The “feelings” of love disappear as the difficulties of life take over. So how can you and your spouse learn to love each other again?
FAQ: I am no longer in love with my husband. In fact, I don’t believe I ever loved him. Wouldn’t it be better for both of us if we get a divorce?
Dr. E says: Can I lovingly challenge you? You are hurting and are about to make a major and I believe a wrong decision. Pull back. I cannot justify a divorce based on your report here.
We live in a culture where feelings determine everything. You may have fallen victim to this and now feel overwhelmed by what appears as total darkness and despair.
We can learn to love again.
We know that a person can learn to love and that love does develop and deepen over time. In fact, even couples who are madly infatuated with one another on their wedding day will have to face this reality over time. The “feelings” of love disappear as the difficulties of life take over. Every couple experiences this.
“Love” as they knew it on their wedding day fades. This is why the divorce rate is out of control. Couples no longer believe in commitment, so they divorce as soon as those feelings of love disappear.
You may not have felt that love even on your wedding day, but today your situation is no different than countless others who “lose” the feeling of love.
What does God say?
I don’t know if you are a Christ-follower, but my view of marriage is based on Christ’s commands in the Bible. God hates divorce, and only allows for biblical divorce based on desertion or adultery. You are saying you do not love your husband and never did love him; therefore, you want a divorce. But this is not biblical.
So, your greatest struggle is to trust and obey Jesus Christ during this time, and act in loving ways because of your faith in Him. Is this possible? I believe it is. In fact, this is what the Bible teaches. This is God’s design for marriage, that we love our spouse AS UNTO CHRIST and not because we FEEL love or because they DESERVE love. We call this The Rewarded Cycle. (See "Love & Respect", part 3, pp. 265-303).
Amazing things can happen!
Do the love and respect principles “work” when we do not feel love or respect for our spouse? Absolutely! This is what it is all about – giving to someone else no matter what we feel!
I know this sounds impossible and it may even sound harsh to you. But what if feelings of love for your husband develop after you act in obedience to Christ? I believe this is not only possible, it is quite likely. As you get outside of yourself and focus more on God, amazing things can happen. Shaunti Feldhahn shares this as one of her Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages:
“Highly happy couples tend to put God at the center of their marriage and focus on Him, rather than on their marriage or spouse, for fulfillment and happiness.”
The consequences of divorce are serious.
Husband or wife, to abandon your marriage because of your feelings is a grave mistake. The consequences for this will be serious, both in your soul and in your heart. Christ’s commands are there to protect us, not to punish us. He knows the consequences of divorce will be grave. He wants to spare you from this because He loves you deeply.
So what should you do?
1. Put your faith in Christ and trust Him with your marriage.
2. Find a godly wise mentor who will come alongside you and support you in living out the Rewarded Cycle.
3. Fulfill the commitment you made on your wedding day, as you made the vow to love in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, so long as you both shall live.
As you focus on your relationship with Christ, He will strengthen you to stay the course and He will give you the desires of your heart!
Are you allowing God to encourage you, or have you closed off to Him?