Love and Romance
Have those magical, mystical feelings of love and romance faded or even disappeared from your marriage? If they have, you’re not alone.
The question is... does it have to remain that way? “After all,” you say, “the mystery and excitement we experienced in the beginning is no longer mysterious or exciting. Can we ever get that back?” Yes you can, but it begins with understanding it’s origin.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, there are three idealistic illusions of marriage that most people accept as truth. First, “I have my faults, but my spouse should love me unconditionally.” Second, “Romantic love is a mystery; we really can’t control with whom we fall in or out of love.” Third, “I can’t change; love demands that my spouse be willing to accept me just the way I am.”
If your spouse were God, then absolute unconditional love would be possible. However, for mere mortals whose spirits have been born again but remain in this carnal flesh, that bar might be a little high. The truth is; your spouse’s ability to express love and concern is directly proportional to the way you treat him or her. Don’t believe it? Read on.
In reality, the feelings of love and romance operate much more like a bank account than a mystical power. Those feelings increase or decrease based on the deposits and withdrawals you have made in the love bank.
When I met Jan, I opened an account in my heart in her name, and she opened an account in her heart with my name. Through words, attitudes and actions we made deposits into the account of each other’s love bank. In time, the deposits reached a threshold level that produced deep love and romantic feelings. We couldn’t get enough of each other.
After a couple has been married for a while and the mystery is gone, they often, and sometimes unknowingly, begin to make withdrawals from their spouse’s account. How? Through words, attitudes, and actions that wound and hurt. And when the balance drops below the threshold of love and romance you might hear one of them say; “I just don’t love him (her) anymore.”
It’s not mystical or magical; it’s just plain ol’ sowin’ n reapin’.
It’s at this point that the devil sets you up. You meet someone at work or even at church. You begin to talk, innocently at first, and an account is opened in your heart in that person’s name. That person listens, seems to understand and accepts you without judgment or condemnation. The balance in the new bank account begins to grow.
When the account balance with this new friend reaches a threshold level, you move from friendship, to love and romance. It now seems as though you have fallen out of love with your spouse and in love with this new person. Continue on that path long enough and the outcome becomes obvious to everyone.
So, how do you reverse the process? You begin by changing your words, attitudes, and actions to rebuild your spouse’s love bank balance. Perhaps you thought you couldn’t change, but that’s only an illusion. By the grace of God, you can change, and you can do the very things that will restore love and romance to your marriage.
Now here is a profound truth... are you ready? People like being around, and grow to love, those who are nice to them, who value them, honor them, and respect them. Need I say more?
You can’t change the way your spouse acts toward you, but you can change the way you behave toward him or her. You can humble yourself and sow the seeds of love, respect, honor, compassion, serving and more. If you will do so, I Corinthians 13 will begin to work in your marriage. This chapter describes the attributes of love and then in verse 8 says, “Love never fails.”
Jan and I have experienced this first hand. In the first few years of our marriage, we managed to deplete each other’s love bank. But we sought the Lord, and He showed us how to replenish the account. And now, after 36 years of marriage, our love and romance bank account balances are high and are still growing.
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