How To Practice Detachment In Marriage

Is your marriage in “under construction” status? Has the honeymoon phase run its course? The early stages of marriage may be the most romantic and ideal times.

But once you settle into the responsibilities of work, homemaking, child-rearing, in-laws, and the growing familiarity with one another, the euphoric phase of marriage begins to shift.

If you and your spouse are no longer emotionally invested and living like roommates, don’t ignore it. To tackle this issue, you will need to do a lot of soul-searching, planning, talking, and counseling. Perhaps you can practice detachment before the tension reaches an overly toxic level. 

This guide provides ten ways to detach emotionally in your marriage. From there, you can decide if you want to go with the flow—or just go! 

1. Do Not Offer Unwanted Advice

Imagine feeling great in a brand new outfit and then receiving the response, “that outfit makes you look fat.“ Oh, the perils of giving advice disguised as a critique (sigh). A little nagging every once in a while is understandable.

However, unsolicited advice can put your relationship on an uneven keel. Even with good intentions, it can frustrate, disrespect, and create distance with the recipient.

According to PsychCentral, “the simplest approach to advice-giving is to ask permission before offering advice or suggestions.” There is no need to insert yourself into situations unless it is necessary. But do this responsibly. 

When giving feedback to your partner, do not focus on what “should have” happened. Instead, focus on what should happen. Advice should allow your spouse the opportunity to grow, especially if your relationship is already rocky.

2. Express Your Feelings (but Sparingly)

Cue the song “Express Yourself” because it’s time to execute some healthy communication skills. Since you’re reading this article, we see it in you already! 

Many couples find themselves arguing or in power struggles, while others don’t even attempt to communicate. The foundation of any relationship is healthy communication. Make sure you let your spouse know exactly how you feel but sparingly. Not ALL feelings need to be shared. 

When you talk to your partner, try to:

  • Talk without interruption.
  • Be aware of your tone of voice.
  • Be clear about what you want to communicate.
  • Discuss the issue and how it affects you.
  • Communicate what you want, need, and feel using ‘I’ statements.
  • Accept responsibility for your actions.
  • Practice empathy and listen to your partner.
  • Share positive feelings with your partner.
  • Negotiate and remember that you don’t have to be right all the time. You may have to agree to disagree.

When you share your feelings, encourage your partner to do the same. Open and healthy communication allows mutual understanding, a stronger bond, trust, empathy, and respected boundaries, among other benefits.

3. Understand Your Feelings Are Real and Valid

You are human. If you suddenly become overwhelmed by negative emotions with your spouse, you have a real reason to detach emotionally.

No matter what someone else thinks about your circumstance, whether mourning a loss, feeling betrayed, disrespected, or violated, those feelings are not just your imagination. Be easy enough on yourself to acknowledge and validate your own emotions. 

Try working towards achieving emotional intelligence. This starts with self-awareness, managing your emotions, holding yourself accountable, and recognizing your spouse’s emotions to understand their perspective.

Read More: What Is Emotional Abandonment In Marriage?

4. Set Boundaries

Do you have relationship rules? For example, is your partner allowed to invade your privacy, hide money, communicate violently, or give in-laws the details of your marital problems? 

Boundaries are different for every couple, and it’s important to establish limits of what you will and won’t accept. Psychology Today suggests four ways to set boundaries with your spouse.

1. Use Clear Communication.

2. Set Clear Consequences. 

3. Take Responsibility. 

4. Seek Professional Help. 

Need a reminder to set limits? Empower yourself with pre-written sticky note affirmation quotes like “Lack of boundaries invites lack of respect.” Stick it on your mirror or wall as part of your self-care routine.

5. Expect Nothing

You might want more quality time, intimacy, parenting support, or simply for him/her not to throw clothes on the floor! Accept that your spouse cannot meet all your needs. When we place expectations onto others, especially if they are unaware, we set ourselves up for disappointment.  

How can you get your needs met from someone who can’t or won’t meet that particular need? One way is to accept that, for now, your partner can’t (or chooses not to) fulfill your needs. You can stay in resentment waiting for them to change or start taking action. 

Also, be the change that you want to see. Focus on bringing what you have to the marriage and give without keeping a tally. Perhaps you will inspire your partner to reciprocate.

When you practice detachment, you let go of all expectations, frustrations, and annoyances. You simply live in your routine without allowing yourself to get caught up in the emotional turmoil of heartache and disappointment.

If your need is a firm non-negotiable (think serious matters) and you’ve exhausted all your options, then it’s time to reconsider if this marriage is worth the stress.

6. Meditate

Mindful meditation offers time to relax from stress and brings some peace and awareness.

New to meditation? You may have a million things going through your mind the first time you hear a soft voice say slowly, “Find a comfortable position and when you’re ready, close your eyes, let your mind and body be still and take a deep breath in…”. After all, you’re no zen master. 

But, it is essential to have rituals to reconnect you to inner peace amidst the chaos of your relationship. It doesn’t take long to feel the benefits of daily meditation practice.

Research has found that mindfulness can:

  • Reduce fixation on negative emotions
  • improve focus
  • improve memory
  • lessen impulsive, emotional reactions
  • improve relationship satisfaction

7. Be Respectful

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Not just a love song lyric, but something every relationship needs. Mutual respect is critical to how a marriage functions.

Showing respect means you treat your spouse thoughtfully and courteously. Respect is lost when you experience unresolved conflict, anger, frustration, negativity, a blame game, and other negative interactions.

Lack of respect can destroy a marriage leading to an unhappy life. However, you can still practice emotional detachment in your relationship while showing respect. According to, here are a few tips to re-establish a respectful partnership. 

  1. Focus on your behavior (Treat your partner with respect)
  2. Tolerate, appreciate and accept differences
  3. Stop trying to change your spouse

8. Forgive Yourself

Regret, shame, and guilt can paralyze you from moving forward with your life. Do you feel like you married the wrong person and you’re in too deep? Perhaps you feel obligated to stay for financial reasons or the children you share. 

First, look in the mirror and apologize to yourself. Stressing out about the past, present, or future is unhealthy. 

For whatever reason you feel stress in your marriage, the first step toward healing is self-forgiveness. Forgiveness helps grow emotionally and physically. Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that forgiveness can:

  • lower the risk of heart attack
  • reduce blood pressure
  • improve cholesterol levels
  • reduce levels of anxiety, depression, and stress

Further Reading: How Does Divorce Affect A Woman?

9. Invest in You

Self-identity is very important whether married or single. Once you detach from an unhappy marriage, you can start shifting your focus to things that make you happy. Most importantly, start doing what you love or developing areas in your life you previously neglected.

Find a hobby or channel your passions. If extra income is a perk, now is the time to consider a second job or short-term project.

Reward yourself by doing something you enjoy. Maybe it’s reading a book, going to the spa, incorporating a fitness routine, decorating, gardening, trying healthier recipes, relaxing on the beach, or going to brunch.

You can also reconnect with yourself by:

  • Becoming the best parent possible
  • Performing well at work
  • Developing closer friendships
  • Taking better care of yourself

10. Get Help

If you struggle with the steps above to achieve emotional detachment, consider getting professional help. A professional counselor can help you with healthy communication that can help your marriage. 

Are you considering couples counseling with your spouse? The great thing about couples therapy is how the professional looks at each person and provides practical tools based on evidence-based research.

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy focuses on motions and patterns in the relationship. “EFT encourages both partners to become accessible, responsive, and emotionally engaged.”

If your partner is unwilling to go with you, that’s fine. Seek therapy on your own to help you restore your perspective, peace, and a healthier version of yourself. There’s nothing more attractive than a person who’s centered, confident, and able to stand alone when needed.

Final Thoughts

You took the vow for better or worse, but will you be able to practice detachment in your marriage, if necessary? After you do the work to reconnect emotionally, you will surely know what to do next.