Everyone told me the first year of marriage would be the hardest, but that wasn't my experience. Having lived with my husband for two years before we were married, we had some time to work out the merging-our-lives kinks. Looking back on our 14 years together, there have been some clear highs and lows; times when we were closer and times we had to work hard to keep our bond tight. The key to keeping your marriage strong isn't difficult; it starts with noticing the signs your marriage is in a rut and then figuring out how to overcome these roadblocks.

Lots of stressors can add strain to a marriage. Having kids, work, moving, losing someone you love — any of life's significant events can weigh heavily on your relationship with your spouse. But sometimes it's just the everyday minutia that starts to water down the spice your marriage once had. It can sneak up from behind and cause you to look over your shoulder, glancing back at your relationship and making you nostalgic for those days you stayed up until 3 a.m. talking and laughing.

Experiencing a dip in your marriage doesn't mean the thrill is gone forever, it just means you need to call attention to that area of your relationship and get cracking on ways to fix it. If you're noticing any of these 11 common signs of marriage rut, plan to talk with your spouse about bringing back the spice.

1. You're Bored


Not every night can be the best night ever, but if you find yourself bored with your spouse more often than not, you'll want to explore ways to change that. According to Psychology Today, partners who feel bored when together tend to drift apart. This is one rut that, if left unattended, could lead to more serious issues.

2. Your Phone Is More Fun


When you finally have some time alone with your partner, but you're both staring at your phone, it's time to take notice. My husband and I try to stick to the rule of no phones when it's just the two of us, whether we're out on a date of just sitting on the couch when the kids are in bed. Not having that distraction forces us to talk and laugh and catch up with one another.

3. You're Not Taking Responsibility


If you and your spouse are having trouble moving past conflict, it's a sign you're in a rut. Experiencing a marriage rut usually takes two, and as the website for O magazine pointed out, not handling conflict in an effective way keeps your relationship stuck in that rut.

4. You're In A Sex Rut


Marriage dips and sex ruts tend to go hand in hand. According to Glamour magazine, sex is an important piece of keeping a relationship alive. Not having sex, or avoiding intimacy with your spouse means something needs to change if you want to have a strong relationship.

5. You're Jealous Of TV Couples


Does watching a show with two teens in love make you wish you were young and dating again? Pining for that special loving feeling and wishing you still felt those butterflies is a good signs you're in a a rut

6. Your Fights Are Repetitious


Bickering over the same old things? Chances are, you're in rut-ville. As Women's Health magazine pointed out, having the same fights over and over means your relationship is stuck, and the conflict is definitely not being resolved.

7. You Don't Have Date Nights


It doesn't have to be something spectacular, but spending one-on-one time with your spouse helps build up your marriage. According to Real Simple magazine, going too long without a date night puts a strain on your relationship. So bust out the calendar and get something on the books before another weekend comes and goes.

8. You're Low On Affection


You don't need an hour-long make out session to keep the flame burning in your relationship, it just takes some simple affection. Hugging, kissing, and cuddling are a few of the ways Prevention magazine suggested for creating a close feeling between you and your partner. If you can't remember the last time you had a even a little pack on the cheek, you're marriage needs a literal hands on approach to pull out of this rut.

9. You Only Talk Business


It's easy to get wrapped up in chatting about the business of family and kids when you have a quiet moment with your spouse, but if you have nothing else to talk about except schedules, you have a problem on your hands. As Today pointed out, keeping the topics off of kids and home life helps keep your marriage fresh and fun.

10. You Don't Feel Friendly


If you wouldn't choose your spouse as someone to be friends with, you're relationship is suffering from a rut. Connecting as friends plays a huge role in marriage longevity, according to Psychology Today, and is needed to sustain a long term relationship.

11. You Don't Take Time Apart


It might sound backwards, but the reason for your rut may be too much time together. As Psych Central reported, spending time apart from your partner gives you both a chance to grow individually in ways that could eventually bring you two closer.