Words You Never Want to Hear

Adobe stock Words Have Power written on chalkboard“I love you, but I’m not IN love with you.”

If you’ve heard those words you probably just had a very painful flashback. For that, we’re deeply sorry. Those are words you never want to hear, and rightly so.

Ten years ago Cindy and I rarely, if ever, heard this said. Today it’s like a plague. We see this phrase many, many times every week as people leave comments on our web site. In fact, what prompted me to write about this was what one person said as she left her comment on the web site. It was written under the article, “I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You.” She said, “These words are like a death sentence.”

Stopped to Think

I never thought of it that way. However, when I stopped to think about those words, to the one who is on the receiving end, it carries as much pain as if someone screams, “You’re dead to me!” How can you say those words to someone if you truly DO “love” them —whether you’re “IN love” with them or not?

Here’s what I visualize when I see this sentence. It’s tragic enough when it comes from a spouse in ANY marriage, but what is especially tragic is that on our web site the vast majority of people who write about this are Christians. They say they are “followers of Christ.” Can you imagine Jesus saying this? Almost every time I see this I say to myself, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” And I imagine God weeping over what is happening to His people.

What I don’t think we realize is that this death sentence comes from the pit of hell. And every time it’s spoken we imagine the enemy of our faith dancing with glee because of their victory.

We Didn’t Feel Love

Honestly, there have been times in our marriage where Cindy and I didn’t “feel” love for each other. In fact, there were times we could barely stand being in the same room with one another. But, how we THANK GOD we stopped giving into those feelings and worked to SHOW love, so that eventually the feelings of true love had a chance to take root, and grow stronger than ever.

We all mess up and say and do hurtful things to each other we wish we could take back. If you’re in a place right now where you don’t think you can hang on one more day because of the pain —PLEASE, we beg of you don’t let the words, “I love you, but I’m not IN love with you” ever come out of your mouth. Instead, say something like:

“I’m not loving you like I should —like I know God wants me to. I’m hurt and I don’t know what to do; but I am committed to you and this marriage and with God’s help we will find a way to restore our love. We need to get on our knees and seek His help because I won’t let the enemy get the victory by us splitting up.”

Pray Then Glean

To find ways and help to repair and restore a broken relationship, please pray first. Ask God for a special dose of wisdom. And then glean through the following articles. Use what you feel God would have you. You can also look through the various topics we make available to see what else God can show you:






If there’s ONE marriage that is saved from this Insight then Cindy and I will “dance with glee.” We will be praising God, along with the angels –knowing God will be “well pleased!”

We pray for you and for every marriage relationship God allows us to touch. We are asking God to “fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.(Colossians 1:9-10)

Steve and Cindy Wright

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Filed under: Marriage Insights

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6 responses to “Words You Never Want to Hear

  1. Hi Steve and Cindy, Thank-you for this article. This concept of “sticking it out” when the feelings temporarily fade is not something many people, including Christians are taught. Romantic love is “supposed” to be “happily ever after” – right? If I’m not “in love” it must be over. I see this in my counseling office. But NORMALIZING the experience is so important. An older lady stated at a women’s Bible study that she had fallen in and out of love with her husband several times over their 40+ year marriage before he passed away. This gave me tremendous hope. And this is what I pass on.

    Long marriages are not long because they stayed “in love” throughout the marriage but because they continued to love regardless of the feelings at the time. My one concern about this article is that you say it is not loving to say this. I am not sure about that. Bringing something out in the open is important in order to work through it and get help. Does it hurt the other person? Yes. But is it not loving? I am not convinced of that…of course that would also depend on the manner in which the message is delivered. A spouse desperately reaching out for help and saying it because they honestly have no idea what to do about it, is different than one coldly dismissing the other with it.

    1. Thank you Tammy, for your thoughts on this important matter. The one point we disagree on is whether or not to tell our spouse that we aren’t “in love” with them, even though we claim to “love” them. It’s one thing to say, “I’m not feeling the thrill of loving each other anymore; I’m struggling because we have seemed to have lost the intimacy we both had for each other once, and the closeness. But I’m committed to you and truly want to work WITH you to get closer to each other as we should as husband and wife.” It’s another to tell someone they are no longer “in love” with that spouse and want to back away or leave the marriage (especially since many who say that have an idea of someone else they want to invest their time into –other than their spouse). One gives hope; the other introduces fear, confusion, anxiety, and panic for the other spouse as to how to hold things together when everything seems to be falling apart. There’s nothing loving about that.

      If you truly “love”… you don’t crush –you keep working on that love. The first way is showing love with commitment to pursue more, and the second is to dump out of commitment, which isn’t loving in any way. Don’t say you “love” and yet also say you’re through when it hasn’t been an abusive (safety) situation that has led you to that point, but rather a search for the “in love” feeling. The first way also takes ownership that the problem isn’t all the other spouse’s fault because of something being wrong with them, where the second seems to say, “the ‘in love’ feeling is gone and I’m withdrawing from you” (causing the other spouse to feel that it’s their fault and they have to grasp at straws to try to salvage matters by themselves). There IS a difference in the tone of both approaches.

      You’re right in saying that you don’t always feel love throughout your whole marriage for it still to grow to be great. Honesty is important in talking through the tough stuff. But you don’t crush the other spouse while you’re talking and stab them with hopeless words and actions. That isn’t “love” –that’s selfism. And there’s no room in marriage, nor in “love” for selfism. Read 1 Corinthians 13 to see “love” as God says we’re to have for one another. There are a lot of verbs contained in those scriptures, rather than nouns, which selfism involves.

      Does this clear up what we’re trying to say here in any way?

  2. “I NEVER loved you and I NEVER should have married you!” These words from my husband, after 15 years of being together, will haunt me forever… They follow me everywhere and replay in my mind everyday… I’m not loveable – never has been and never will be…

    1. I’m so sorry Julandi, how horrible that anyone would say this to their spouse –the person they vowed to “love” for the rest of their lives. What does that say about his word and what he once said he felt? And then to have them said to you after 15 years… how very heartbreaking! Please know that God loves you and will never leave you, nor forsake you. I pray you can somehow realize that you are not damaged goods. You just married someone who does damaging things –that’s not a reflection on you, but on him. Shame on him for being this heartless!

  3. Yes, I am living this nightmare out right now. My wife said these words to me following disclosure of an emotional affair that was exposed last summer with the youth pastor in our church. We have been working on reconciling our marriage ever since with her going to individual counseling and both of us going to marriage counseling, but even to this day she said this is where her heart is. She said she is showing me agape love by staying with me, but there is no erotica love –the “In Love” fluttering of the heart type of love — with me anymore that she is hoping to one day get back. She says she is giving it over to God every day and that she is staying in the marriage only out of obedience to God.

    This is the woman I have loved and cherished for 20-plus years and it breaks my heart daily to know she has made the choice to no longer be “in love” with me and that she no longer cherishes or respects me and has made the choice to disconnect from our marriage emotionally over the past 5 to 6 years.

    All I can do is pray daily to God that He is big enough and powerful enough to destroy what the enemy wants to do –which is demolish and shatter our marriage covenant. I pray for a new foundation in Christ, reconciliation and true redemption in our new marriage. I pray my heart can remain strong in Christ as He transforms what our past marriage looked like into the new marriage He wants and that my wife can someday soften her heart enough to be “in love” with me again!

    1. CJ, So sorry you are living a “nightmare” in your marriage. Cindy and I applaud you for being committed to working through the issues. Even with the loss of Erotica love there is HOPE because of her commitment to Agape love. This is an open door that most men in your situation don’t get. Let me urge you to do a few things (slowly) in order to nurture the relationship.

      You’ve already have the firm foundation of prayer going for you; and you have the faith that God can soften her heart (we see it happen every day in this ministry). So, add to that the things that will start to show your wife how much you cherish her. Do things she would never expect from you. Court/Date her like you did when you first met. We guys have a tendency to get lazy in our relationships with our wives once we’ve “roped her and branded her” as OURS. Go to our link (https://marriagemissions.com/category/romantic-ideas/) to get some romantic ideas as to how to light the fire again.

      I wish I could tell you it will get easier and the change will happen quickly, but the reality is that what happened (the trigger event) in her life that has caused the disconnect didn’t happen overnight, so the healing/revelation/restoration most likely will be slow, too. But remember, CJ, the payoff will be worth every second you invest into her now…and for the rest of your lives.

      One book you MUST read (both of you) is Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and then as things start to soften in her heart begin reading together Devotions for a Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas as well. This book has transformed SO many marriages. I pray God’s blessings and leading for you in this mission you have as you are now a Marriage Missionary. ~Steve Wright, Marriage Missions International