Much like the four seasons, love in a relationship grows and wanes.
One of the most common myths in respect to marriages is the belief that when the love wanes the relationship is over and done...time to move on.
If your spouse says 'I have fallen out of love with you,' don't have a panic attack. It doesn't mean your marriage is dead in the water, so please don't throw out the baby with the bathwater if this happens to you. It doesn't even mean they don't love you. What it does mean is that your spouse has lost their way, or doesn't understand the many stages(for better or worse)love and a relationship goes through.
You are being called to take charge of the situation, guide your spouse towards understanding this process, and even begin to rekindle your relationship.
The key to ultimate success is in understanding what is happening in your marriage and the role that love plays. It's very easy for us to connect losing the feelings of being in love with actual loving when it is not really the case... Not at all.
After the initial thrill of romance is gone, couples often find themselves lost and at sixes and sevens...that is to say, vexingly confused. What they don't realize is that love is not just this heady lustful feeling that carries us away. That feeling has a shelf life. When the prospect of spending years together sets in, the correct question to ask one's self would be 'How now do I love without the initial thrill?'
We have to discover that every relationship has stages:
- falling in love,
- the honeymoon stage
- chaos or disillusionment,
- then mature love or resolution.
We are very quick to judge (no one should be judge in his own cause) that we no longer love someone just because the feelings fade. With proper understanding, we can expect that even if the feeling may not be there, it doesn't mean we don't love.
In all truth, love is a commitment. It is not just a feeling, it is a doing thing. A mature person loves by choice and not simply by circumstance.
The next step would be to manage your partner's feelings or lack thereof by starting with dialogue. Talk about the feelings and find out what happened, where is it coming from? There are numerous tools and methods available for a couple together or with a counselor/mediator that would help them examine their present situation. Talk to your spouse and tell him or her that the relationship deserves at the very least,dialogue.
In dialogue, let your spouse talk and you listen (that's why God gave you two ears). There may be important things you need to learn about your spouse and your marriage. By the same token, you can also share your own feelings about what is happening. Try not to place blame on your spouse, however, but share your thoughts and feelings by using 'I feel' statements.
In between whiles, do some self-improvement. It is never too late to evolve into a happier, more mature and more lovable person - even if it's just something you do for yourself. For all you know, this new you will be more attractive to your spouse and come as a surprise to him or her.
Finally, don't stop reinforcing your presence in the marriage. Do some positive loving acts for your spouse without expecting anything in return. These mirror your mature, positive view of what love really is. Make these acts little things. They don't have to be grand gestures.
It's the everyday things that actually build trust, intimacy and love between couples.
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