Marriage Missions International

I Love You But I’m Not IN LOVE With You Anymore

OUCH!!! If you’ve heard the words “I love you but I’m not IN love with you anymore” said to you by your spouse, again I say …OUCH to the Nth degree! Even if you’ve said those words to your spouse, I say OUCH! There is a lot of pain that comes about as those feelings are revealed.

That phrase of, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” is being said and lived out by marriage partners here, there, and everywhere we turn, it seems. It’s like a deadly plague in epidemic proportions, that is infecting and killing marriages all over the world. We call it the “in and out of love” sickness, because that’s what it is.

I have to confess that this same insidious sickness invaded our marriage as well. A number of years ago, I felt the same way about my husband, Steve. I was tired of what was going on in our marriage and just wasn’t experiencing the same romantic feelings I once had for him so I concluded that I wasn’t “in love” with him anymore and that this “love” would never return. I wanted out!

These feelings, or lack there-of, almost brought about the death of our marriage relationship. Thankfully, God intervened to open my eyes and then to help resurrect a new love —a true love within my heart and mind for my husband. We now have a great marriage (with on-going work) and a deep, deep love for each other.

And since that time of our “lost love”, I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to pass along to you. Hopefully, it will help someone in some way. Whether you’re the one who has heard those words said to you by your spouse or you’re the one who is experiencing that “lost love” in your heart, I pray you will be able to benefit from what I’ve lived, learned, and want to pass along to you.

Through what I’ve experienced and have learned it has been revealed to me that:

We can say the words “I love you” but that doesn’t mean that we understand what is involved in truly loving someone. Words can be cheap. Love is lived out by our words AND our actions. We can get a type of high from the experience and when that “high” leaves us, we’re ready to slink away and jump into the next emotional high of what “love” brings our way.

And in the wake of our jumping from one LOVE to the next, a lot of people —especially children, are left behind devastated. Somehow, we need to change this and reach for mature and growing love.

“‘I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you’ is a cop out. It basically means that I have no clue how to make a relationship last LONG-TERM so I’m exiting to get high from another short-term romance. But whoever they’re IN LOVE with now will also eventually hear, ‘I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you.'” (Mort Ferel, in the Christian Post article, “I Love You But I’m Not in Love With You“)

Love is more than feelings. Feelings can deceive you. One minute you feel one way and the next you don’t. You may THINK you love, but actually what you could be experiencing is temporary infatuation, “lust” or a bio-chemical rush that lasts for a season that is unsustainable in the long-run without following through with decisions to help it to grow.

A great article to explain this phenomenon is posted on a news site. I encourage you to read:

WE’VE GOT CHEMISTRY

I didn’t realize this when I first fell in “love” and eventually married Steve. I can now see as I look back that my “love” for him was probably based more on a bio-chemical attraction than anything else.. I can totally relate to something that relationship expert Pat Love, explained about this type of “love”. She wrote:

“‘Love at first sight’ can happen, but most often infatuation begins with fondness or comfort in each other’s presence. Later there comes a flush or a quickened heartbeat upon encounter, or maybe a heightened energy when you are together. As the infatuation continues, separation from your love creates a great deal of anxiety. When not together, you daydream about reunion and anxiously anticipate the next encounter. To comfort yourself, you might replay former encounters in your mind, sleep with a shirt left behind, listen to a song that reminds you of him or her, or listen to an old message on your answering machine. As the relationship takes on special meaning, you long for further contact and spend time and energy scheming about ways to get together.

“…When the lover’s affection is confirmed, daily priorities get reordered. The workaholic misses deadlines. The penny-pincher blows a paycheck on plane fare. Sleep is sacrificed for [times together]. Long phone conversations and/or e-mails abound. Both people have a remarkable ability to emphasize what is admirable in the other partner. They may even feel compassion for negative traits to the extent of turning them into positives (‘He is so honest, he told me all about his affairs’).

“The brain is an incredible creation; it begins working long before your birth and doesn’t stop until you fall in love.” (Pat Love, from the book, “The Truth About Love”)

Can you relate? I sure can! Not only can I relate to the fluttery feelings that infatuation brings, because I sure experienced that with my husband Steve for a long time, but I can also relate to the brain stopping —both during the infatuation stage as well as later as I lived out my own definition of love.

After the infatuation stage passed, I think my love for my husband evolved into something that was based more on how he made me feel. As long as he made me feel good about myself and our relationship, I was “in love” with him. But when the everydayness of marriage and circumstantial storms invaded our lives and many conflicts between us arose out of it all (plus, the fact that Steve and I were very young and immature), my “love” seemed to disappear.

As authors Dr Les and Leslie Parrott wrote in their book I Love You More:

“Without love there would be no wedding, and certainly no marriage. Love is the catalyst for commitment. Love is what insures that every marriage starts out good. But sooner or later every good marriage bumps into negative things. And that’s what honest couples discover —that love, no matter how good, is never enough.”

And it sure wasn’t enough for us —at least not the type of love we had for each other, based mostly on feelings. I may have loved Steve in my own way, but it wasn’t the sustainable love that would hold our relationship together when problems clouded over our feelings.

It was at that critical fork in the road in our marriage that God revealed to me that:

Love is both a noun and a verb. In other words, “love” names and states your feelings (as a noun), but it is also something that demands action (as a verb) to help it to be and stay real.

Yes, I did many things for Steve (and complained about many of them when it seemed too one-sided), but I didn’t get the concept that my feelings wouldn’t always be pronounced or even evident at times, which would make me want to continue doing things for him.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is one of the many places in the Bible where we can see that God points this out to us. Every “love is” that is mentions in those Bible passages, such as “patient“, “kind“, “does not envy“, “is not rude” etc, puts a verb to it. That doesn’t mean that love is ONLY about actions, but it’s a very important part of it. We sometimes forget that.

“While someone who says, ‘I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you’ seems to be making a distinction between ‘different loves;’ in fact, they are expressing their confusion about what love really is. And that’s why they’re having marital problems and maybe even an affair (because who are they IN LOVE with?).

“Love is something we articulate in the vocabulary of ACTION. Love is a verb. It’s not a feeling you get from another PERSON; it’s an experience you receive as a result of DEEDS YOU DO for another person. And those deeds are not a secret. In other words, love is NOT a mystery! There are specific things you can do with your spouse to solve your problems and build love in your marriage. (Mort Fertel, in the Christian Post article, “I Love You But I’m Not in Love With You“)

God taught me that I had to put feet to my faith and feet to my love for my husband. Love is both a noun and a verb. I learned that sometimes, even though the feelings of love were not there, I still needed to be loving in my actions and eventually the feelings would come along for the ride. What I did for Steve, I did “as unto the Lord” and trusted Him for the result. I needed to exercise mature love —the type that Jesus showed us while we were yet sinners” as He died for us on the cross.

“Most people think that the FEELING of love comes BEFORE we express love  —and in the beginning of a relationship, that’s what happens. You fall in love and THEN you do acts of love. Your feelings inspire your actions.

“But mature love asks more of you. To create a strong LASTING marriage, you first CHOOSE LOVING ACTIONS. Your feelings will follow. After all, you don’t jog two miles or skip dessert because you feel healthy. You feel healthy because you jogged two miles and skipped dessert. So too, when it comes to your marriage, YOUR ACTIONS CREATE YOUR FEELINGS!” (From the article “Change the Momentum of Your Marriage” by Mort Fertel)

I’ve learned that you can learn to love the same person all over again with intentionality and God’s help. I really didn’t think my love would come back for Steve. It’s something God had to work on in my heart and I had to trust Him for —all a part of the faith-walk we are on this side of heaven. I’ve talked to many others who have found themselves in the same place with their spouses and they thought the same thing. But I did what I needed to do, and they did as well, and our marriages got back onto the right track as a result.

It doesn’t happen this way for everyone, but I’ve seen that it happens more than we could imagine as we trust God to help us to live as we should, no matter what we see going on at the time.

For me, it was a journey that God took me on to first learn what real love was all about and to learn more about God, whose very name means LOVE. If He couldn’t teach me how to love and be one who is more lovable, who could? I got into the Bible and learned more about God’s ways, learned more about my husband, worked on my own issues and became intentional in living out the principles of love I was learning even before I had the feelings I desired. It was a difficult journey but one worth taking.

I can relate to what author Nancie Carmichael wrote:

“Marriage can be better than ever, if we will do what Jesus says. We can be very complicated when it comes to restoring love. We wait for ‘feelings.’ But we don’t need to wait for the feelings of love —we can “do” love. Jesus says that we are to do what He says. What does it mean to ‘do’ what He says?

“It means to be kind to one another. It means we will lay down our lives for each other —which could mean truly listening to one another. It means we speak the truth in love to each other and treat each other as we want to be treated. These are not dramatic, new ideas. But love never fails. It bears fruit. The amazing thing about Jesus is that feelings follow actions.” (Nancie Carmichael, from the Christian Mommies web site, in an article you can read further and learn more by clicking onto “Fall in Love With Your Spouse Again“)

Again, something that marriage expert, Mort Fertel says applies as well:

“Just as there are physical laws of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships. 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. If you know and apply the laws, the results are predictable —you can ‘make’ love (from the article “I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You“).

I realize by saying all of this, that I may be “preaching to the choir” —that you may be “doing” and “making” love until you’re ready to fall apart with no end in sight. And you may be exhausted barely hanging on.

I have to say that I don’t know the journey you are on in all of this. And I truly am sorry for your pain. It may be that you need to keep “doing” and keep asking God to show you how to endure going on without seeing an end in sight. I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve actually been there before in other prayer areas of my life.

I’m reminded of Noah and Abraham and Joseph and Job, from the Bible who probably saw no end in sight in answer to their situations despite all they had to keep doing all along their journey. But eventually they did see a positive answer to their toils and their prayers.

I think of missionaries who will go years and years without a single convert and then eventually, because they kept going on and didn’t give up (even though they were discouraged more times than they could count), they saw a glimmer of hope. And hope was renewed and prayers were answered.

I’m also reminded of the many gold miners in the United States, years ago, who gave up JUST before they would have struck gold, and history records how close they came to victory, but someone else received the benefit of their labor instead. They gave up JUST before the going got good.

I can’t tell you if that is the journey you are on or not. I know that it tells us in the Bible “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

And I can tell you that Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

It also says in the Bible that “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

I can’t tell you that the “rest” or the renewed “strength” you will receive, or the “harvest” will come in the way that you expect, because God ways can’t be boxed in and predicted like that. But just as Elijah found out, God is there for us, even in a whisper (see 1 Kings 19) or a completely different way.

When we trust him and “lean not upon our own understanding” as we’re told in Proverbs 3:5-6, He will make our “paths straight” for the journey we are on. HE will “not leave us or forsake us” (see Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5), even if others might do so.

He might be quiet for a while for whatever purpose He may have, but you can be assured that He loves you and is closer than you think.

This article cannot give you all the answers. I don’t have them. I’ve learned a lot through the years about love and marriage and not giving up and persevering beyond the strength I thought I had.

Some of you may have to live out tougher love than you ever thought you would or could. How I wish I could change that for you. I know the type of pain that involves and it’s worse than one can often describe. If you believe this might be the case for you, the following Crosswalk.com article may help you better understand this concept:

• ASK DR DAVID: True Love Requires Tough Love

And then for a different twist, some ideas to pray about from an article that isn’t written from a Christian perspective (and isn’t posted on a Christian web site), but it gives you serious food for thought and something to pray about and consider when your spouse says, “I don’t love you.” Please click onto the link below to read:

THOSE AREN’T FIGHTING WORDS, DEAR

Again, we can’t give you all of the answers within this article. But in my research, I’ve learned a few additional things from other marriage educators and authors that I’d like to pass along to you. It may be the reason you are to read this article, to gain a clearer understanding of your situation and then eventually the Lord will reveal more to help you in the future.

When a person says “I love you but I’m not IN love with you,” not only is it emotionally traumatizing for the person on the receiving end of those words, but it’s also confusing. “Where did their LOVE run off to?” And “how can I make sense of all of this?” And “what do I do about the love I feel for my spouse now that he/she says ‘I don’t love you?'” can be a few of the many, many questions that come up.

The spouse who is delivering this horrible message to the other spouse is actually wrestling with other issues:

“The excuse ‘I’m not in love with you anymore’ is nonsensical. Let me tell you why. There is no such emotional condition as falling out of love; it’s a justification for doing whatever you are planning on doing. It’s a way to let your spouse down easy.

“What you’re really feeling and should be saying is ‘I don’t want to love you anymore.’ It usually means that the attitude towards your spouse and marriage is not what it once was. Perhaps you are talking yourself into having an affair or perhaps you have already had an affair.

“The person who says ‘I’m not in love with you anymore’ is searching for a feeling. The marriage has stopped giving them a feeling they want and expect to have.'” (Angie Lewis from the Beyondprose.com article titled “I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You Anymore —which you may want to read to learn more on this issue.)

As I said before, feelings can come and go.

“A person who says, ‘I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you,’ is making a distinction between 2 different feelings. But NEITHER of those feelings are love! When a person says, ‘I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you,’ they’re saying that I CARE about you but I’m not EXCITED about you.

“CARING about someone is a good thing. It’s reflective of CONCERN. But it’s different than love. I care about the starving children in Africa, but I don’t love them. Being EXCITED about someone is a good thing. But it’s different than love. I might be excited to have a relationship with President of the United States or a Hollywood star, but that doesn’t mean I love them. (Mort Fertel, in the Christian Post article, “I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You” (You can also receive Successful Marriage Tips via the email, on his web site.)

Again, there is a difference in feelings and the label we can put upon the term “love” but true love is more than having feelings for a person. There is more required to truly live out a “life of love” as we’re told in Ephesians 5:1-2, Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

IF eventually, your spouse will listen to reason, and will put effort into making your marriage work once again, you both need to do what it takes to bring love back into your everyday lives with each other.

“The key to love is attention. More specifically Brett Williams, the author of You Can Be Right or You Can Be Married: Love-Based Solutions for Couples, and the creator of the Date Night Deck, believes that love is the free gift of our attention. ‘When couples are dating they bring all kinds of attention to each other on a daily basis, and their love is never stronger. After the vows are given, the pair stops pursuing and their attention is turned toward their careers, their new family, and taking care of the home. This is when their love becomes starved for attention and the feeling of closeness begins to wane.’

“’Intuitively everyone understands this relationship between love and attention; so much so that the words are used almost interchangeably. Therefore in order to reconnect they need to bring attention to one another. What they need is a weekly date night.

“’A movie and dinner is not going to cut it. The way couples typically date brings very little attention. For the dates to be effective in creating closeness they must follow the principles that govern love/attention:

1) Attention is drawn to novelty

2) Energy grabs attention

3) Attention comes in three forms

“’A great date will contain variety, vitality, and attention in a style the other person wants.’”

If you need some ideas to get you onto a good footing to grow your love, please visit the Romantic Ideas topic, to glean through and use that, which will help you to grow your love for each other.

And lastly, on this issue, the following Youtube clip is excerpted from the sermon “Friend with Benefits,” part 2 of Mars Hill Church’s Real Marriage sermon series. It was preached by Pastor Mark at Mars Hill Downtown Bellevue. It’s titled, “People Don’t Fall Out of Love”

Here’s a portion of what Pastor Mark said, to prayerfully consider:

“People may fall out of repentance, but they don’t fall out of love. God tells us we can love our enemies. How? Because love doesn’t begin with or emanate from us —God is love. Even when we’re not feeling particularly friendly toward our spouse, we can still love them with the love that God gives.”

After all that is brought out in this article, and in the linked article, and the Youtube clip, how I/we wish new and true love could be infused into your spouse’s heart for you, and/or love can develop instantly in your heart for your spouse! Unfortunately, learning to love again and anew, takes more than hopes and wishes. It takes intentionality to learn what God can and will teach to those who are willing to participate.

Although Steve and I can’t do much more for you than what we offer in this article and on this web site, what we can do is point you to the One who can renew your hope. We encourage you to believe that this is not the end of the world for you. The Lord can bind up your broken heart and bring healing and help in ways you may not be able to imagine at this time.

In closing, I would like to share something with you that is written in Stormie Omartian’s book, Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage (that we recommend you read). It is a prayer, based on scripture, which I believe God could use to help you in your situation. It’s titled “Prayer for Breakthrough in Me.” You may want to use it as an outline to pray through, for God to minister to your heart.

You can’t MAKE your spouse participate in your marriage in the way he or she should, but you can ask God to keep your heart and mind and focus centered on doing things His way, and to give you peace of mind in the process. Here’s the prayer:

“LORD I COME BEFORE YOU and cast all my cares at Your feet, knowing that You care for me (1 Peter 5:7). I thank You that Your plans for me are for a good future filled with peace and hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Help me to remember that no matter what is happening in my life and in my marriage, You will never leave me or forsake me.

“Lord, I confess as sin any time I have felt hopeless about my situation and especially about important aspects of my marriage. Your Word says that ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes, it is a tree of life’ (Proverbs 13:12). When time passes for so long and I see no change, I feel heartsick and hopeless. But I confess any hopelessness I have to You, for You have said that whatever doesn’t come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23). It reveals that my faith in Your power to change things is weak. I pray that You would help me to not hesitate to hope again out of fear that I will be disappointed. I commit to trusting in You at all times. I pour out my heart before You, knowing You are my God of refuge (Psalm 62:8).

“Help me to become a child —entirely dependent upon You, for I know that this is the safest place I can be. I pray that You would search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting’ (Psalm 139:23-24). Enable me to become all I need to be.

“In the midst of challenges in my marriage I say, ‘Be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by’ (Psalm 57:1).

“Even though we may suffer at times in this marriage because of things one of us has done or not done, I know that You are ‘able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us’ (Ephesians 3:20-21). I will be strong and take heart because my hope is in You (Psalm 31:24).

“Thank You that You put my tears in Your bottle (Psalm 56:8). I pray that You, Holy Spirit, would give me ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness’ (Isaiah 61:1-3). Make me to be a pillar of righteousness for Your glory. Help me to not cease my ‘work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ’ for I know You can change everything in my life (1 Thessalonians 1:3). In Jesus’ name I pray.”

The above article is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.

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Comments

200 Responses to “I Love You But I’m Not IN LOVE With You Anymore”
  1. Robin from United States says:

    I agree with some of this… However, for me and my husband, we have been together for 3 years and married one of it. We moved to a new town shortly after dating, where he was very often telling me he was going to leave me and move back to our home town. My youngest at the time was often in trouble and threating and atempting to kill herself. I was so in love with Dan. He made this all easier to deal with. I also felt it was just because he was in the house all the time and did not work.

    After a a while he got a job and things were okay. He was still telling me he was going to leave me but not as often. We were very open about our past and our feelings. However, now after all this time, he will say, “You love you job, go live there. Go have your boyfriend do it. You are on the phone with your boyfriend. The next time you need to go to the hostipal have those people (work people) do it, I am not.” And so on. I have slowly stopped loving him the way I used to. I want to, and I try, however, every time I start to he says things.

    The hurt is not from the past, it is from him. This hurt has frozen me. I no longer wear mascara (which is the only make up I wore). I no longer want to share anything with him. Our lastest fight was because I want a mother’s ring from my three children, and he wants me to put his girls on it too. I do not feel that is right, and once again his words left me feeling that I am a a very bad person.

    So after all of this, what I do not like about the article and most ones like this is when, or if my husband reads it, he will only focus on the part that says I am probably already cheating on him or have someone lined up. Neither are true… yes does this happen, of course. I am faithful to my husband as God has told me to be. Still I know I am not in love with him. I just am angry. This article is probably one reason why he thinks the worse. Why do you not try to look at the point of the emotional broken women that still hold her faith in God before all, and the pain and confussion she is in?

    • MMW from United States says:

      Robin, can I respectfully ask what parts of this article makes you feel as you expressed in your last paragraph? “…what I do not like about the article and most ones like this is when, or if my husband reads it, he will only focus on the part that says I am probably already cheating on him or have someone lined up. Neither are true… yes this does happen, of course. I am faithful to my husband as God has told me to be. Still I know I am not in love with him. I just am angry. This article is probably one reason why he thinks the worse. Why do you not try to look at the point of the emotional broken women that still hold her faith in God before all, and the pain and confusion she is in?”

      I went through some of what you state–my husband thought I placed my job above him and told me so but only after the feeling was so great in him that he suggested divorce. I also was being hurt from him and not from past relationships (he was actually my first ‘serious’ relationship) and he actually stated very angrily that he knew I wanted him to see how I felt but he wasn’t going to do that (probably about 6-8 years into our marriage); I too stopped loving him as I once did (more than once in our marriage); mascara also is the only makeup I have ever worn; his hurt froze me also and I not only didn’t want to share anything with him I didn’t want to see him / hear him / smell him. (Lol, I can laugh about stating that I didn’t want to even smell him now but during these times I truly felt that way).

      Being there and doing that I can relate to any woman or man who finds them self ‘falling out of love.” It is painful to be on either end. Because I can relate I like to understand others ideas and I am so sorry for not understanding fully your feelings of this article. Is it that the article states (and I quote) “‘I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you’ is a cop out? It basically means that I have no clue how to make a relationship last LONG-TERM…”???

  2. Anna from United States says:

    As I sit here on Mother’s day with my 4 children feeling the weight and pain of where my marriage is going I came across this article. My husband and I have been together for 9 years. It has truly been the most difficult 9 years of my life! We have mostly had a bad marriage but had those days,weeks and months of truly loving one another.

    My husband has no problem telling it how it is and has told me more times then I can count that he does not want to be with me. He has left multiple times and always came back usually with me asking him too (for the sake of our family of course) it came to a point where a one time affair happened on my end.

    I couldn’t emotionally take it anymore and made a decision that I will always regret. Well needless to say our marriage became worse but I have worked non stop to show him my commitment and love over the last 2 years. He has had many ups and downs and pretty much puts all the blame on me. God has tought me through this time how imperative it was to keep Him number 1. To put my trust in Him.

    Well about 3 months ago my husband threw me a surprise wedding renewal with all of our family present. I was ecstatic to feel God had answered my prayers and we could finally move forward. Not even a month later during a disagreement my husband tells me he does not love me and does not want to be with me! I was crushed! I didn’t understand. It was all so confusing. Things have only become worse. I have tried to stay loving and peaceful through it but I feel so hurt.

    Now we are at a point where he is about to leave and even though I don’t feel much love for him I’m trying to still be loving. Today was so hard and this article gave me hope! Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom. They have helped me to grab even harder onto God and just trust!

  3. Paul from United States says:

    For a few years, I’ve had to listen to my lady utter those words: “I love you, but I’m not ‘in love’ with you.” I figured when she told me AGAIN yesterday that it would be another “cycle” she was having. I’m honestly tired of even having to hear that sentence. We’ve been together for 8 years (no children, but tried) in what one would consider a very compatible relationship (very rarely fighting or in discord).

    I’ve invited her to leave and find happiness elsewhere if she could, but she always came back to me. Now I’m at a dangerous crossroads for our relationship, where I am growing tired of having to listen to her words that she “loves me, but not in that way.” I personally think she is very confused between the meaning of “lust” and “love.” I’ve tried talking to her about this many times in the past years: lust is temporary and love is forever. I think I’m done talking and having a one-sided relationship, where I put all my effort, trying to nurture it, and getting nothing in return.

    I don’t know if it’s time once again to bend over backwards to try to salvage this relationship (and having to hear the infamous sentence once again in the future), or if it’s finally time to cut bait and move on. I feel like I’ve done all that I could and I’m on the verge of giving up on this relationship.

  4. Vanessa from United States says:

    All I know is that I’ve prayed and prayed for God to bring back the love I once had for my husband and so far nothing happened. God has answered many of my prayers, but this specific one wasn’t answered and I got tired of faking. Because I was so miserable in our marriage, my love for him eventually died. He’s changed, but the love is still not back. Even his personality has become annoying and irritating to me. He is so incredibly needy/emotionally dependent and it drives me nuts.

    He does have wonderful qualities, but when the love is dead, it’s dead. It disgusts me when he tries to kiss me… I can’t imagine getting sexually intimate. I feel terrible, but at the same time I think it’s best to let him find someone else who will love him and give him all the constant attention that he needs. If I stay in this marriage, both of us will suffer. His needs won’t be met and I’ll be miserable and always trying to avoid him.

    For me, that’s already a divorce…just not on papers. It’s really complicated. His friend has a horrible marriage and yet “managed” to stay in it for the sake of the family. I think it’s interesting when people say “for the sake of the family” as if the kids don’t notice the stress and tension from mom and dad. Who are we kidding? Even if you don’t fight, the kids will notice the lack of love and affection or even lack of communication in the relationship. Also remember, your kids will someday grow up and have their own family.

    All I can say is PRAY and get counseling (from at least 3 different marriage counselors) before making any decision. At least it’s what I plan on doing. But at least one of the marriage counselors won’t be a Christian (for me it’s about hearing from all different perspectives). God hates divorce, but he hates all sin…including the ones we commit daily. Why do we obsess over some sins and not others?

    • MMW from United States says:

      Vanessa, my husband and I have been married for over 35 years and have 2 sons. We dated for 2 yrs b/4 marrying so we have spent most of our lives together but not w/out its share of “falling out of love.” I’m so blessed that our relationship didn’t end up in divorce and we both talk about that fact. Three times it came close, despite the fact that we rarely ever even argued throughout the 37 years; we still both experienced the “I don’t know what to do about how I now feel.”

      My emotional needs weren’t being met, he was hardened towards me and I couldn’t understand why, I felt so unloved / un-needed / unimportant / unattractive / neglected / forgotten / and lonely. I chose to be a stay at home mom when offered the choice after only 3 yrs of marriage because it was important to both of us, but in doing so I lost adult contact. I focused so much on my sons; we lived in the country with not many families and even fewer with children my son’s ages so I was a very lonely person not having a ‘partner’ anymore in my marriage. Now that I am over 50 I still don’t have many adults that I visit or routinely speak with but I have my friend and soul-mate every day of my life–my husband.

      The number of adults I currently talk to or visit with is quite similar to what it was way back when, but I’m not lonely now like I was then. The reason for this is that my husband and I went thru ‘hell’ (not cursing but the place of torment and anguish) and survived. It took a LOT OF WORK and I have to say that there were MANY times that I said to myself, “Why do ‘I’ always have to initiate the building back of our marriage?” We went thru more than one go-round and each time it was I who noticed that a change needed to take place or else–divorce. The first time was when our two sons were very young, not even in Pre-K yet. We loved each other but “fell out of love,” for lack of a better way of stating it. I believe many can relate to and understand the feeling of ‘falling out of love’ and that is why I chose to state it that way.

      The important thing is that even though one or both feel that the relationship is doomed for divorce it doesn’t have to go there. Marriage is salvageable. All good things are worth fighting for and I married for better or for worse. No one ever said it would be so hard–the part of wedding vows that says “for worse.” My husband is the dominant personality and I am the passive personality so to answer my own question, that is why it was me who always initiated the building back of our marriage. It really doesn’t matter who begins the process the important thing is that someone does. I listed the emptiness I felt being married to my husband and how unfulfilled I felt but I also knew that there was love once and I wanted that again. I didn’t marry to get divorced, to be a statistic; I married forever and that takes WORK when I felt the least bit interested in doing the work. I’ll not reiterate the things I read on this site because I found this reading to be much of what I have learned over my 37 years of being with the man I ended up marrying.

      I never sought out professional help like thru a marriage counselor or even had any friends to discuss my situation with. I learned through the hard knocks of life and the desire to rekindle the love we once had. I knew if I put time into our marriage as I did when we were dating I believed all would work for good. I will say this though, I started with me. Struggles change both the wife and the husband but often times we see only ‘our’ feelings (‘our’ needs) and don’t realize that our spouse is probably going through much of what we are. I set aside me, even though I didn’t want to after all I had needs that “I” needed met. I examined me, even though it was painful; sure he had changed but I discovered I had also–painful to come to that realization. I looked at how I made him feel loved and things I had done to make him know just how special he was to me.

      As I underwent this self-examination I painfully realized that I had slowly quit doing many things that fulfilled his needs and made him feel my love–we both had, but this was a self exam so I’ll stay focused on me and how I changed. I didn’t do this consciously but life settles in and since we’ve already caught the love our of life we lose focus. Life happened–raising 2 young children practically as a single parent due to the work load and stresses he had on his plate –so I was exhausted and overwhelmed with “my” life’s stresses. Often times it’s when life hits us that we lose focus on our relationship. Marriage isn’t the end, it’s the beginning. Just because we have attained the prize–won our wife or husband through marriage–doesn’t mean we stop doing the things that got their attention to begin with and then kept their attention enough that they decided we were the one for them.

      I fought for my marriage by GOING BACK TO THE START. I saw a movie a couple of weeks ago called The Judge and the ending song caught my attention. It was singing of what I did; I went back to the start–back to doing what made him grow fond of me and want to spend the rest of his days with me. The song is called The Scientist and the song and lyrics can be found on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v525UGbA448

      TO GO BACK TO THE START and make my spouse my focus (instead of focusing on what ‘I’ was needing) was hard to do; I will admit at times it can make one almost feel bitter. I say bitter because when I committed to do this, things were not appreciated or even noticed for some time and if one is not careful one can become bitter quite quickly and then stop the efforts. That scenario can make a person lose site of why they’re doing this, to cause their spouse to understand they are loved, needed, appreciated, etc. which was easy for me to do while we were dating and at the beginning of our marriage. At that time in a relationship all this comes so naturally but once a marriage feels like it is over with it is hard to do because I didn’t feel loved, needed, appreciated, etc. It becomes hard because it is the “I” things that get in the way and cloud up the waters of love. I loved him but didn’t love what he had become but I realized that I had a part in that as well as his workload and highly stressful job.

      It hurt to realize that he needed me more due to his stresses (just as I needed him due to my stresses) but I had changed and was not as I once was; again, not on purpose but that doesn’t matter. Neither of us were the same but I was going back to the start regardless. What I had not expected was that once I did begin this new path it became easier and easier to do things for him, the simple things that meant so much to him. It is a PROCESS so don’t expect a positive response soon; it might take weeks. It then became enjoyable enough that I started getting creative and something else I had noticed–he became responsive and he was turning back into who I had married. What do you know? I gave love (even though I didn’t feel like it) and in return I got my husband back. It is a process; our marriage didn’t get to the place it was overnight and it wasn’t going to get back on track quickly.

      Sadly our 37 years of marriage experienced the fading stage more than once, but after time one learns to see the signs before it goes too far. Then one gets even better and begins to see them self begin to slip so “I” quickly get myself back on track. Then there came a time when we both became aware that if we don’t both CONSTANTLY work at being in love the other soon feels the repercussions of our loss of focus. It takes a conscious effort to keep the fire of love burning and we believe we’ve got it down now and it only took us like 30+ yeas to learn it, lol. Our next 30+ years will be heaven! I thought I loved him 37 years ago but I never knew the depths of the love we now share could ever be so wonderful. Perfect? No, at times I still feel I could pinch his head off (lol) and he still can become irritated with me but we get over things EXTREMELY quickly because we are on guard of ourselves now.

      Fight for your marriage; it’s worth the reward. Salvageable means capable of being salvaged, saved or repaired; worth rescuing and keeping rather discarding or replacing. I can even say (speaking from experience) that marriage can even survive an affair that lasted 1.5 yrs despite the fact that it happened with his first love and not just any woman. I knew his past and of her so it hurt deeply, but my love for him was greater than the hurt. Recently he mentioned that I never threw it in his face; my response was “I don’t know what you are talking about.” He understood that it had been forgiven as soon as he shared with me his spot–torn between two loves. When I forgive, I forget… just as God does when he forgives us. That was 17 years ago and it actually caused him to understand just how very much I loved him. He told me he had never been loved unconditionally. I told him yes he had, God loves him as such.

      When you fight for your marriage–go back to the start–you might be surprised to see how much you love your spouse. All things work together for good (Romans 8:28); note that it does not say all good things work together. Bad things can end up producing something good if we give it time and allow it to morph. My husband and I have both realized that it is the struggles that we have worked through all these years that have created the strong and never dying bond we now have.

      I can only speak for myself but I was not willing to divorce and start over again because life will always come to us –1st marriage, 2nd, 3rd or even if we just choose to live with someone. I might as well fix the one I was already in; thank You God for all Your help and strength You gave me when I thought I could not hurt more but “more” came to me. Thank You for opening my eyes to see what I needed to do for him instead of focusing on ‘me.’ By showing him love I received love that I soooo desperately needed. We’re both thankful to God for having the other in our life, especially since we’re aware of how much each of us can fall short at times. A good marriage is a work in progress and the work NEVER ENDS; it gets easier but never ends. It’s work that I’ll never cease to tire of because I know how deep the reward is. May all who find this site and read it understand that there can be happily-ever-after even when you’re ready to throw up your hands and quit. Even when the other isn’t responding…prove your love by acting out the love.

      One need not be in ‘church’ to have a successful marriage. My husband doesn’t attend anywhere and I had fallen out of service for over a decade. I will add though that it’s easier to serve my husband and put my needs aside in the process of going back to the start because of my relationship with God because of what I’ve learned from the Bible. I think there are rewards we miss out on because we often focus on self rather than others and I speak of rewards in life in general not only in our relationship with our spouse.

      • Dave from United States says:

        MMW – very well said. This is the type of commitment we need in our marriages. Today- it’s much easier to give up, than fight for what is right and sadly that’s the path that most people choose. I’ve been recently divorced after 3 years of being separated. Tried my best to hold on and fight but it seems there was nothing left to hold on to. I was the only one willing to stand, had hope that my marriage would be forever. Its bad when people turn their back on you, walk out on you. Rejection from my wife, the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. Thanks to God I am still here, praying every day that even with my divorce all things would work for good. Today we’re like strangers to each other, 2 young children, the only communication we have is regarding them. We all give up way too easy, to soon. Families grow broken, children hurt, forced to believe this is what family suppose to look like simply because parents try to protect their own selfishness.

        • MMW from United States says:

          Dave I’m so very saddened for you and your family. I said a prayer and will continue to do this for you and the situation you find yourself in. Yes we give up all too easily but I think it’s because we don’t know what to do and we just want to be happy again, not realizing that giving up on a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean a regain of happiness. Yes, it’s hard when only one person is trying and the other isn’t responding or leaves too soon to see that the other person’s attitude has changed and they will “see” love emanating from him/her again towards them.

          Separation is a scary thing because once that happens one could see ‘no more’ or ‘few’ arguing as happiness; it isn’t. It simply means that one cannot argue if one is not in the presence of the one in which they argue. Separation = little opportunity to argue but not usually happiness. It brings quietness but not peace. Due to the deep bitterness and hurt it is hard to ‘miss’ the one we have been feuding.

          I wish there was a way to begin to ‘date’ (start from the VERY beginning) again. I have no degrees, no letters behind my name so I’m even hesitant to say this. If you guys live close in proximity is it possible to invite her to the zoo with the kids? One could get a generic card and send an invite, but adding that even though you two are not a couple that doesn’t mean (name children) the children cannot have both mom and dad visit the zoo with them. No underlining sneaky stuff but to bring pleasure to (state the children’s names) the children. Seeing us be friendly/cordial one to the other and doing something together for them could be emotionally helpful to them. This is something I would have done if we had divorced when ours were young. No zoo around here but I would have picked something that the children would have enjoyed and enjoyed having us all do together. It might not be the case but in my mind just because a couple isn’t a couple doesn’t mean they cannot do something with the children together in a neutral area without creating expectations on the other person, but focusing on the children while being kind to the other parent of our children. I might be completely wrong.

          I know I don’t know you but God does, so when I pray for Dave, his children and their mom God will know exactly whom I am speaking.

      • BZ from United States says:

        Great post MMV; thank you!

  5. Ch from United States says:

    I’m living this nightmare at this moment I’ve have been looking for something just like this article to help me understand what is going on. We have had a awesome life together, yes, bumps in the road but nothing we couldn’t get through. But I don’t know if we will make it this time. I’ve seen the change in him for 6 months and I did question it because we went through this before. I’ve asked several times, is it someone else and I get the same answer, no. He says that he doesn’t have a answer that he don’t know why he’s feeling this way. He wants to love me but doesn’t know how. He is so confused and I think depressed. He did get some meds this week so maybe he will have clearer thinking. I’m just lost and I wish someone else could give me answers.

    • BZ from United States says:

      Hey Ch: This is a hard road for sure. I’m in a similar situation. Finally I’m getting to the point, by God’s Grace, to focus on my healing and allowing my wife to have the space she needs to figure out why she feels the way she does. Will an answer or answers ever arrive? God knows I have prayed they will but the harsh reality is your spouse has to figure it out and, God willing, they don’t destroy a good marriage while doing so. What has helped me so far, and its been slow at first is:

      1. Reading the Word daily, which I do anyway and PRAY!
      2. Talk with good close brothers in Christ who have had similar experiences.
      3. Take care of myself by walking, running, biking (basically my exercise routine, even when I only had 4 hours of sleep a night or less when it started).
      4. Follow my interests and hobbies-not in an obsessive manner.
      5. Love my two boys and make sure I interact with them.

      Sola deo Gloria! BZ

  6. JA from United States says:

    Reading these articles really makes me feel like there is still hope. My wife has just recently told me that she loves me, and probably always will, but she is “not in love with me.” We have struggled being together the last 6 months or so. We have just grown apart. The attempts I made to talk about our problems ended up in anger. We never really addressed our problems, talked about changes, and almost just waited til she mentioned divorce.

    It took that for me to open my eyes and really realize what I have with her. We have two children, both young, 8 and 3. She is a stay at home mom, which I finally understand what a stressful day she has. Our main problem is that she has built up so much resentment towards me, she can’t allow herself to love me, or even let me love her. It’s hard to believe a couple can let their lives get in such a shape, no matter how good it was. I really do realize that the majority of the problem was from me, and I have accepted it. I was really bad about addressing our differences in front of our kids, which was wrong and really bothered her.

    I try Daily, no matter how hard, to show her what she means to me, to show her how much I appreciate her and love her. She says she wants us to work, but just don’t know how to do it. She has been really rude and hateful, and says she does not mean to be, but cannot help it. She complimented me on my actions and behavior towards our marriage the last month or so, but she says that the kind and sweet acts just make her angry, she has so much resentment. I will give her as long as it takes because I know our marriage is worth it, but how can I get her to open up and let the healing begin. I will do anything for her, especially since I know I caused the majority of the problems. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and once again, thanks for the article.

    • BZ from United States says:

      JA: As strange as it sounds, you need to “Back Off” of your spouse. It doesn’t mean you be withdrawn, curt or anything; it’s more of a quit trying to fix it. For now. Your wife is trying to figure her emotions out. Let her initiate the relationship talks and then just LISTEN to what she says. Even if it’s totally crazy and off the wall just listen without reacting. If she gets upset you’re not to respond. Let her know you’re just LISTENING to her and you appreciate her sharing her feelings and you would like a little time to process what she has said to you. Then thank her for telling you how she’s feeling and shut your mouth.

      Outside of the crazy talk, mixed in that will be some element of truth that has had her upset. That’s what you have to mine out of these kinds of talks or I call them ‘listening sessions.’

      As a side note, having read some many comments on here I pray for you all. This is a tough road. God Bless, BZ

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