The movie that made Marilyn Monroe famous was The Seven Year Itch. The idea was that about every seven years most married people begin to itch where they can’t scratch. They know something is wrong, but they don’t know what, let alone what to do about it. Often they have an affair around that time.
Of all marital problems, that we have confronted the most often in our experience is, “I just don’t love him anymore.” While there is a vast difference between being “in love” and loving someone, we still crave to be in love.
Couples have been coming to us with marital problems ever since we began our coaching practice. Ninety percent of them have been married from two to seven years, though some as long as 30. All had the same problem-lost feelings of love.
The Bible has a hint for us in Revelation 2:4-5:
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
In the fourth verse, the whole tenor of the conversation changed. “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” The love of the church at Ephesus for the groom, Jesus Christ, had cooled. It was no longer the vibrant thing it once was. She had fallen out of love.
The first overtones of the fourth verse give a surprising, subtle hint as to the approach. He is understanding and patient, yet He is upset as well. It is not a small thing! A grievous wrong has been done. “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken you first love.” I have something against you! It is a serious charge, but not one without remedy. In verse five, He gives His perfect prescription on how to fall in love again. “Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”
- Knowing what pleases my wife proves our close relationship.
- Choosing to do what pleases her demonstrates my love.
To “do the things you did at first” is the clear requirement of this part of the prescription. Some of you have asked us over the years,
“Do you mean that I am to play a game, to put on an act, to respond where I am unresponsive, to say what I do not mean and do what I do not really feel?”
Absolutely! You have to “make it up…fake it until you make it.“
Don’t focus on feeling something about your spouse–do something for your spouse. Love is something you do, not something you feel! If you DO what Love DOES, you will come to FEEL what Love FEELS…not the other way around.
You can fall in love again. Generally it takes some coaching and accountability, but you CAN. Only your unwillingness to do the work causes failure…nothing more.
As your whole being is thrust into the role of rebuilding the broken relationship, you will notice two responses in you spouse. The first may well be suspicion. The second response will be your spouse’s attitude toward the new you. Your spouse will become a new person that you can more easily love.
If your relationship has grown sour, then neither one of you is acting as you once did. You are both only reacting. A chicken-egg cycle occurs, and there is no easy solution. Someone must, as Emerson Eggrichs says in Love and Respect,
Break the Crazy Cycle.
Is it worth it to you? Is the salvation of your home, the stability of your children, the sacredness of your commitment, and the sanctity of your own well-being and relationship with God worth the effort?
One Final Note
No one can answer that question but you.
- You can fall in love again, but the medicine sometimes is hard to take.
- Not taking it is full of unintended consequences that will keep on showing up for generations to come.
- The prescription is strong, but it works. We can help.
Borrowed in part from John Bisagno’s Love is Something you DO, 2010, Lucid Books.