If you’ve been married more than a year, you’ve most likely experienced it. It shouldn’t surprise us, but it can be a bit disconcerting. Losing the feeling of love we had for our spouse at the beginning of our relationship is a part of a normal marriage. Feelings are fickle and cannot be trusted. But feelings make us feel good about what we’re doing and the progress we’re making. If the feelings are gone, what motivates us? Ah, we are glad you asked this question, because the answer makes all the difference between marriages that make it and those that don’t.
When we lose our feelings of love, it shouldn’t change what we do at all. Sure it won’t feel the same, but this is what our covenant is for; it helps us keep the course even when our emotions have checked out.
In Revelation 2 John writes of the church in Ephesus who was charged with losing their first love.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.
(Revelation 2:4-5 ESV)
We recently heard a message preached at our church saying when this happens in your Christian walk the best thing to do it to go back and do the things you did at first. In other words, go about life as if you had the feelings that motivated you when you became a Christian.
In marriage it is the same; if you don’t feel the love you once had for your spouse, then go back to loving them and treating them the way you did at first:
- Plan a romantic date they would enjoy.
- Go out of your way to bless them in a small, but meaningful way.
- Really listen to your spouse with eye contact. No distractions.
- Pray for them.
- Do something for them so they don’t have to, like the dishes or wash the car.
- Leave notes for them reminding them of what you love most about them.
- Call them during the day just to say you love and miss them.
These are ideas to help you get started, but we’re sure there are more things you could add to the list. Does this seem hypocritical? It may seem so, but rest assured it isn’t. This is part of taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. We may not feel like we love our spouse, but our marriage vows didn’t include, “in sickness and in health…as long as I feel I love you.” No, our vows our supposed to support our commitment to the marriage when our feelings wane.
Feelings come and go, but our marriage will last a lifetime that is, if we listen to our vows and not our feelings. Those who endure these times come out on the other side more in love and feeling closer to their spouse than they did before.
This post is primarily to those who have no explanation for the drifting emotions in their marriage and both parties want to see it return.
However, there are times when the reason for the emotional distance is cause for concern. It may be that one partner has stopped trying or is hiding sin. It may be one of you has bought into the lie that the marriage isn’t worth saving. When this is the case, we encourage you to seek counsel from a mentor, pastor or a professional marriage counselor. Make sure they are biblically based and willing to work to find the root cause of the drift. Your marriage is the most important relationship you’ll have in this life, next to the Lord. Isn’t it worth your time to make it the best it can be–no matter what your feelings are saying?
How have you worked together when you’ve lost that loving feeling?