is “into me you see”.  Intimacy is about revealing the truth about who you are, what you feel, how you think, and doing it in respectful ways. (That’s the key, here.)

Why do we hide?

Most of us hide so much of ourselves for fear of being judged or being found somehow less worthy.  But when we do this we don’t allow our partner the chance to grow themselves or to grow closer to us.

All of us long for mature love that accepts us without judgment.

But very few of us know how to get or give that kind of love.  

So we engage in behaviors to try and ensure we get what we so desperately seek.  

There are several behaviors which often cause the problems I see in marriage counseling each week.

Why is marriage so hard? 5 behaviors that hurt our marriages.

Oftentimes without realizing, we engage in disruptive behaviors to get what we want from our spouse.

This may look like any one of these behaviors:

1. Clinging

Anytime we try and get more from someone then they are willing or able to give we are clinging.  This includes more time, more money, more praise and more affection.

2.  Controlling

We are controlling people when we try and modify their behavior by using guilt, anger, intimidation, and emotional withdrawal.

3. Lying

We lie when we hide or diminish our mistakes, flaws and fears to avoid people withdrawing their approval.  

We lie by accentuating our positive qualities so other people will like us.  

We lie when we give false praise or we do not accept responsibility for our mistakes.  

4. Running

An effective way to diminish pain is simply to withdraw from it.  

We are running when we physically or emotionally leave or avoid difficult situations or relationships.  

Avoiding behaviors can be drinking, drugs, outside relationships, the silent treatment, working too much, hobbies, even time spent with our kids.  

Whatever allows us to avoid the relationship that needs our attention.

5. Acting like a victim

When we blame others for our unhappiness, we are taking the victim role.  

We may not like the choices we have when someone behaves badly, but ultimately we are responsible for our actions whether we stay and put up with it or we leave it.  

Getting mad at our partner for forcing us to make the choice is blaming them and keeps us stuck.  

Grudgingly going along in your life as if there is no solution to your problems is taking the victim role.

Learning how to step out of this role is often the most liberating, empowering, life changing move a person can make.

If you are doing any of these behaviors, you have some emotional growing up to do.  Your marriage is going to be hard until you do the work.  

I know someone who is very entrenched in controlling behaviors.  He thinks his marriage is easy because he gets his way a lot.  But his spouse thinks the marriage is hard.  Very hard.

What can I do about a difficult marriage?

If you want a good marriage, don’t worry about changing your partner.  

Focus on changing YOU.  

That is your work for a better relationship with anyone else.  

Once you change you, your spouse has to change as a result.  

It’s like doing a dance.  

You are both fox trotting through life and then one of you starts to waltz.  

Your partner may stumble a bit.  

He or she may feel confused or even angry but they cannot continue the fox trot.  

Waiting for your partner to change is why people feel hopeless about their marriages getting better.  

Stop waiting.  Start doing the work of growing yourself up.  

At The Marriage Place we can help you do that.  Whether you live locally in the Dallas area or in another country, we have coaches and counselors who can work with you face-to-face or over the phone or Skype.  

A better marriage begins with a better you.

Contact us today online or on the phone at (972) 441-4432

Why Should I Stay Married?

stay married

Why Should I Stay Married

My husband and I are clearing out clutter. It is a time consuming adventure into the past.  We started by just going through stacks of books and piles of paper trying to sort them into more organized stacks and piles we labeled keep, toss or give away.  

But we get easily sidetracked when we come across a card one of our children wrote us when they were little, or pictures of our boys when they were babies.  

Today we came across some real gems.  

A letter my son, Thomas, wrote me when he was little:

“Mommy, I hope the surjry tomorow goes ok.  Remember, if God wants you to live you will.  Love, Thomas.”

Then there was this: the wedding dress I wore more than 26 years ago.  

why I want to stay married

The most amazing thing is that it still fits!  But just barely.  

And we found many books we read to our kids when they were small–like these from Sandra Boynton.  

Why Should I Stay Married?

So many memories.

Why Should I Stay Married?

But when we got to this book, my husband and I started laughing loudly and we literally recited the entire book from cover to cover from memory! That’s how often we read this to our boys, who are now 19 and 17.  

We talked about how we cherish these books and how we will save them to read to our grandchildren.

And then it hit me.  

What if I had chosen not to stay married, when it seemed hopeless?  

There would be no shared moments of reading these same precious books to our grandkids.  

In fact, there would be very few shared moments with our kids and grandkids at all after divorce.  

And when coming together is forced through some big celebration or ceremony, everyone feels awkward and tense.   

When the boys are married and have their own families, they would have to make the obligatory holiday rounds so they have time with each parent separately.  

Then I wondered how they would feel about a stepmom or a stepdad?  

What if they didn’t get along?  

And what if their wives’ parents were also divorced?  

Now there are four families.  What a mess!  

What a complicated, entangled legacy to leave my kids!

Why I Chose to Stay Married

I stopped in that moment of cleaning out, and I put my hands on my dear husband’s shoulders.

I thanked him for never giving up on us.  

I told him I want to grow old with him and grandparent with him.

I told him I would marry him again.  

Pretty amazing when you consider there was a time I wanted out and was convinced I would never be able to love him again, much less stay married.

But I do love him.  With every fiber in my being.  I love him.

We laugh a lot now.  We have overcome so much.  

We have finally figured out this thing called marriage and discovered it really can be wonderful and passionate and fun.  Even after 26 years.  

There was a time when I viewed my marriage with the same critical eye I’m using on my household clutter.  

Except the marriage almost went into the “throw away” pile.  

I was so unhappy, I couldn’t see what the future would hold for me or my kids if I did divorce their dad.  

Even more unhappiness.  

My marriage was making me unhappy, but divorce wasn’t the answer.  Putting my marriage on hold and getting authentic, honest counseling was what made the difference. I divorced my old marriage and built a new one.

Our marriage almost died from a thousand paper cuts, instead of one big event or trauma. Click To Tweet

And it was put back together in the same way.

Small repairs and movements toward each other that over time, created this beautiful marriage we now treasure.

And you know what?

You can stay married, too.

I know this not from books or clinical research, but from my own real life experience.  

Your marriage is worth fighting for even if your spouse is done.  

Divorce is not the easy way out.  

It is a complicated mess especially if you have kids.  

If you want a different legacy for your kids, fight for it.

We know how to help you do that.  Contact us here.

Or call us at (972) 441-4432. 

Fighting for your marriage is exhausting, but the pain of divorce lasts a lifetime.

Pornography Problems: a Cultural Epidemic & Crisis

The problem with pornography addiction

Pornography problems.

They’re bigger than you might think.

TIME Magazine’s cover story from the week of April 11, 2016 states that “A growing number of young men are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents.” also sites the article with the following subheading:  “The first generation of men who grew up with unlimited online porn sound the alarm”

“These young men feel like unwitting guinea pigs in a largely unmonitored decade-long experiment in sexual conditioning. The results of the experiment, they claim, are literally a downer.” (TIME)

Ironically though, TIME Magazine used pornographic images to accompany the story.

Dr. Jim Dennison recently wrote this in his daily cultural commentary piece dated April 6, 2016:

The photographs that accompany the article are “totally unnecessary to the story. I cannot think of a rationale that defends including them. I can only assume that whoever made this decision thought their graphic nature would sell more magazines. If so, Time is using sexual images to make money, which makes its magazine pornography…This is like offering whiskey at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.”

The Problems with Pornography Use

Dennison also discusses the scientific evidence that indicates that watching pornography causes brain damage, not to mention that it’s highly addictive.

We know that porn is often linked with lower sex drives. The irony here is that it is often used by couples to enhance their sex lives, and in the beginning it sure seems to do just that. But this is a danger zone. Marriage doesn’t solve pornography use, but pornography can destroy a marriage.

One Couple’s Story: A Pornography Problem

Mark and Susan watched pornography videos together because both of them felt it heightened their sexual experience.  

Mark enjoyed watching Susan get turned on by what was happening on the screen. Neither felt there was anything wrong with what they were doing because they were doing it together and they were having better sex!  

But over time, Susan became less interested in the videos.  She began feeling as if she and Mark were never having sex without them, and there was less intimacy when they did have sex.  

Mark knew Susan was starting to get turned off by the process, so he began viewing porn alone.  He and Susan were having sex less and less often so he felt justified in turning to outside sources for gratification.

 They came to see me when Susan realized just how much porn Mark was viewing and that he had begun entering chat rooms to have sexual conversations with other people.

Mark and Susan were caught up in the vicious cycle that is the beginning of a full blown sexual addiction that could have destroyed their marriage.

Get Help for Your Pornography Problem

If you have a pornography addiction, we can help. Many of our counselors and coaches have helped porn addicts break the cycle, and some of our staff have battled this addiction themselves. Eric Tooley shares his experience here.  Now Eric leads a non-profit organization, Noble Choices, and teaches seminars around the country to schools and churches on the dangers of porn to both men and women.

Reaching out because you are struggling with porn is often intimidating, shameful and scary but we promise you that working with us is very private, discreet and effective.  

Contact us online or by phone at (972) 441-4432. 

Not Having Sex? 6 Possible Reasons for a Sexless Marriage

You Are Not Having Sex.

At least that is what the statistics report.

Married couples are simply not having sex.

A marriage is considered sexless if the couple is only having sex on average once a month or less. By some reports, 15% to 20% of marriages are sexless.

It isn’t just the women who are saying no, either. There seem to be plenty of men who are avoiding physical intimacy with their wives. 20 to 30 percent of men and 30 to 50 percent of women say they have little or no sex drive. — USA Today

Married Couples are Not Having Sex

The “low sex” category is even greater.

This means having sex once or twice a month.

While there is no specific guideline on how much sex is the right amount, couples who have it on average of once a week seem to report the greatest levels of satisfaction in their marriages.

I work with couples every week, and I’m amazed at how many of them are going months and years without sex. Years!

I just don’t think we are talking enough about this problem.

These types of marriages can go on this way until the partner who wants to have sex has had enough, and gives the ultimatum that the relationship is over unless the problem is dealt with. That’s usually what it takes to get the lower desire partner in my office.

There are many reasons why a couple is not having sex.

A low sex drive can certainly have a physical and biochemical component. Hormones play a huge part in how much you want sex. Some women have problems with painful sex as well. But honestly, physical reasons are rarely the cause for the sexless marriages I see in my office.

Sometimes it is an undisclosed affair or emotional infatuation with someone else. But most often, it is something going wrong in the relationship dynamics of daily living. Here I’ve listed the ones I come across most often.

6 reasons couples are not having sex

Six Possible Reasons Why You Are Not Having Sex

Number One: You’re too busy and too tired

Sex comes from abundance. When you are depleted, there is nothing left to give. Some spouses are parents, students, volunteers and employees. There simply isn’t enough energy for sex and that is a problem. If this is your situation, you may have to be strict in protecting your time and resources and become a master at saying “no.”

I’m the worst at self-care, so I get it, but I also know when I don’t leave enough margin in my life for relaxation, I usually hit a wall that forces me to slow down. So these days, I’m forcing myself to have down time.

Number Two: There is resentment in the marriage

I see this one a lot. If your spouse isn’t wanting sex, ask yourself this question: “What has my spouse been wanting or needing from me that I am not giving?”

Does your wife want you to help more around the house?

Does your husband want you to curb your spending?

Resentment can start with the little things, and if they aren’t dealt with openly, the resentment will eat away at passion. Trust me on this one.

Just because it isn’t a big deal for you, doesn’t mean your spouse isn’t upset.

I just met with a client who now wants a divorce because he doesn’t feel in love with his wife. She really hurt his feelings 10 years ago, and he never worked it out with her. He never even told her his feelings were hurt. He built up so much resentment he shut her out emotionally. Resentment kills relationships! Don’t let it happen to yours.

Avoid resentment with two simple techniques:

1. Talk about it.

Do not expect your spouse to read your mind, pick up on cues, or just know what you are needing or feeling.

Relationships are about constant negotiation.

If something isn’t working for you, re-negotiate!

2. Put action behind requests.

If your spouse isn’t willing to meet you in the middle, stop settling for less and getting angry about your position. Learn how to set limits without being controlling that will actually protect the relationship.

Number 3: Criticism and Complaints

I see a lot of critical spouses.

When women are critical of men, it almost always kills the men’s sex drives.

Men have so much performance anxiety anyway. If a man feels heavily criticized by his mate, he will shut down. Besides, who wants to take their clothes off around someone who is never satisfied?

If you are in a sexless marriage, pay attention to how much complaining or criticizing you are doing.

Don’t approach your partner from a position of complaint which focuses on what they are doing wrong or not doing well. Instead, focus on what you like and ask for more of that.

For example, if your spouse is coming home late without a heads up, instead of saying “You never let me know when you are coming home!” Instead say “When you call me and let me know you are running late, it tells me you value my time, and that makes me feel loved by you.”

Number Four: Bad technique

I’ve said this a hundred times and I’ll say it again:

For a man to have good sex, he just requires a woman who looks and acts like she is enjoying it.

For women to have good sex, she requires good technique.

Great books on sex to explore:

Number Five: Porn Addiction

Porn is often linked with lower sex drives. The irony here is that it is often used by couple to enhance their sex lives, and in the beginning it sure seems to do just that. But this is a danger zone. Marriage doesn’t solve pornography use, but pornography can destroy a marriage.

Curious to know what happens when you look at porn? Click here to learn more about the studies being done on Your Brain On Porn.

Number Six: A Needy Partner

When a partner is emotionally needy, it drains the relationship quickly.

If you are depending on your partner to bolster your self-esteem, to frequently reassure you that you are ok, or to help you manage your own emotions on a regular basis, you are too needy.

It is very likely that you and your partner are co-dependent and that is a big problem. Co-dependence creates addictive relationships that can become toxic. I recommend Pia Mellody’s Facing Codependence.

Are you in a sexless marriage? Time to make a change.

Sex is important.

If you or your partner feels you aren’t getting enough of it, something needs to be done.

I’ve never yet met a couple where the high desire spouse wasn’t feeling resentful and angry about all the sex he or she wasn’t getting.

The low desire spouse has all the control, and it doesn’t feel good to be constantly rejected.

Then all non-sexual physical touch also goes away.

The low desire spouse is afraid to cuddle because they don’t want it to lead to sex. They are afraid a back rub will “lead to something else,” so you wind up in a marriage without any physical affection!

I’ve seen many couples where one of them really doesn’t care to ever have sex again. If this is your partner, it may be time to give them an ultimatum.

Do it before you don’t care anymore.

I’ve seen too many times when the rejected spouse put up with it, until they finally decided they wanted out and nothing could persuade them to try again.

There simply was too much hurt and rejection.

And the irony is the lower desire spouse almost always says, “I didn’t know it was that painful for you. If you had told me years ago, I would have changed something”.

If you are in a sexless marriage, and you are unhappy about it, raise the alarm and do it LOUDLY!

Contact Us

Contact us and let us work with you to help you build a healthy sexual relationship. If you aren’t local, our coaches can work with you over the phone – which some clients prefer because it feels more anonymous to them.

Just stop ignoring the fact you are not having sex!