Being “in love.” There’s hardly a greater feeling. There is such an emotional high involved that it’s hard to describe it to someone who has never experienced it. It is kind of like trying to explain color to someone who has been blind since birth and has no concept of what that could look like. There is no opportunity to remember a distant memory of something you never experienced in the first place.
It’s also one of those feelings that is like an elusive butterfly. It is hard to keep. That is because life has a way of causing a disturbance so it eventually flitters away. It then becomes just a distant memory. The “in love” feeling is one that most all of us want to have and keep forever with that special someone. And when we marry, believe we will. But too many are finding that they won’t.
In Love Becomes a Distant Memory
I’ve got to tell you the other side, though. We hear about it almost every day in this ministry. Time and time again we hear about those ten dreaded words. Someone has been told by their spouse, “I love you but I’m not IN LOVE with you.”
I believe that statement comes straight from the pit of hell. It makes me cringe and feel sick to my stomach every time I hear it. How is it possible to love the other by saying that to them? You either love someone or you don’t. And if you love your spouse, you would never even start to think of delivering that message to them. That is… unless you knew the feeling was mutual. These words are hurtful, devastating, degrading, dishonoring, and plain out dishonest!
We’re told in the Bible, “Love is kind.” There’s nothing kind about stabbing your spouse’s heart with those words. Love also “does not insist on its own way.” Almost always when that statement is given, the offending spouse is telling the other that he or she is leaving the marriage. Many times they already have someone else all lined up to take their marriage “partner’s” place. Where is the “love” in all of that?
And the drama goes on when children are involved. The offending spouse tells them that he or she loves them. But where is “love” being poured out as their home is being ripped apart? How “kind” is that? How is it not seen that this is totally self-seeking?
Distant Memory of Vows and Promises Made
What happened to all of the promises and vows? Or does that not count, if you fall out of being “in love” with the person you promised to “love until death do you part?” What does that say to God and all the “witnesses” you said your vows in front of on your wedding day? And what does that say to your children about keeping promises?
Sure, I know there are abusive spouses and ones who cheat. But I’m not talking about not being “in love” with them here. I’m talking about spouses who decide the absence of the feelings of being “in love” with their spouse. They believe it justifies their being allowed to break their heart, even though they say they “love” them. Baloney! That’s not LOVE! That’s just a stupid way of saying, “I’m out of here and this phrase seems politer.” It isn’t, but that over-used line makes sense to thrill-seekers and self-seekers.
They say that divorce is contagious among friends. Once a friend divorces, others start considering doing the same. We’ve seen this happen many times. And isn’t it coincidental that all of a sudden the phrase, “I love you but I’m not in love with you” is one that is so commonly heard now-a-days? Where did that come from? We never heard that phrase used in years past. Why now? Could it be that people are grabbing onto it as it is being fed to one another?
I can tell you that you didn’t hear it in the Bible. Here are a few things we DO read about in the Bible, concerning love. I’m going to add a few thoughts after some of them, included in [brackets].
We’re told in Matthew 22:37–39: “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.‘” [I wonder if that includes dumping your spouse because at this time you don’t feel “in love?”]
Luke 6:35: “But love your enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing back…” [How are you loving your spouse if you’re abandoning him or her, breaking his or her heart? Is that doing “good?”]
John 15:13 we’re told: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” [Does laying down our life mean that we’re to abandon our bride or our groom?]
Romans 12:9: “Don’t let love be a mere outward show. Recoil from what is evil, and cling to what is good.” [What is good in breaking your spouse’s and children’s hearts? Where is the “cling” in that gesture of “love?”]
Romans 13:10: “Love does not do harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fullness of Torah.” [Breaking someone’s heart, and not working on the marriage sure seems like it could be interpreted as doing “harm” to our neighbor, our spouse.]
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 we’re told: “Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not gloat over other people’s sins but takes its delight in the truth. Love always bears up. It always trusts, always hopes, always endures. Love never ends; but prophecies will pass, tongues will cease, knowledge will pass.” [Where is dumping out of the marriage, not giving the repentant spouse, and/or the confused, hurt spouse a chance to help you both rebuild love tie into all of this?]
1 Corinthians 13:13: “But for now, three things last trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.” [Note that we aren’t told that it’s the “in love” feeling, but rather love —which means sacrificial love.]
Ephesians 4:2: “Always be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love…” [Hmmm… how can you be “bearing” with someone that you leave because the “feeling” isn’t there right now?]
Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. ” [Did Christ dump his bride for a newer model? By giving “Himself up for her” could that include abandoning her?]
1 Peter 4:8: “More than anything, keep loving each other actively; because love covers many sins.” [You can’t “actively keep loving” someone you abandon.]
1 John 4:7: “Beloved friends, let us love one another; because love is from God; and everyone who loves has God as his Father and knows God.” [Are we showing that we love God when we leave our spouse because the “feeling” is gone?]
Furthermore, Please Note:
1 John 4:19: “We ourselves love now because he loved us first.” [Did the “love” that Jesus gave us stop Him from going to the cross for us, His bride? Did He leave us because He no longer had that “in love” feeling for His bride?]
John 15:13: “No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends.” [Laying down one’s life doesn’t include leaving them crying and crushed in spirit.]
Ephesians 5:25: “As for husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her.” [The same applies.]
Ephesians 5:33: “However, each of you individually: let each man love his wife as he does himself, and see that the wife respects her husband.” [You aren’t showing love and respect to someone you abandon and turn your back on.]
Colossians 3:14: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” [What unity? How can there be unity when there is abandonment involved?]
1 Peter 4:8: “And above all things have fervent love among yourselves: for love shall cover the multitude of sins.” [Fervent love is active, attentive love —feelings included or no.]
1 John 3:16-18 “The way that we have come to know love is through his having laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers! If someone has worldly possessions and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how can he be loving God? Let us love not with words and talk, but with actions and in reality!” [Words are hollow and empty when they aren’t accompanied by an open heart and spirit.]
More to Note:
1 John 3:16: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” [We know the context of this scripture includes sisters. It also tells us that Jesus Christ “laid down His life for us.” So, what would Jesus do, in your marriage? Would he abandon His bride and tell her that he’s sorry, but the “in love” feeling is gone so there’s going to be no more laying down of lives here?]
1 John 3:18: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” [Does that mean that when the feeling of being “in love” is gone, we should take the action of abandoning our spouse?]
1 John 4:8: “He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.” [We’re told God is love… not that He is the feeling of being “in love”]
Lord, Teach Us to Love
There are many, many more scriptures that tell us how to love one another. I dare say that if we follow what God says instead of what people are telling each other, in their own contagious ways, we’d see a whole lot less divorcing going on!
God can teach us how to love one another —after-all, God IS Love. Who better to teach us? The problem is that too many spouses get to the point where they abandon what God tells them to do, substitute what they hear from others —that which “tickles” their ears, and dump out of their marriages, in pursuit of the “feeling” of being “in love.”
Yes, they can find that feeling again. But it’s a horrible price for everyone else involved, to pay. The principles for TRULY loving each other, are the principles for living, which are laid out throughout the Bible. Follow them… live them, and you will truly love as Christ would have you. And the bonus is that you may very well start to feel “in love” again.
That’s what happened with my husband Steve and me. I thought I would never be able to recapture that feeling again. Not only has God helped me to get that feeling back, as I apply His principles, He keeps amping up the love. I DEEPLY love my husband. (Here’s a glimpse into part of that journey: What Cindy Wright Has Learned About Marriage.)
— ALSO —
Here’s a glimpse into some of the “principles for loving, which are the principles for living” that I refer to in this blog:
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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