When Your Love for Your Spouse Just Isn’t There
Don’t panic. It’s normal and there is a lot you can do to fix it.
What do you do if you realize that the love you once had for your spouse just isn’t there? You might get along, even work well together, but you don't have the strong emotions you once had.
First of all, don’t panic. This can happen to the best of us and it's not a reason to throw in the towel. By understanding how relationships really work, you'll see that it's more common than you think.
1. Normal ups and downs: Everything in this world is in constant motion. There is no such thing as stagnation. Relationships are no different. There are always ups and downs. While it's less pleasurable during the down times, use it as an opportunity to take your relationship to the next level. That romance you experienced when you first fell in love brought you together, blinded you from the potential challenges ahead, and allowed you to be crazy enough to commit in the first place. But once the phenylethylamine, and other “love chemicals” that flood your brain wear off, you lose the high. Don't make the mistake that your relationship is done. This is the time to begin the work to create the relationship you want based on your own efforts. This is the true way to create real, mature love.
2. Love is a verb: Feelings are transient. Sometimes you feel them, sometimes you don't. True love is about taking action, even when you don't feel like it. The commitment to spending your life with your spouse means staying committed even when you don't necessarily feel connected. If you're a parent, would you give up your responsibility to your children because you weren't really feeling it lately? Of course not. You brought these children into the world and you are responsible for them whether you like it or not.
Change your mindset and choose to commit to your marriage. Part of this commitment is giving to your spouse. As you love your spouse through your behaviors, you'll also notice that these actions will stimulate your emotions.
3. Fall back in love: Part of what makes a relationship stale is that couples spend more time as co-parents and home managers than partners. Little time is spent together enjoying each other's company and having fun. Remember when it was just the two of you? What did you used to do to have fun? Go out on a weekly date. Plan a getaway. Laugh together. Take a class where you can have a new experience. Liven it up and give yourself the reason to fall back in love.
4. Stop comparing your marriage to others: It's easy to feel despondent about your relationship when you see pictures of other “happy couples” on social media. If you’re feeling insecure about your connection, it's natural to compare to others and to think there is something seriously wrong with your marriage. Just because someone else looks happy or they are going on vacation together, doesn't necessarily mean they have a good relationship. You'd be surprised that many people are experiencing the same feelings that you are, even if things look all perfect on the outside. More importantly, what other couples are experiencing is irrelevant to your marriage. God gives everyone their own lot in life. Even if another couple has a good marriage, they may have other challenges you don't know about in their life, that you surely wouldn't want. So, stay laser focused on your relationship and don't worry about what others are doing.
If you feel your love is on the wane, you can do something about it! Stop worrying and take action; actively love your spouse, even when you're not quite feeling it. In the merit of your perseverance and commitment, your love will grow.
To get a copy of Rabbi Slatkin's New 60 Second Plan to a Happy and Healthy Marriage, click here.