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What Kills Love in a Marriage?

What Kills Love in a Marriage

Love is one of the central foundations for a happy and healthy marriage. However, love can fade or decline over time if certain relationship killers are allowed to take hold.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the top factors that can undermine love in a marriage and damage the connection between spouses if not properly addressed. By understanding what kills love, couples can work to prevent these issues and keep their relationship strong.

What Kills Love in a Marriage?

Lack of Communication

One of the biggest relationship killers is a lack of open, honest communication between partners. When spouses stop truly listening to each other and sharing their feelings, needs, and dreams, it creates distance emotionally and physically. Over time, this distance can translate to a loss of intimacy and affection.

Communication is about more than just exchanging information – it’s how couples stay interconnected on deep levels. Without regular, meaningful communication, spouses can start to feel lonely in the relationship.

They may withdraw as they feel unseen and unheard by their partner. Resentment, hurt, and anger may build up as well when issues go unresolved.

Developing strong communication requires effort from both people. Couples need to carve out regular time for undistracted conversations where each person feels comfortable sharing without judgment.

Active listening is also key so each partner feels truly heard and understood. Maintaining open communication channels helps spouses stay connected to each other on an emotional level, which in turn sustains feelings of love, care, and intimacy.

Lack of Affection

Another common love-killer is the gradual fading away of affectionate gestures like kissing, hugging, hand-holding, and other forms of non-sexual intimacy over the course of a marriage. For many couples, life gets busy raising kids, pursuing careers, and juggling responsibilities. Acts of affection may get pushed aside or seem unnecessary.

However, affection plays a vital role in bonding a couple emotionally and fostering feelings of care, security, and love. Regular affection reinforces the intimate connection between partners and stokes feelings of attraction. It’s a nonverbal way of saying “I love you” and “I’m here for you.”

When affection is missing from a relationship, spouses can start to feel lonely, unappreciated, and taken for granted by their partner. Over time, this lack of affection chips away at emotional intimacy and the feelings of security, passion, and companionship that sustain romantic love.

Couples must consciously make time for affectionate gestures each day through hugs, kisses, holding hands, and affectionate touches to maintain intimacy.

Financial Stress

Money is one of the leading causes of conflict, arguments, and stress for couples. While financial problems don’t directly cause relationship issues, the chronic stress and tension they create can undermine love over the long run.

Arguments over bills, debt, spending habits, and savings plans stir up negative emotions like frustration, resentment, and blame that carry over into other areas of the marriage.

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Financial worries also take a psychological and emotional toll on spouses. The constant stress of not having enough or fearing about the future weighs heavily on well-being and mental health.

Partners may withdraw from each other as they cope with money stress individually instead of as a united team. Lost in their own worries and anxieties, it’s easy for feelings of affection, care, and companionship to erode between spouses.

To prevent money from killing love, couples must tackle financial issues proactively through open communication, mutual understanding, and teamwork.

Having a shared plan and making responsible decisions together as a unit reduces undue stress and fosters feelings of support within the marriage. Regular check-ins also help ensure financial stresses don’t damage other areas of the relationship.


Perhaps the biggest relationship killer of all, infidelity devastates romantic trust and shatters feelings of love, care, and safety in a marriage.

When one partner engages in an extramarital affair either physically or emotionally, it violates the exclusivity and intimacy of the spousal bond. Beyond the mere act of betrayal, affairs are deeply painful because they represent a rejection of the commitment made in marriage.

Healing from infidelity, if possible at all, is an arduous process that often permanently scars the relationship. Core issues like trust, loyalty, security, and emotional fulfillment within the marriage are forever damaged.

Rebuilding these foundations to regain lost love and intimacy requires extensive counseling, honest reflection on causes, changed behaviors, and a willingness to make amends on the part of the unfaithful partner.

However, forgiveness does not always come. The wounded spouse may carry unresolved feelings of anger, shame, inadequacy, and fear of future betrayal even years later.

And these destructive emotions ultimately poison the well of love and connection between partners over the long run, leaving divorce as the only viable choice for some. Faithfulness forms the bedrock of trust within marriage – without it, the relationship crumbles.

Lack of Shared Experiences

While day-to-day routines keep a marriage functioning, sharing meaningful experiences together is what breathes life and passion into the relationship over the long haul.

Couples who prioritize shared interests, adventures, and experiences together maintain an emotional closeness rooted in fun, novelty, surprise, and personal growth that nurtures love.

However, busy lifestyles pull couples into separate orbits of work, child-rearing, hobbies, and self-improvement goals. Without conscious effort, spouses can become like roommates going through the motions of life in parallel without that sense of true companionship.

Couples must schedule time for shared experiences whether it’s traveling together, pursuing a hobby, attending events, learning together, or trying new activities – anything to foster new inside jokes, memories and that feeling of being a true team.

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While independence is important too, prioritizing regular quality time together engaging in interests and experiences as a couple prevents spouses from growing apart emotionally and falling out of love with each other through mundane routines alone. Shared memories and experiences reinforce intimacy by creating deeper emotional bonds rooted outside daily life.

Loss of Respect

Another subtle yet potent relationship killer is the gradual loss of respect between partners over time. Respect forms the bedrock of healthy relationship dynamics and is fueled through each person’s words and actions consistently demonstrating positive traits like integrity, kindness, responsibility, teamwork, and consideration for their spouse.

However, over years together, it’s easy for respect to disintegrate through behaviors like chronic criticism, contempt, controlling tendencies, dishonesty, poor conflict resolution skills, emotional immaturity, lack of accountability, or refusal to compromise and meet each other half way. Constant disrespect saps the foundation of care, trust and goodwill in a marriage.

Love cannot long survive a marriage lacking mutual respect between partners. Over time, contempt breeds resentment, defensiveness, and a general loss of regard for one’s spouse that kills emotional closeness.

To nurture respect, couples must be attentive partners, assume best intentions, communicate respectfully even during disagreements, fulfill commitments to each other, accept influence from each other, and find ways daily to demonstrate care, consideration and admiration for one another. An overall healthy dynamic of respect feeds the flame of love.

Lack of Personal Growth

While relationships are about compromise and teamwork, spouses also need to maintain independent interests, friends, and goals outside marriage to thrive long-term. Getting too enmeshed or dependent on one’s partner for fulfillment is smothering and increases risk for co-dependency issues down the line.

Maintaining separate identities through personal growth alongside the partnership fosters interestingness, independence, and experiences to enrich conversation and depth within marriage. However, some couples lose sight of cultivating their individual strengths, talents, dreams, or ongoing self-improvement outside the family unit over time.

With little new development or change inwardly, spouses risk becoming stale companions who bore each other through lack of novelty, mysteriousness or sense of personal destiny. Partners may fall out of romantic love as it seems their personal potential and that inner spark has died.

To feed love, couples must support each other’s personal goals while developing their own interesting multi-dimensional lives beyond the marriage as well. Growth, change and independence in this balanced way nurtures passion.


Any of these top factors that undermine intimacy like poor communication, lack of affection, infidelity, disrespect, or failure to prioritize the relationship over time through shared experiences can gradually kill romantic love in a marriage if left unaddressed.

However, love does not need to fade – committed couples can work proactively every day through open communication, affection, trustworthy actions, personal betterment alongside commitment to togetherness, to sustain passion.

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By understanding what really kills love, spouses gain insight into their own relationship habits and tendencies that may pose risks. From there, both people must be willing to grow, compromise when needed, and prioritize intimacy through quality time together.

With effort, any marriage can maintain a deep sense of romantic love, care, respect and partnership for a lifetime. Healthy long-term relationships require constantly nurturing that emotional bond daily through every thought, word and deed. With commitment to each other, couples can prevent love from dying in their marriage.


What is the number one cause of divorce?

Research shows lack of communication is the most commonly cited reason for divorce. When spouses stop effectively talking through issues, sharing feelings, and truly listening to understand each other, it undermines intimacy and creates distance that eventually destroys a marriage over time if unaddressed.

How can I rekindle lost passion in my marriage?

Some ways to rekindle passion include: going on romantic dates together regularly, flirting again, giving spontaneous affectionate gestures daily, trying new adventures and activities together, reconnecting physically through non-sexual intimacy at first to rebuild comfort levels, having vulnerable discussions to strengthen emotional bonds, and making your spouse feel admired through compliments. Focusing on fun, playfulness and rediscovering each other can heat things back up.

What kills the spark in a long-term relationship?

Common spark-killers include: allowing routines to take over and lose spontaneity, lack of quality time together engaged in meaningful shared experiences, allowing resentment, criticism or contempt to build up through poor communication of needs, losing touch with personal hobbies and growth to become stale companions, and prioritizing family/work responsibilities over nurturing the relationship.

How can I rekindle respect in my marriage?

Some ways to rebuild respect include addressing disrespectful behaviors through open communication, spending quality one-on-one time together, compromising to meet each other’s needs and priorities, fulfilling promises and responsibilities, showing care through aid during difficulties, engaging constructively during disagreements through active listening, expressing admiration for strengths and efforts, and accepting influence from your partner respectfully. Daily small actions build respect over time.

Is it normal to fall out of love in a long marriage?

Yes, it’s common for the intense infatuation and passion of early romance to calm into a deep companionship after many years together. However, this does not mean the meaningful love itself dies – it matures and deepens into a stable partnership. The key is nurturing intimacy through shared experiences, communication, teamwork and affection so spouses still feel profound care, respect and willingness to support each other’s happiness long-term. With effort, marital love can last a lifetime.

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