"We're nothing more than roommates anymore."
"I don't have any feelings left for you; you feel like nothing more than a roommate now."
It's a dreadful place to get to. So empty. So full of regrets. And it happens to a lot of couples, so let's talk about how it happens, how to avoid it, and how to recover from it.
Here, in a nutshell, is how to avoid it: Expect Love. I have said this in many blog posts, about many topics, but it fits this one like a glove. When you Expect Love, you let go of expecting things that once looked like signposts of love. You recognize that the way a movie director signals two people love each other is not the way real people show love, which is always far more personal.
I believe the way many couples end up nothing more than roommates is by expecting a good roommate. A good roommate is considerate. A good roommate avoids annoying you, often by creating emotional and physical distance between you. And if you lecture or scold your roommate, a good one will often go find a better roommate.
A spouse loves you. A spouse is your equal, not someone you lecture or scold. A spouse has vowed to stay even when you're not well enough to do your share of the housework or when you're too poor to chip in for expenses. And though it's often not easy, a spouse wants to remain physically and emotionally close, even if it means being a rotten roommate.
Expect a good roommate, get just a roommate. Expect Love and find Third Alternatives to deal with your differences of opinion on what makes a good roommate and you'll get a long-lasting, fulfilling marriage.