Are you still in love?
Often, I hear from my counseling clients that they love their spouse but are not “in love.” Such sad statements are becoming more prevalent. I then ask them to explain these words. This is what I have heard:
“I love him because he is such a good father and has good family values. He provides for us really well and spends quality time with our children.”
“I love her because she is such a good mother to our children, takes care of all the household chores, is a great cook, and helps to contribute to our financial future.”
These are admirable qualities. But these statements still have the taste of disappointment. So, I ask next: Were you in love once?
“Oh, of course, when we were dating and planning our wedding. It was great. We were inseparable and always had time for each other. We shared common interests, laughed a lot, and said I love you often.”
“We really enjoyed each other, and our disagreements seemed few and far between. Now it is different. We don’t make time for each other, we never complement each other, and we surely have ‘lost that loving feeling.’”
The obvious question becomes: Can they get it back?
In discussing the evolution of their relationship and pinpointing the life changes that have occurred, it appears easy to see why these marriages have become flat and boring. They have allowed other things to pull them apart and have forgotten what it was like to be deeply in love.
When we experience moments in which feelings of attraction, desire, or sexual excitement are not powerfully stimulating, we assume that the flame has gone out. Believing that it may be over, many couples’ face a downward trajectory that often ends in separation or worse.
Of course, love changes as people change and age. Events and life circumstances make it harder to keep the flame burning. While it’s often impossible to avoid these situations, it is possible to strengthen the substance of a relationship in a way that minimizes the impact and diminishes the frequency.
Here’s how in quick and simple terms: Try to remember what brought you together in the first place. Take time to reminisce about your beginnings. Reconnect by “dating” your spouse again. Spend time alone together, go on a second honeymoon, learn to speak each other’s love language. That feeling of renewed love can and will return. It may look a little and feel a little different, but it can grow even deeper. The key factors are action and consistency.
A one-time date or journey to the past will not create a happily-ever-after. You must keep your relationship, fresh, passionate and exciting. Take time to make sure that the intimate aspects of your relationship are working as well. Don’t let the responsibilities of everyday life keep you from feeling unique and special to one another. Learn how to fall “in love” again. The benefits of working on your marriage will surely pay off in a lasting relationship.