“I love you, but I’m not “IN LOVE” with you.”
You want your spouse to know you really do care for him/her. The two of you have shared so much together, so naturally, you still love them as a person. You’re not cold-hearted and you don’t like hurting your spouse, but there has been a serious shift in the way you feel. You love him/her, but it’s not the same love you felt before.
Back before when the two of you started out and you were so in love you couldn’t get enough of each other. You felt so much passion you wanted to be together all the time. There was no way you could have ever imagined you would one day lose that feeling, but you did.
Truthfully, marriage is complex. It takes the complexity of many factors to make a marriage thrive the way God created it to. However, on this post today I want to discuss just one thing that should not be missing from your marriage. Because when it is missing, it makes the journey of marriage very difficult. At least it was for me.
The uncertainty that flooded my mind time after time in my marriage was torment. It reminds me of when I was a boy pulling petals off of flowers over a childhood sweetheart.
“She loves me, she loves me not; she loves me, she loves me not.”
The insecurity of not knowing if my wife would love me one day and then not love me the next was incredibly difficult to live with. It wasn’t that she was always giving me a reason to feel insecure. There was just always something missing in our relationship, something I didn’t know how to describe, but I knew it was missing.
As it turned out, it was the same thing Janet was always missing that made her feel so insecure about our relationship. And neither one of us knew how to fix the problem because we never really understood the problem. We had times when our love for each other seemed strong enough, yet we both lived with the nagging feelings of not knowing how long our love would last.
There are many of you who are in a very difficult place right now. Your marriage is in trouble and all you know to do is stand your ground and save your marriage. You’re in one of the greatest challenges a person can face in life. And I know some of you ask yourself how much more you can take.
I want you to know Janet and I admire and appreciate every one of you facing this battle. It takes a lot of courage and conviction to take this stand. As many of you know I have been there, and I know too well how difficult it is.
Your story may be different than what I went through trying to save my marriage. But I still know the delicate balance you have to walk between heartache and hope. One minute your heart is so torn and broken you don’t think you can go any further. Then the next minute your heart is alive with the hope of your future if you can just hang on.
I’ll be the first to admit I have a problem deciding when to throw something away and when to save it. The struggle I have is when I look at something thinking I might throw it away, I then think to myself, “maybe if I throw it away now I will one day in the future wish I still had it.” Because what I’m really trying to decide is, has this lost it’s usefulness to me, or does it still have some form of value to me?
That’s the same problem I see a lot people have when it comes to their marriage. They are trying to decide if their marriage has lost its usefulness to them or not. If they determine that it no longer has the value that it once did, such as “makes me happy,” “fulfills me,” “completes me,” or “satisfies all my needs,” they are ready then to dispose of it.
Do you ever feel like giving up because you just don’t know if you can take anymore? I know how you feel. You wrestle with the desire to quit, but your belief in staying committed to your marriage keeps you holding on. The heartache, the tears, the weariness, sometimes feels like more than you can bear. And there are times when you don’t see any hope of things getting better and all you can think of is running away. I get it, I have been there too.
I think if I were going through now what I went through before, one of my favorite songs would probably be, “Say Something (I’m Giving Up On You).” It’s one of those sad songs that captures the kind of heartache I used to feel. With tears blinding my eyes I would have been singing along with lyrics like, “You’re the one that I love and I’m saying goodbye.”
On our last post How Are You Two Related, I started talking about how in every marriage we have different and unique ways of connecting with our spouse. And that the important thing was to find your connection points and work from your place of strength as you work to improve other ways to connect with each other.
On this post I want to start taking a look at how we relate to our spouse in three major categories; friendship, partnership, and lovers. As far as I can tell, any connection we have with our spouse will always fit into one or more of these areas. But the challenge we face is understanding how to move in and out of each area and how to find good balance of all three ways of connection.
My dream was to be married for life; I had made that life decision when I was thirteen years old. Yet, I kept finding ways to sabotage my dream. My behavior toward Janet and toward our marriage was destructive.
I remember once when I was seeking the Lord in order to save my marriage and I heard the Lord remind me in a gentle way, that I had reaped what I had sown.
I knew right away that He was not putting the blame on me for what Janet was doing wrong. He was simply letting me see how I had destroyed our marriage with the hurtful ways I had treated her.
Those words broke my heart and gave me hope at the same time. I needed to know that our marriage problems were not all Janet’s fault. Just because she had chosen to give up on our marriage, the Lord would not Read more
If you are in the lonely position of holding on to save your marriage while your spouse says it’s over, then there is a good chance you’re seeking some help. But, you’re feeling frustrated with your desire to get help while your spouse doesn’t want to participate.
You asked to see a counselor together, attend a marriage class or a marriage retreat. But, your requests are met with cold hard rejections. And you probably heard some cruel words like “I don’t love you and I have never loved you.”
There are times when you can’t sleep and there are times when you want to sleep all day. There are times when you’re alone and you feel desperately lonely, and there are times you are thankful to be alone so you can fall apart without your spouse knowing it. And then there are times when your spouse is near and yet the loneliness you feel grips your heart so tight you find it difficult to even breathe. Read more
Commitment in marriage is an absolute essential for a marriage to last. It’s the promise we make to each other, “until death does us part,” that gives us the hope of going the distance of being married for life. And when we are challenged with very difficult circumstances we find out how committed we really are. In Life decisions, I talked about my own hopes for a lifelong marriage and how commitment has seen me through some difficult times. All marriages start out with this vision of going the distance of being married for life.
But, have you ever questioned the reason for saying wedding vows? Could it be that the vows themselves are indicators of what challenges a marriage will face? For better or for worst, in sickness or health, for richer or poorer, are just some examples of what we have all said. We said these vows as a way of swearing our commitment to each other through whatever circumstances we would face. We swore our commitment in preparation for the tough times. No one ever swore their commitment for something that is easy, fun, and always enjoyable, there’s no need for it. But when we commit ourselves to something that promises to challenge our commitment, we swear a vow to ensure our commitment. Read more