How many times have you looked at a magazine rack and seen a headline about a celebrity couple getting a divorce? Probably too many to count. A very common reason they give is falling out of love or that they just “drifted apart.”
Using celebrities as an example may be a bit extreme since that demographic doesn’t exactly represent your average person. What they do represent, though, is people who are extremely busy and under lots of stress. Any couple that lets things like busyness or stress take over could fall into the trap of “drifting apart.”
Our culture is inundated by the idea that falling in and out of love is normal and can’t be controlled. Maybe you’ve even heard people say the issue was that they married too young.
What’s the problem?
I want to tell you that this whole idea of growing apart is just a cover-up for the real problem. The real problem is not understanding the true definition of love.
I think that it’s particularly sad when a couple complains about marrying too young because marrying young is a great thing! It gives you the chance to decide what types of people you want to be together.
The key problem here is that all these excuses make the assumption that love is a feeling you cannot control. That is a downright lie!
What is love?
While you can feel love for someone, love is not at its core a feeling. It’s a verb.
In the typical marriage vows, we all promise to love each other until death do we part. What kind of ludicrous people would we be if we made this kind of a promise but had no way of keeping it?
It’s true that you can’t always control your feelings. Let me tell you, I know from my own life that it’s hard to rein in emotions. I am a particularly emotional person.
But luckily even when I don’t have particularly loving feelings toward my husband I can still love him. That is because love is a decision and it is an action.
What does losing your intense feelings mean?
Society (Hollywood especially) has twisted the idea of love so much that it can make us think that if we lose the intense emotions that often come at the start of a relationship this means something is majorly wrong. I’ll admit, my husband and I didn’t have one of those “whirlwind romances” with the butterflies and hearts pounding sort of stuff.
And that’s ok. It’s ok because those sort of feelings don’t last anyway.
What people often mistake for falling out of love is actually just the maturation of their relationship. The sort of love that takes the place of the intense initial feelings may be a quieter sort of love, but it is love all the same, so long as you nurture it.
Why do we lose those intense feelings?
Those initial feelings just aren’t sustainable because if we had them forever how would any of us ever be able to focus on other things in life besides our romantic escapades?
That’s why things settle down. You get to know your person. You likely even start to notice that some of those little “quirks” that were so cute in the “honeymoon phase” aren’t as cute as you thought.
So you guys work through it and learn how to live with another person. And, if you are intentional about your relationship, you grow closer because of it.
This is the natural progression of love, but if you aren’t aware of this gradual process you could wake up one day and wonder where you two went wrong and why you don’t feel as excited as you did when you first met.
How do I love my spouse?
If you ever need a blueprint as to what love should actually look like then the best place to turn, of course, is the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says,
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
No where in the Bible does it say that love is uncontrollable. We are commanded to love our spouses, and if God tells us that we must love then there must be more to this whole “uncontrollable” love thing than society would have us believe. Treat love as a verb rather than a feeling, and you will find much more contentment in your relationship.
For some suggestions of things to do together to strengthen your relationship head to my post 7 Things Every Married Couple Should Do.
Have you struggled with a loss of your initial, intense feelings for your husband?