It all started over a sink of dirty dishes. You swore it was his turn, and he swore it was yours. Nobody won the argument. From dishes, it escalated to the laundry, which turned into the garbage, and finally your bank account. Ouch. While you will always love your spouse, it doesn’t mean you’ll always like them. I believe (in fact, I know) that you can love the heck out of someone while still loathing them for something. Love isn’t lost by dishes or won over brunch. Love, my friends, is complicated.

Here are the lesson’s I’ve learned about loving your spouse even when you don’t like them.

1. Reminders Never Hurt

Whether it’s a love note you cherish, a wedding photo or even a text. Reminders serve to snap us back into the reality of what our relationship is rather than the temporary fight we’re working through. If you’re so inclined, try writing your partner a love note focusing on all of the things you love about them and are grateful for.How to Love Your Spouse Even When You Don't Like Them

2. Plan a Date Night

I know, this one may sound counter-intuitive, but I promise you that what may start out as gritted teeth over appetizers may turn into moonlight kisses over dessert. Sometimes simply removing yourselves from the situation that triggered the negative feelings will be enough to remind you why you were together in the first place.

3. Communicate

You knew this was coming, right? Fighting healthy is the key to an amazing marriage, and communication is a very big (okay, the biggest) part of that. If you can learn to “fight fair” and communicate in a respectful manner, you’ll be back to liking your partner as much as you love them, asap.

4. Figure out the REAL Issue

Dishes are rarely, if ever, about dishes. Dishes might be the last straw for a spouse that thinks you take advantage of them or behave like a child. In most cases, the thing we argue about isn’t actually the real issue. When you dig deeper than the argument to find it’s root, you’ll need rip it out and replant. Then you’ll find love blooming again.

5. Get Physical

No, not a brawl! I mean connect and get intimate. If you can put aside your differences for some one-on-one connection, you may surprise yourself and forget why you were struggling in the first place. It’ll also remind you why you adore the heck out of them.

6. Think in the Long-Term

Maybe right now you don’t like your spouse. Try focusing on the long-term. Will the goals, dreams and life you’ve built together still be worth it? Does picturing your life 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years from now, with your spouse, fill you with joy? Short term dislike is no match for long term love.

It’s important to not only love your spouse but to like them too. Friendship is the foundation of a strong marriage. While that may change from time to time, keep our six tips in mind to keep yourself firmly in the love zone.

Crystal Adair-Benning
After sixteen years as a Wedding Planner with Distinct Occasions, Crystal has plenty of tales. She is the author of bestseller, Wedding Planner Problems. She has been married and divorced and now happily lives in sin. World traveler and digital nomad — never far from a pineapple, palm tree and surfboard. Unicorns are her spirit animal.