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30 Days Back to Love

Week Two: Revisit historic sites continued...

If he has always been the family disciplinarian while you provide warmth and support, think together about why you gravitated toward those tasks. For the next few days, see how it feels to set limits, while your husband spends some time gently inviting your kids to open up to him about what's on their minds.

Maybe you'll discover that your husband doesn't really like the conservative, safe profession he's clung to. Maybe you'll suddenly understand the underlying self-doubt that ties him to his desk. Perhaps you will help him decide to start thinking about a career change. And maybe you'll be able to share your own anxiety, which keeps you moving from project to project, just like you moved from one city to another as a young girl.

If you help each other grow beyond the roles you've each been playing in the relationship, and in your lives, you'll both be growing. Just as important, you'll be growing together.

Week Three: Expect a few bumps and curves

After two weeks and three steps, there's a good chance you are starting to put your finger on issues that have created distance or are draining energy from your relationship. Rather than leaving your marriage on cruise control, you've shifted into a higher gear and you are getting excited about the next leg of the journey. You are seeing your husband (and he's starting to see you) anew. Don't stop now.

Step 4. Reveal one (or more) of the secrets you've held back

Almost every wife and every husband keeps secrets from the other — some related to recent events and some related to more distant ones. Choose a couple and share them. It could be something that makes you cringe or cry that you've never dared talk about before. Did you lose a friend you cherished? Did you wish your relationship with a parent were different? Did you betray someone's trust, or were you let down by someone you trusted? Dig deep and talk about your feelings and how the event changed you.

One of my clients hadn't told her husband that, as a child, her classmates had made fun of her for being overweight. Another had never admitted that she had always wanted to act, not practice law. A third had lived through the death of a sibling and never shared just how painful it had been. Swapping secrets builds intimacy. Just be careful that the ones you share now aren't threatening. If you secretly feel attracted to your husband's best friend, this isn't the time to admit it.

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