“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.—JK Rowling

marriage apathy

Most people view infidelity as the ultimate threat to marriage.

But there’s something far more dangerous because it’s so easy to ignore: apathy.

Apathy is a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, or concern. It’s a slippery slope that begins with indifference. But over time, apathy can lead to deep disconnect, roommate syndrome, a sexless marriage, or even divorce.

Apathy toward your marriage is toxic.

So what do you do when apathy has slowly spread into your marriage? You have to take action.

One of the most destructive aspects of apathy is that it doesn’t happen in a single moment.

No one wakes up thinking, “Today is the day I’m no longer going to be interested in my spouse or our marriage.”

Instead, apathy develops slowly and quietly.

It grows from a cumulation of tiny disconnects, easy distractions, shallow conversations, and the busyness of life.

When you live in the same home but no longer connect at a deep level, apathy can take hold. And it can be the beginning of the end of your marriage if you don’t take apathy seriously.

For the spouse who senses apathy from their love, it takes bravery to start the conversation. You have to love your marriage a lot to say when things are off.

For the spouse who has become apathetic, you’ll have to fight against defensiveness. Your spouse isn’t attacking you. They want you to make necessary changes that give your marriage a fighting chance.

Remember, apathy didn’t happen overnight. So you likely won’t solve it overnight, either.

It’s okay if it takes time to work through things. What’s not okay is to disengage.

Your marriage is worth saving.

To begin, you’ll need to ask yourself some hard questions about what got you to this point. For example, what are the things you’ve been holding back from your spouse? What are your patterns of apathy that have taken hold?

You may also need to consult someone beyond your spouse for insight, such as a trusted friend, coach, or therapist. With the help of a supportive third party, you can process what’s going on.

Many times, apathy starts at an individual level. And when something affects you, it affects your marriage.

You’ll need to address what’s going on inside you first. Apathy in your individual life can easily seep into your marriage. In that case, you need to find some new interests. Sign up for a class or activity you’ve never done before. Lean into creative pursuits, fitness, or community engagement.

Within your marriage, you’ll also need to take action. Take a look at what Pillars of Intimacy® have cracks because of your apathy. Then, decide what you will do to repair these areas.

This might mean intentionally putting your phone down to connect with your spouse. Alternatively, you might need to jumpstart meaningful conversations to rebuild emotional intimacy.

If your mindset needs work, you may need to say affirmations or read Scripture. Or you might need to address deeper issues, such as grief, trauma, or hurt. Get curious about yourself and why you’ve become apathetic.

Finally, commit to not staying in that place. You and your spouse never stop growing. As long as you breathe, you have a chance to improve yourselves and your marriage.

Apathy is dangerous, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your marriage.

Be courageous enough to address apathy in your marriage and strong enough to take the necessary steps to get back where you need to be.


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