Some time ago, a woman asked me, "What do you suggest I do with my marriage since the LOVE "thing" is gone?" I am still wondering today what the love "thing" was in that woman's thinking?
Have you ever been told: "I LOVE you, but I'm not IN LOVE with you any longer?" What does that mean?
A person who says, "I love you, but I'm not in love with you any longer," is describing two different feelings. But neither of those feelings is love! Neither is the love "thing"!
"I LOVE YOU" in this context means "I CARE." "NOT IN LOVE" means "I'm NOT EXCITED about you." Do you follow me?
Caring about someone is good. It shows concern. We may care and be concerned about the growth of AIDS in Africa and yet not necessarily love the afflicted victims of AIDS in Africa.
Being excited about someone is also good. You might be excited about meeting a celebrity or attending a popular party. That doesn't mean you love them.
While someone who says, "I love you, but I'm not in love with you" seems to be implying that there are "different kinds of love," they are actually expressing incredible confusion about the real meaning of love. Neither one of those two feelings is love! Such confusion always creates marital conflict and it is very often anchored in an extra-marital affair or other selfish interests.
Even though love may begin as a "feeling" of attraction between two people, in the end, true love is not about feelings first. True feelings of love are the result of true love. True love is right action. True love is an experience you have as a result of the deeds or acts you do for another person. True love is about character.
And those deeds are not a secret. In other words, love is not a mystery! Love is a verb. Love is conjugated in the language of action.
Love is best displayed by the three C's of relationships:
These three characteristics often frame the most powerful expressions of love. A healthy character makes loving decisions. A healthy conscience provides ethical direction for the acts of love. And courage fuels the act of love to endure trials and difficult moments.
There are specific things you can do with your spouse to solve your problems and build love in your marriage as soon as you finish reading this article.
Here are some suggestions on how to create an environment of true love in your marriage:
o Stop interrupting your spouse when he/she attempts to explain something. Learn to listen and hear with your heart. This one is connected to character since listening is a habit. That's love!
o Stop yelling and reacting physically when you don't like something and find a healthier way to communicate! That's love!
o Stop avoiding your spouse when you know she/he wants to resolve the issue that caused a hurt. Go back to your partner and express your desire to resolve the issue. That takes courage. That's love!
o Stop being so busy with your own stuff when your partner wants to hold you for a few minutes. Allow yourself time for physical contact. That's love!
o Stop talking divorce when things don't go your way. Forgive and work at resolving the issue. That's is connected to conscience. You know divorce is not the answer! That's love!
o Stop thinking of yourself first rather than your spouse and your kids. That's love!
Just as there are physical laws of the universe such as gravity, there are spiritual and emotional laws for relationships. True love is one of those laws! A healthy marriage is rooted in true love. Just as the right diet and exercise program makes you physically stronger, certain habits in your relationship WILL make your marriage stronger. It's a direct cause and effect kind of synergy. If you know and apply the laws of love, the results will be predictable.
People often tell me, "Look, I love my spouse, but I'm not in love with my spouse."
I immediately reply by asking, "Can you list 3 actions during last week that showed your spouse you really love them?"
Here is what I get: either a long silence or answers like, "I cooked the meals every day," or "I worked hard to provide for my family." I know there is a component missing. What people usually tell me are their acts of "love" are their habitual activities; things they would do regardless of the marriage. So i repeat the question: "Tell me 3 things you did for your spouse that told him/her that you really love him/her." At that point I hear the longest silence.
You see, love is doing what's right for the other person in ways that he/she will understand. That's why LOVE revolves around, character, conscience and courage. Character means doing what's right regardless of feelings. Conscience means opening your heart to the other person, his/her feelings and emotions. The conscience is what makes us noble, virtuous and committed. Courage is the energy we put in what we do; how long we endure!
"I love you, but I'm not in love with you" is the best cop-out I know from the real issue of practicing true love. It basically means that "I have no clue how to make a relationship last long term, so I'm leaving you to get a "high" from a short-term romance." I just know one thing; whoever they're in love with now will eventually hear, "I love you, but I'm not in love with you."
"Of course, this is all fine and good," you may be saying to yourself, "but it's really my spouse who needs to hear what you are saying, Harold"
Getting your spouse from "I love you, but I'm not in love with you," to "Okay, let's give this marriage another chance," is a tricky task. If this is your situation, it's crucial you handle it properly. One false step (such as simply dumping this article in your spouse's lap) and your marriage could be over. If you take the right steps, you can draw your spouse back in and begin to restore your marriage together. The best "love" of your marriage can happen when you DEAL with your differences and what creates conflict.
"True love is not measured in hugs and kisses, but in struggles and fears, and those who can work though those...they possess true love". Adam Murphy