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

Not in Love AdobeStock_65368504 copyIf your spouse says to you, “I love you but I’m not IN love with you anymore” … OUCH! You are experiencing a big OUCH to the Nth degree! Even if you’ve said those words to your spouse, I say OUCH! Those words cause a lot of pain to a lot of spouses. And it causes a lot of pain and huge upsets to a lot of families.

When those words are given, you are either the giver or the receiver of that pain. Either way there are horribly hurt feelings that are involved!

I Love But I’m Not IN Love With You

Tragically, that phrase of loving, but not being in love with the spouse is being said by marriage partners everywhere we turn. It’s like a deadly plague that is pushed out in epidemic proportions. And it’s infecting and killing marriages all over the world. We call it the “in and out of love” sickness. That’s because that’s what it is!

Now, I’m not throwing verbal stones. 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. As a result, I just wasn’t experiencing the same romantic feelings I once had for him. I concluded that I didn’t love him anymore and that this “love” would never return. All I could think was, I wanted out! So I understand the reasoning involved in saying those words. And it almost brought the death of our marriage.

Thankfully, God intervened and opened my eyes. All was not hopeless. I just thought it was. After some convincing, God then helped me to resurrect a new love—a true love for my husband. We now have a great marriage (with on-going work). And we have a deep, deep love for each other. Years before, I would never have thought that would be possible. But it was.

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

Lessons Learned

Through the things I’ve experienced 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. But when that “high” leaves us, we’re ready to leave and jump into the next emotional high of “love.”

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…“)

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 you could actually be experiencing temporary infatuation, “lust” or a bio-chemical rush that lasts for a season. These feelings are unsustainable in the long-run if you don’t follow through with decisions to help it to grow.

A lot of this is discussed in a Today’s Christian Woman article written by Leon Scott Baxter titled, “We’ve Got Chemistry.” But I’ll sum up a bit of what he wrote in this article (and other talks I’ve heard him give on this issue). He writes:

“Why isn’t my relationship that exciting? The easy answer: because that’s ‘new love.’ That’s fresh love. That’s the love we used to have. Phenylethylamine (PEA) is one of the culprits for the excitement of ‘new love.’ PEA is a brain chemical that acts like an amphetamine (yes, the drug) during the early stages in a relationship. Your body reacts to it like it would an upper. But it’s without the harmful side effects and embarrassment of failing a urine test.

“Another effect of PEA is the release of the chemical dopamine. This little neurotransmitter—a chemical messenger that sends a message from one nerve cell to another in the brain—boosts both our energy levels and our motivation. Why do you think men write love letters and wear cologne and take showers early on in relationships? They’re being flooded with dopamine.”

Another thing that contributes to “new love” is:

“The hormone of desire. That would have to be testosterone. Dopamine is the spigot to testosterone’s faucet; but it’s not a hormone just for men. Testosterone is present in both men and women. It’s released to prepare our bodies for intimacy.”

This particular article (and other talks Leon has given) goes on to talk about “new love.” This is something we all know about. It’s exciting, and causes us to go into a euphoric state, physically and emotionally. I remember when I first thought that I was falling in love with my husband Steve. It was one of the most exciting times of my life. I thought about him all the time. I also overlooked his faults and only saw the “good” in him. It was a lovely time. Who doesn’t enjoy that kind of a ride and want to get back onto it?

Other “Contributions” to Feelings of Love

Other chemicals within us that contribute to the feelings of “love” that Leon Baxter talks about are Endorphins:

“They are the neurotransmitters our brains release to reward us for good behavior. When we win, laugh, exercise, have sex, or fall in love, endorphins are released. They’re the reasons why we want to continue winning, laughing, exercising, having sex, and falling in love. Endorphins motivate and energize us. They make us feel happy and alive. Additionally, they allow us to cope with stress easily.”

There’s also, Serotonin:

“It’s a neurotransmitter that women produce during the ‘romantic love’ phase. Serotonin eases women, relaxing them, allowing them to feel comfort, contentment, and optimism. But that’s only true if their husbands give them the opportunity.”

Two other chemicals that contribute are:

“The cuddle chemical …a pleasant side effect of increased serotonin is the release of oxytocin. This little bugger is just phenomenal. It’s been called ‘the hormone of love,’ and ‘the foundation of romance.’ It’s even called ‘the key to lasting relationships.’ And, get this, it affects both men and women. Not bad, eh?

“Oxytocin lets us bond with the ones we love. Instead of insomniac thoughts of our love interest, we feel peacefully warm, loving, and affectionate toward him or her. The release of oxytocin is often triggered by touch. This includes a hug, back massage, even a gentle brush on the neck. But the hormone can also respond to other types of cues. This can be a whisper in the ear, a song on the radio, or a pleasing fragrance. When oxytocin is doing its job, we feel the need to romantically or intimately touch the one we love. And this in turn, releases the flow of the hormone in your mate.”

New Love

When you look at all of this going on within our bodies, it’s no wonder why “new love” can be exciting. We’re on a bio-chemical high — one that scientist believe starts to dissipate “somewhere after one-and-a-half to four years.” It’s a time when “the body grows used to these natural stimulants that bombard our systems during ‘new love.’ When that happens, love changes.”

It has to, our bodies couldn’t take the continual high. But much of this chemical stimulation can still be experienced, plus new, more satisfying feelings can be lived out with your spouse, if you do the things that triggered the Oxytocin, and seratonin and such, that we first experienced when we “fell” in love. We’ll talk about that a bit further down in this article.

I didn’t realize this when I first fell in “love” and eventually married Steve. It’s easy to 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. You may sleep with a shirt left behind, or listen to a song that reminds you of him or her. Perhaps you’ll 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”)

After the Infatuation Passes

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.

What IS Love?

“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)

Noun and a Verb

God taught me that I had to put feet to my faith to grow true love for my husband. Love is both a noun and a verb. I still needed to be loving in my actions, even though I wasn’t experiencing the feelings of love. As I did that, eventually the feelings did come along for the ride. I decided to do things for Steve, “as unto the Lord” and trust God for the result. I needed to exercise mature love. This is the type of love 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. It’s 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. They thought the same thing. But I did what I needed to do, and they did as well. As a result, 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.

A Journey

For me, it was a journey that God took me on to learn what real love was all about. I needed 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. Then I learned more about my husband, and worked on my own issues. I 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. Also, 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 web site article titled, “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.” 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.

Your Journey

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 asking God to show you how to endure 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. They probably saw no end in sight to their situations. But eventually they did see a positive answer to their toils and their prayers.

Not Giving Up

I think of missionaries who will go years and years without a single convert. Then eventually, because they kept going on and didn’t give up (despite continual discouragement), 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. History records how close they came to victory. But someone else received the benefit of their labor instead. That’s because they gave up JUST before the going got good.

What I Can Tell You

I can’t tell you if that is the journey you are on or not. But I do 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).

God is Here for You

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. God’s 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.

Don’t Have All the Answers

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

Different Twist

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


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. I’d like to pass them along to you. It may be the reason you are to read this article, to gain a clearer understanding of your situation. Eventually the Lord will reveal more to help you in the future.

Confusing Words

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.

Other Issues

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)

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.”

Do What It Takes

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, 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. As a result, their love is never stronger. But after the vows are given, the pair stops pursuing. Their attention is instead turned toward their careers, their new family, and taking care of the home. This is when their love becomes starved for attention. And this is where the feeling of closeness begins to wane.’

“’Intuitively everyone understands this relationship between love and attention. This is 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.’”

Romantic Ideas

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

Lastly, on this issue, here’s a portion of what Pastor Mark at Mars Hill Downtown Bellevue said in a sermon titled, “Friends with Benefits.” It’s something for you 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.”


I/we wish new and true love could be infused into your spouse’s heart for you. We also wish love could 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.

Steve and I can’t do much more for you than what we offer in this article and on this web site. But 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. He can help in ways you may not be able to imagine.

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. It is a prayer, based on scripture, God can 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, mind and focus centered on doing things His way. You can ask Him to give you peace of mind in the process.

When you don’t feel in love, here’s a prayer:

“LORD I COME BEFORE YOU. I 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 marriage, You will never leave or forsake me.

“Lord, I confess as sin any time I have felt hopeless about my situation. 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. 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. Please 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).

Heavenly Father:

“Help me to become a child —entirely dependent upon You. 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).

“We may suffer at times in this marriage because of things one of us has done or not done. Yet 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 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.’ I know You can change everything in my life (1 Thessalonians 1:3). In Jesus’ name I pray.”

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.

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246 responses to “I Love You But I’m Not IN LOVE With You

  1. I recently discovered my husband was having an emotional affair with another woman. After a few discussions with him he has told me he ‘loves me (because I am the mother of our child) but isn’t IN LOVE with me” and that he feels like he has (for the past 6 months) “felt no connection with me: emotionally, physically-nothing.” He also told me he had gotten to the point that he no longer “cared” about us.

    I am seeking Christian counseling on my own and invited him but he just says “I don’t know.” I’m not pressing him to go -I’ve left it in his hands by simply asking him to tell me when he is ready to go together or to ask for contact information if he would like to start by going in his own. And he agreed he would. I have been spending restless evenings and nights in prayer and I am wholly hoping and trusting in God to restore our marriage with mature love that is so much deeper than the love we used to know. I want our marriage to work. I want my husband to see sincere change, love and devotion in me and I desire to see his sincerity and honesty.

  2. Hello, So I’ve been reading articles like this and trying to live them for a few years now, and I still feel the same. I’ve been praying, working the fake it till you make it, and I still do not feel a huge gap. I love him in the sense that I love who he is. He is a good person, and my best friend, and I would do anything for him. But I do not have romantic feelings towards him. I am not attracted to him. I don’t want to hurt him, but when is enough, enough? I am feeling depressed, which is likely the result of all the hormones etc… you mentioned, being absent, but also because I feel like a great big phony.

    He is still in love with me, and I feel like I am lying to him. When my husband and I are intimate it feels awkward, like being intimate with a friend, but I know I can’t fulfill those desires elsewhere so I pretend to be into it. Is it possible to grow apart and realize that you and your spouse have so little in common that you live almost completely separate lives? We share none of the same passions anymore. Who I was, and what I wanted in a partner, when I met and fell in love with him was different than it is now. We were those care free rebels who partied all the time and had a lot of fun together.

    Fast forward to now, we have a son, I have grown up, working on building a career, and he is too busy mourning the old days. I no longer want a drinking buddy, I want a partner. But if I stay, I fear, I’ll never have that partner, that I will instead become that lonely, middle aged woman who has an affair here and there to feel connected, and feel some excitement. What should I do, fess up and be honest about how I feel, and likely get a divorce, or keep trying and hoping until I fall apart?

    1. Oh gosh, I feel so similarly to you. My husband and I have had many ups and downs, including a 2+ year struggle with infertility. We had some problems prior to starting trying to conceive, and went to counseling to get a handle on it all.

      Over two years later, I’m married to a handsome, successful man. He doesn’t abuse me, isn’t an addict of any sort. He will be an amazing father, he has a wonderful extended family relationship, and fits perfectly into my large family. All in all, a great “catch”.

      But I sit here, hesitating to pull the trigger on adopting our first child. It has brought to light some huge issues, which include me not being attracted to him. A sharp decline in physical intimacy happens during fertility treatments. It is common. However, we had issues with the physical intimacy prior to us starting that. It just made it worse. We have not been intimate in 2.5 months. I feel that I am not “in love” with him anymore. I want to run away, start over.

      I’ve learned so many things through these types of blogs, hoping they’d help me to change my heart. Unfortunately, it seems to make me feel empowered for my next relationship. I think I feel this way because, without being annoyingly long-winded and explaining, my husband does not act as a partner with me. He runs the house, makes the big bucks, etc. He told me a year ago that he felt himself drifting away from me, that he was losing love. We started counseling again, and have been going fairly regularly.

      We don’t fight often, and can get along and have fun with each other easily. But my top love language is Physical Touch (which isn’t just sex), and he rarely touches me. My second highest is Words of Affirmation, which can also mean that negative words and statements will stick with me longer. I have held onto that conversation a year ago, remembering.

      I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m giving it more time. I’m so ready for a child, but it’s not right to bring one into a sexless, potentially loveless marriage. I recently started anti-depressants and am waiting out the 6 week period for the effects to build up.

      I said a lot about me, but just know, I understand. After reading this article, I know that in the 7 years we’ve been together, we have not used Love as a Verb properly. There is so much resentment and anger to overcome (on both sides), and we have been working through it (somewhat unsuccessfully) for a year. I haven’t given up just yet. I think if I feel any hesitation to say I am done, then that is a sign that I have more work to do. Good luck!

  3. Hi, I just want to point out that your experience wasn’t necessarily the same as anyone who’s used that phrase. I married my husband because he was a good man and I felt he was in love with me. But I never experienced any of those hormonal romantic feelings for him that typically bind people together. After reading so many articles like this, where people rekindled their love through the “action” of loving, I took a leap of faith that my own feelings could grow toward my husband if I worked at it enough. Although I do love him more in some ways, we still feel more like friends or family who have shared big life experiences. I still do not feel “in love” and struggle with being physically attracted to him – even though he is an attractive man.

    That has led to a decline in his feelings for me as well. Considering that physical intimacy is the one need that absolutely can’t be ethically met with someone else, I feel I have no choice but to end the marriage. For all practical matters, we love our life together, but I’ve come to believe that having at least those memories of feeling romantically in love with your spouse is essential to the long-term strength of a marriage.

    1. Do him (AND yourself) a favor –tell him how you feel; be honest. You DO owe him that much –and let him decide if he wants to stay. Here’s the catch; if he does decide to leave, YOU have to own it. YOU have to make it clear why. The courts and the court of public opinion is on your side. You will almost assuredly be the “betrayed spouse” and it’s all HIS fault. It will be YOUR responsibility to own it –publicly and frequently. You obviously have no physical desire or romantic feelings toward him. It happens; not going to cast stones at you, but the man you married deserves to have the opportunity to find someone who DOES desire him, preferably while he is still young enough to do so, that is if you haven’t already stolen 20-30 years from him, stringing him along and letting him hope it would one day get better, which more and more seems to be the case these days.

  4. Me and my wife were married for 30 years when she had an affair. I always thought that I would kick her out if that ever happened, but God gave me more love for her. God brought to my heart and mind that I had committed adultry on Him many, many times and He never quit on me. She came back to me 4 years ago but now says that she loves me but not like a marriage type love. She wants to move out on her own and get a divorce. She assures me that there is no man involved and I believe her. We are both professing Christians but she has changed so very much, all her values have changed. I have loved her with all my heart and continue to.

    I have even questioned my Lord why He does not take my love for her away. I am so broken hearted and if not for God I could not survive. This woman loved me and was right by my side for 30 years; she has been the best wife a man could ever have. We have been through Christian counseling and I thought things were getting better but she told me about 3 months ago she had been trying to change the way she feels but her feelings for me would not come back. I cannot talk to her, kiss her or even hold her without her being cold. I try to turn this over to the Lord, pray and feed on God’s Word but my flesh still wants to fix this and I can’t. I don’t know what to do but I want her to come back to God and me. I am hurting so bad and am trying not to let our adult kids and my grandbabies see the hurt. Please pray!!!!!

    1. Ricky, I am SO sorry for what you are experiencing, Brother. Rarely do we see someone so lovingly and patiently pursue and wait for his wife’s heart to change. Cindy and I believe this (“I love you, but I’m not in love with you”) is an epidemic – even in the Christian church. The catalyst we often see is that it starts where the person works. Once a person gets a divorce it starts others in the office/department start thinking this “may be okay to do.” Of course we know it is the enemy of our faith who uses this tactic to normalize sinful behavior.

      You have done exactly what I would have told you to do: put your full hope and trust in God to work on her heart. It appears you have done everything humanly possible to, as you say, “fix it.” Remember what’s impossible for us is where God does His best work. I have one suggestion for you to try. There is an organization called Retrouvaille (pronounced Retro-Vy). They’ve been around for decades but not many people outside of the catholic faith are aware of what they do.

      They put on a weekend workshop for couples who are on the brink of divorce. It is peer led by couples who were right where you are now. They have a success rate of 80% of couples who were going to divorce reconciling and putting their marriage back together. I know they are operating in your area. Just Google “Retrouvaille, put your city name here.” Two leads popped up when I did it. Now, if you are uncomfortable going to a catholic based weekend there are other denominations who also use Retrouvaille. From people I’ve talked to who have gone through this the denomination is not pushed on people – it’s all about saving marriages. Pray about this and explore it to see if this is viable for you and your wife. There’s always one spouse who wants to get the other spouse there and practically has to drag them only to find by the end of the weekend their love rekindled.

      I’ll be praying for you, Ricky, and if your wife agrees to go to a weekend come back to our web site and post a prayer request on our prayer wall before you go to the weekend. We have thousands of people come to the web site every day and many of them are prayer warriors. I’m reminded of Galatians 6:9, “Do not become weary in well doing for we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Blessings! ~ Steve Wright, Marriage Missions International

    2. Ricky,I’m sorry for your pain and I pray for your marriage. I pray God showers your wife with love and I pray the Holy Spirit shines in her heart. I pray He takes your pain away. God bless you.

  5. Reading this hurts more than you can imagine. My wife of 20-plus years dropped this bombshell on me in recent years and was confirmed on her end by her Christian counselor that she had every right to feel this way. That she could “love me” with an agape love similar to that of God, but not have the “erotica” love –or that “fluttery” feeling of love –for me anymore.

    While I’m the very first to say that I have not been a perfect husband and have hurt my wife with my behavior and words, I have truly always cherished and desired her and she still makes my heart flutter to this day when she walks into a room as we near our 22nd anniversary. Life’s trials and circumstances that have included three bouts of unemployment over the past 12 years, bankruptcy and troubles with our oldest child have helped lead to the disconnect that saw my wife pull away from me.

    Then, over the course of a 2-year span, her heart grew cold enough toward me that she had an emotional affair that gave her that “fluttery” feeling again for another man in our church that was exposed this past summer. While we are still together and she has her “agape” love for me, she said she is trying to fall “in love” (that “erotica” love) with me again.

    My heart is broken and crushed and some days I wonder if it’s all worth it even as I press into Christ and strengthen my walk with the Lord. I’ve to draw every breath of strength from the Holy Spirit in order to survive, but I wonder daily if my wife will ever find that “in love” feeling for me ever again.

    As a Christian man –and her as a Christian woman who is also pressing into God daily –at what point do you patiently continue to struggle daily and wait upon those feelings? Do you just continue to live in a marriage filled with nothing but constant tension waiting for the next argument to erupt while trying to find ways to connect and communicate? What kind of life is that? I truly still love this woman that I know has been a blessing in my life and a blessing from God. I know she does not reciprocate the same to me, does not respect me, does not desire me, so it makes it so difficult to keep fighting the good fight and not let the enemy destroy yet another marriage covenant of one flesh that God joined together!

    Please pray! I want reconciliation and redemption no matter how long I must wait and no matter how much work must be done to correct the hurt and pain from the past.

  6. My now ex wife and I were together 17 years, 8 of them married, when she states I love you but I’m not in love with you and asked to separate. Our marriage had ups and downs, a lot of arguments, some heated with hollering and belittling and name calling. We both made mistakes but I understand my mistakes and have worked on myself to change myself and actions that needed addressing. We have now since then seperated and 6 months later she filed for a divorce which is now over as well. We have a beautiful little 7 year old together and still remain close friends and even hang out together some still as well. I’ve asked her if maybe I would have another shot at us again and she says right now no, but she can’t predict the future.

    She now has another man in the picture that I believe is telling her all the right things to be with her and new different feelings she is feeling from him is the new infatuation feelings and I feel like I can’t compete with those strong feelings. DO I HAVE A CHANCE??? I pray to God every day to lead me, give me strength and wisdom to get through this. I pray that whatever lesson he has for me to learn, that I learn it and I pray that his will be for her and I to reconcile our love and hopefully remarry.

  7. Me and my wife are going true problems. She said she don’t love me and I am crushed. I’m seeking help. Can you please help?

    1. Alex… so, so sorry for what’s happening with your wife. I can well imagine you are crushed. I truly wish we could help, but other than what we offer in the articles, and our prayers, which you have, we can’t do much more. Pray, such as you’ve never prayed before that God will give you insight and will talk to your wife. Take God’s advice on doing your part, no matter what happens, and trust God that He will keep talking to your wife. She has a free will, but God is persuasive, for sure. Do your part and trust God to do His. Prayerfully, your wife will open her eyes to see the possibility of the good that can come into your relationship as you both put your hands into His to teach you even more how to truly love each other and grow that love beyond anything you could have had apart.

  8. This article and prayer are beautiful. I love my wife so much, and I’ve taken things for granted. Now I may lose her… forever. It’s hard to have hope; it really is. I’m struggling. I’m devastated. I moved away from all of my family to be here with her. Definitely not what I was hoping for. I’m so sorry for anything I’ve done/not done to be what she needs me to be. I struggle with backsliding. I really do. I know this, and I need help.

    I quoted this prayer as the tears rolled down my cheeks. Thank you for creating this page. I could’ve found 100 others, but I was directed here…I’m going to do my best to keep faith and hope.

    1. Andrew, it always encourages Cindy and me whenever we read a testimony like yours and the power an awakening can have in the life of a marriage. We wish more couples experienced these. You say it’s hard to have hope right now. That’s understandable. You’re still trying to negotiate the process of reconciliation and rebuilding. So, Cindy and I will “Hope for you.” We have hope because we have witnessed so many marriages over the years at the same place you are right now and because of the perseverance and willingness to do the hard work they found healing, wholeness and even happiness again. But, it didn’t happen overnight.

      I’m going to challenge you to do something that may very well be out of your comfort zone – take on a prayer project for the next 30 days – to pray for your wife from head to toe. Go back to our web site and in the Spiritual Matters section you’ll see “Praying For Your wife From Head to Toe.” This is a brand new resource that Cindy and I developed because we believe that the best way to get hope back into a marriage is through concerted/directed prayer. I would encourage you to not say anything to your wife for the first two weeks about you doing this. That way you can watch to see how the Holy Spirit starts to work in her heart to soften her.

      In addition to this project, I think you should also go into the Romantic Ideas topic and print out the “100 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife Her Way” article. Take it to her and ask her to circle three things that she would like you to do over the next 30 days that would be most meaningful to her. If she asks why you’re doing this you can tell her it’s because you came to realize you took her for granted for way too long and you are committed to change because you love her so much.

      If she rebuffs you wait a couple of days and give the document to her and challenge her to do it – if for no other reason than just to see how serious you are about this.

      Now, Andrew, I can’t promise you that you’ll see an immediate change in your wife’s heart, so be patient. Just like your marriage didn’t fall part in a day, a week, or even a year, it will take time for her to rebuild trust in you. We have lots of other articles on our web site that can help build you up, too (i.e. For Married Men section). Please keep us posted on any progress. Again, we are “hoping” for you through this process and believing God for a great and miraculous healing. Blessings, brother!

  9. Hi, I just read your article and the prayer. I also heard the words I love you but am not in love with you. Me and my husband have been married for 13 years. I lost my job due both of us deciding I would move back to my home town 3 hours away to find a job.

    Well I did I got a job. A week later I got a call telling me he loved me but not like he was when we got married. Something has happened to my loving caring husband. He shows no feeling to anyone anymore. He has closed himself off. I’m worried about him and our marriage. I don’t want to throw 13 years away but I don’t know what to do anymore.

  10. I wrote this poem for my husband. It’s title is “If you love me”.
    If you love me, hug me.
    If you love me, kiss me.
    If you love me, hold me.
    If you love me, keep me warm
    If you love me, whisper sweet words in my ear.
    If you love me, love me.

  11. My husband of almost 21 years has recently told me he isn’t in love with me anymore. He had an emotional affair and says it’s not about her it’s about us. I also had an emotional affair 2 1/2 years ago and repeatedly asked to go to counseling and he refused. He has told me that although he continually told me he loved me that he wasn’t prepared to deal with how he feels.

    He wants to move out to work on how he feels because he says I’m too sad and emotional for us to get anywhere. I have told him that what hurts is that I gave him every opportunity to be honest about how he feels but I don’t understand how to act around him.

    I have loved him my whole life it feels like and have only wanted his love and attention. I want him to stay and I want to be the kind of wife God wants me to be but I don’t know how to live that. I am utterly devastated. I don’t know where to turn. We are seeing a counselor but one hour a week just seems to be making the situation worse and not solution based. He’s getting angry and frustrated when I show emotion. Don’t know what to do.

  12. I’ve been married (3rd marriage for both of us) for over 9 years now, and from the beginning, it has been one-sided. I’m turning 60 this year–I never thought I’d see myself in this situation with a “believer” and I have done everything, read everything, tried all the advice that Christian authors/pastors/counselors suggest. Anytime anything is brought up in conversation other than the weather or work, it’s World War III.

    I learned early on that emotional, REAL conversation is not allowed. Needless to say, hubby is NOT willing to “schedule discussions,” go to counseling, or talk about anything meaningful. I’m exhausted. I saw a Christian counselor a few years into our marriage who told me, in no uncertain terms, that what we have is NOT a marriage but an arrangement, and if he’s not willing to treat me like a wife, I shouldn’t have to treat him like a husband.

    So far he has not laid a hand on me in his rage, but he HAS thrown my dog across the room a time or two. I have physical symptoms–chronic pain and fatigue–that I know without a doubt are caused by all the stress at home. I feel like a prisoner, and my heart is cold and numb. I’d like to talk to him about the possibility of just co-existing peacefully but independently, but I know that just to suggest that things aren’t “wonderful” will cause a huge fight.

    Many people see him as a knight in shining armor, but behind closed doors he can be so cruel and insulting (and violent). It’s just not worth it to “try” again to resolve things that have been wrong for years. My prayer life is dry, and I am in lots of pain. I’ve started drinking–REALLY drinking. I am very, very depressed and very lonely in this marriage. I know the Bible says God loves me, but…

    1. Reading all these heartbreaking stories really makes me sad. Somehow we are living in a world where the blessing of a family has been taken for granted. We do not realize how important it is to have a family and to respect a marriage for what it really is. Divorce is used as an excuse for nearly everything. What I have learnt is when a person says I do not love you any more it really means I do not love myself. It means that when love goes it just shows the emptiness we have inside. Love does not walk away from us, WE walk away from love. WE CHOOSE not to have it or cherish it.

      When we search for love somewhere else it is wrong. We first need to search it in ourselves. It is not fair to expect someone else to fill our emptiness inside. It is selfish. The new relationship will be also doomed with the sentence ” I do not love you anymore”. If we really want to find true love, we need to find ourselves with the love of God. When we find the true love that God has given us, we are then to love others.

      After 20 years of marriage I have also heard these terrible words. It feels like death to hear these words from someone you trusted with your whole life. To all those beautiful spouses out there, if your spouse says these hearbreaking words to you, it does NOT mean you were not good enough or loving enough. It means we need to open our eyes and see what love really is. It is what God gave us. If we do not have God in our hearts we do not know how to love.

  13. This is my marriage. My wife’s family is chaos, drama, you name it, they have done it. We once had a great marriage but the drama of her family has wore her down, plus she wants to be the problem solver. Things will improve for a few days until the phone rings…

    PLEASE don’t vomit your drama on your family members. Ask for help, but SOLVE your issues.