“We love each other, but sometimes love isn’t enough.”
“I love him, but I’m not IN love with him.”
My own father used that first one on me, not referring to his relationship with my mother, I never remember him telling me he loved her, but of one of his subsequent marriages. The second quote is one I have heard often and that has ended up in the CN email inbox numerous times. What do those comments reveal about us? To me they show that as a society we have come to believe and accept that love should always make us feel good. That love is a temporary emotion which lacks any significant strength in our relationships. That love is determined not by an internal commitment, but by our external circumstances.
What do you think the difference is that people are trying to convey when they make statements about loving their spouse vs. being “in love” with their spouse. To me they are two sides of the same coin and it is important to be intentional about pursuing both in marriage. Even the Bible speaks of people being in love.
Jacob was in love with Rachel. (Gen 29:18)
Samson fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. (Jug 16:4)
Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David. (Sam 18:20)
In every case the use of the phrase “in love” is use when speaking of romantic love. So then, is being in love about emotions and passion? Perhaps so. That passion is important and if we get apathetic about romancing our spouse it is very easy for that passion to get extinguished. It’s at this point that people use the above phrase, “I love him, but I’m not IN love with him.” The passionate feelings are gone. The desire as been diminished. All because both the husband and the wife pulled back and became inattentive and indifferent, and it was probably not intentional.
So once people have fallen out of love, what is the solution. First of all, turn to the Author and Perfecter of Love, the Source of Love, the One who established marriage and wants the BEST for us in our covenant with our spouse. Prayerfully invite Him to teach the two of you how to romance each other again, to stir your hearts for one another again, to take the two of you into a depth of intimacy and passion that you can not get to on your own. Seek out his Word both in the Bible and that has repeatedly been spoken over you by the Body of Christ. My husband and I have had so many people speak the same blessing over us that we began to think that everyone heard that blessing, but that is not the case. That is a promise for us. And look at Scripture!
“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” (SOS 8:7 — this spoken after many years of marriage)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Cor 13:4-5)
“Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.” (Gal 5:13)
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3)
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Phi 2:1-3)
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col 3:13-15)
What amazing encouragement and what a practical guide for how to love well. I get excited reading all those promises and that is just the tip of the ice burg. Scripture is FILLED with promises like that. So if you have fallen out of love, start speaking those things over your marriage and start acting them out by the power of the Spirit of God within you. I mean, my goodness, let’s speak those fantastic things out even if we are enjoying great joy in our marriage relationship.
Once you have called out to God to restore your love, start seeking out godly mentors who can model and teach you authentic love in marriage. You’ll find a lot of women who read and comment here at Christian Nymphos to be a great resource and, of course, we who operate this site want to give you as many tools, ideas and support as we can in your journey with your husband. Be careful about disparaging remarks that your friends make about their husbands or men in general. This will not be helpful to you if you are already feeling a negativity about your marriage.
I’d really encourage a couple who has fallen out of love to begin studying their spouse. Go on dates. Think about The Five Love Languages. Spend a lot of time looking for the treasure in them. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Find out what their dreams are or, if their dreams have dimmed, stir up those things again in them. Make yourself the safest place for your spouse to rest, trusting fully in your faithfulness no matter what your circumstances are.
“We love each other, but sometimes love isn’t enough.”
Don’t settle for less than what God has said about love. Are we always going to live in the perfect love of God? One day, but as it stands now, sometimes we cease to live in the power of the Spirit that is in us. Sometimes we fail at living out perfect love. But I am not going to let that stop me from trying. I am going to go after perfect love if it kills me, and it probably will. I need my selfishness to die. The pride of needing to have my voice heard in situations where God has asked me to be silent. The unrighteous anger that sometimes rears it’s ugly head and demands my own way. When it dies, my Lord will rise higher and all that is mine in this mystery life in the Spirit (Romans 8) will be made complete. That is worth fighting for. Love is enough. True, godly love, is always enough. Sometimes it is all we have left, and it is enough.