How to Counteract Marital Malaise

“Why am I so exhausted tonight?” my husband asked as he collapsed on the hotel bed. We’d taken a few days off to celebrate his birthday and recover from a very busy month at work.

I yawned in response, “We cheated on the diet twice today. Remember?” For 4 months, we’d towed the line and eliminated sugar and bad carbohydrates. Our new-found dedication to healthy eating began on a rainy day in February when I drove my husband to the ER. A sore throat had morphed into a cold that quickly escalated into pneumonia. He’d felt a little off for days, but his immune system had gone on vacation. The doctor explained that his blood test had revealed off the chart high blood sugar. His whole body was polluted by an invisible infection.

I’ve learned not to ignore a tickle in my throat. It’s my body sounding an alarm. When I start to feel a little off, I no longer take it lightly. I take action.

I am starting to recognize the warning signs in my marriage as well. Some days, it seems like a marital malaise has invaded my home. I can’t pinpoint the poison, but the health and vitality of our relationship is in danger.

When I slow down to examine and address the root cause, it usually stems from one of these pesky tormentors:

  • Our Busy Schedule: When the calendar starts to look like a battle plan with minefields scattered across the terrain, we forget to savor the sacred gift of being together today in this moment. We are too occupied with crossing things off our to-do list, keeping up with the Joneses, and fighting traffic.
  • Our Brokenness: I am a sinner, and my husband is also a sinner. Sin drags you down and debilitates your passion and purpose. If we keep pushing forward in the flesh, a collapse is coming soon.
  • Our Brood: My family of origin is somewhat dysfunctional, and I bet yours is not perfect either. I love my crazy relatives, but sometimes, they suck the life right out of me. Spending time with your family can feel like an itchy fungus that keeps re-surfacing no matter what salve you apply.
  • The Bully: Never forget that the enemy of your soul hates your marriage. His plan is to keep you in a “funk” permanently. He creeps in stealthily and injects bitterness, anger, and fear into your blood system to lull you into a comatose state.

I am responsible for the health of my marriage. Choosing to ignore the signs is never wise. I must be proactive about addressing marital malaise.

4 Remedies for Marital Malaise

  1. Plan: Set a time to meet with your spouse weekly to review your calendar and commitments. Discuss what is working and what needs to be eliminated to give you breathing room for rest and quality time together.
  2. Pray: Rather than point an accusing finger at each other, pray for God to enlighten and reinvigorate the areas of weakness in your character. Ask Him to repair what is broken and to uproot strongholds from your past that may be impacting your well-being as a couple. Couples who pray out loud together every day are applying a balm to their hearts that will soothe their troubles and increase their vitality.
  3. Play: Laughter is a medicine for your marriage. Make time each day to do silly things together that will energize you as a couple. Put on some music and dance in the kitchen. You will feel better.
  4. Persist: Marital malaise is a temporary discomfort. Determine to hold each other up and push through the pain until you regain your strength and joy.

If your marriage is lacking the energy it used to, don’t settle for unhealthy. Assess the root problem and take practical steps to restore your intimacy. Simple adjustments can recalibrate your marriage and transform your outlook.


A life-long educator and mentor, Lyli Dunbar serves as Associate Director of Curriculum and Chair of the Department of Liberal Arts at Trinity International University Florida. She married her Prince Charming in her 40’s and has a heart for encouraging singles in God’s waiting room and connecting with other couples through a weekly small group in her home. Lyli enjoys traveling with her husband, laughing with good friends, and reading a well-written novel in her free time. Connect with Lyli through her blog at or on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 Start Marriage Right. Disclaimer