“For most people, doubts begin with tiny hints, fleeting thoughts. ‘I wonder what my life would have been like if I had married my old boyfriend? I bet he wouldn’t take me for granted like my husband does!’ Sometimes these good feelings are simply neutralized, replaced by numbness. Sometimes they are malignantly transformed like healthy cells transmogrified into cancer cells, from feelings of love into feelings of contempt, distrust, and despair.”
“…There’s no more respect and trust between you. You can’t communicate. You’re always angry. You’re bored, numb, and you’re constantly on the defensive. Doubt can quickly turn into panic. ‘Time is passing —will my entire life be wasted because I made the wrong choice?’ Panic is often accompanied by depression. The future looks hopeless. Nothing fits, or makes sense, and nothing can be counted on anymore.” (Richard Matteson, Janis Long, from the book, What if I Married the Wrong Person)
Doubts Because of Absent Love
You’d be surprised how many people find themselves in this place. There are spouses who once thought they had married their “soul mate,” who are now in a marriage where one of them wants to leave. They believe the “love” they once thought they had just isn’t there any longer. Or maybe they believe they actually never loved their spouse.
“What do you do when you’re married, and you realize you aren’t in love?”
Author and speaker Sheila Wray Gregoire talks about these types of doubts in the following blog:
Sheila also talks in a video about marriage, when you realize you aren’t in love. In this video she answers a letter written to her by a gal who asks what to do about her “loveless” marriage situation. (Also make sure you read the helpful comments posted below this blogspot):
Just like Sheila explains, authors Richard Matteson and Janis Long describe this same dilemma, which you may be experiencing.
Concerning these types of doubts they write:
“…You may be at a place in your life where you’ve concluded that despite your good intentions, despite all of your hopes and dreams, despite what seemed like the right choice at the time, you married the wrong person. If this is your situation, you may have three choices of how to proceed. You can get divorced. You can force yourself to stay in the marriage despite the pain. Or you can consider the possibility that, instead of marrying the wrong person, you created the wrong marriage, and you can take steps to forge a new marriage to the same person.” (From the book, What if I Married the Wrong Person)
We’re hoping that if the above scenario is what you’re living through, you will make the choice to “forge a new marriage to the same person.” No one would ever testify that this would be easy. But God, whose very name means LOVE can teach you how to love the one you married. And making the DECISION to participate with God in this is a huge part of the mission.
“The world says, ‘If it feels good, do it. And when it doesn’t feel good anymore, leave.” God says, ‘I have made a covenant with you, and you have made a covenant with one another. I will give you what you need to keep that covenant.’ And our wedding rings stand as a symbol of that promise to one another before God.” (Marlene Bagnull, from the book: For Better, For Worse)
Look at your wedding ring as an inspiration to be faithful to the wedding vows you gave. Put your trust in God to help you keep your promises. Furthermore, trust Him to help you grow a new love for your spouse. As you join with God, “All things are possible.” But it will take intentionality and the continual decision to choose to show love despite your present feelings. Trust God to help you so your feelings will catch up with your loving actions.
As one author said,
“Love is not easy or simple. It is an art that I must want to learn and pour my life into. This principle corrects a common misconception, that it’s easy to love, requiring neither thought nor effort. In other words, that is just a matter of doing what comes naturally!
“The fact is that love is costly. It requires much from the lover even when the giving is pure joy. If you do what comes naturally you will be wrong almost every time. Again, the Bible has the information we need on how to love. The most concentrated lessons on the art of loving your mate can be found in the Song of Solomon.
“Love is an active power that I can control by my own will. I am not the helpless slave of love. We are barraged by propaganda suggesting that love is an uncontrollable feeling that comes and goes like a wayward sparrow. Most of the boy-meets-girl plots of films and television are based on the premise that love is a feeling that just happens. Or else it doesn’t happen.
“The truth is that love is an active power that you were meant to control by your own will. You can choose to love. You can do what is necessary to restore love to your marriage, and you can refuse to be enslaved by passing emotions.
“…Most people consider feeling to be of supreme importance. But the truth is that reason —what you think about love —is what controls your behavior. The desired feelings come as a result of right thinking and right actions.” (Dr Ed Wheat, from the book, The Healthy Marriage Handbook by Marriage Partnership Magazine)
How do you “fall in love” with your spouse again (or even for the first time)? What do you do?
What we’ve learned (through own once “broken” marriage, and observing others who walked this journey) is that the principles for loving are the principles for living as outlined and talked about throughout the Bible. As you live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit —our “Wonderful Counselor” HE will teach you how to love your spouse in a way that you have never known before.
Author Nancy Kennedy testifies that she and her husband “never should have married.” But in her article she explains “what we did about it.” I believe you will find it helpful to read:
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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