© 2017 by IFP

“I don’t love you any more”. Treat Love As a Decision and You Will Never Have to Hear These Words

February 27, 2019

 

 

“I don’t love you any more” is a cop out.   

 

If you treat love as a decision, instead of an emotion, you can avoid ever having to hear these words in your marriage.

 

 

Did you know there is a way to keep your love for your spouse from dying?  Did you know that even if your love does die there is a way to rekindle it?!

 

 

STOP Viewing Love As a Feeling!

 

Somewhere, everyday, a spouse utters the words, “I don’t love you anymore. I want a divorce.” The belief that love can vanish into thin air is a lie.  What this statement really says is, "I don't FEEL feelings of love for you at this time".  

 

Feelings are unpredictable.  Feelings (emotions) rise and fall.  Your loving feelings towards your mate are influenced by everything from how well you have been sleeping lately to how much quality time the two of you have recently spent together. 

 

To base your love for another person on your emotional state is like basing your love for your spouse on the weather!

 

If love was determined by feelings all of us would constantly be falling IN love and and OUT of love with our spouses.

 

In a marriage both partners experience negative moods and feelings.  These negative moods(i.e., feelings) cause us to not always treat our partner in a loving way. 

 

The problem is we try and use these instances of not being treated lovingly by our partner as PROOF that our spouse does not love us.  We then use this excuse - that our partner does not love us - as justification for ending the marriage.

 

All this really proves is that we are defining love as an emotion. 

 

I love my wife.  But there are times when I don't ACT like I love my wife.  Sometimes I feel physically or emotionally down.  I can be withdrawn.  There are times I speak to my wife in an unloving tone of voice.  These actions are not good - but they are NOT proof that I don't love my wife.  They are proof I am human and far from perfect.   

 

 

START Viewing Love As a Decision!


To make a decision is to make a choice.  Making the decision to love someone means we make the choice to love that person regardless of our current feelings towards them.  It also means we make the choice to express our love through actions on our part.

 

Grant Cardone states,

 

"Love is not a feeling, love is a decision you make and continue to make in order to create an experience that is described as love. Love is an action that if you don't use you will lose. Love is like any communication, if you never send it out, you won't get a return. Love is something you do, not something you feel because something happens to you.

 

Most of my life I was under the delusion that love was a feeling, something that was going to happen to me. Love is not something that happens to you but something that you make happen to you and happen to others.  Love is something that grows from your actions and decisions."  [1]

 

 

 

What Does Loving By Decision Look Like?

 

When love is a decision you make the decision and the choice to love your spouse REGARDLESS of your current feelings towards them.  You separate your emotions towards your spouse from your predetermined decision to love your spouse.

 

Your marriage vows are the best example of how love is a decision.

When you married you VOWED – made a solemn promise – to love your husband/wife.  You promised to love your spouse “for better, for worse, for richer or for poorer, and in sickness and in health”.  Your marriage vows were/are a decision and choice you made – independent of your fluctuating feelings.

 

This is why I don’t love you anymore” is a cop out.  What this statement really means is, “I don’t want to honor my promise to love you anymore.  I don’t want to put in the effort to be faithful to you in good times and bad.”

 

These words can also mean, “I am feeling strong emotions (attraction/desire,lust) for some one ELSE.  I want to go be with them because I have stronger emotions towards them than I do towards you”. 

 

This is emotional immaturity at the level of a two year old.  Just as a toddler's favorite toy can change from moment to moment, immature adults fall in and out of love about as easily.   

 

 

A Sad Truth

 

Uncountable numbers of people leave their marriage citing lack of love.  They find a replacement spouse and say, “I left my first marriage because I did not love my spouse anymore.  The love we had just disappeared.  I now feel love for my new partner

 

The reality is these individuals have made the decision that they do not WANT to express love to their spouse anymore.  They have convinced themselves, “It’s o.k. to end the relationship because I don’t FEEL love for my partner anymore”. 

 

Do you know that the research shows that the divorce rate is actually higher for second marriages than first marriages?!  And the divorce rate for third marriages is higher than second marriages?! [2]

 

People who make love a feeling treat marriage like cars with full gas tanks.  When the gas runs out of the first car they simply find a different car with a full gas tank, rather than making the decision to keep the first car's gas tank filled up.

 

 

Don’t Take the Easy Way Out!

 

Most marriages go through times when either one, or both, partners don’t feel much love for their spouse.  Always remember:  This is a FEELING, and feelings rise and fall.

 

Just because you do not FEEL loving towards your spouse does not mean you cannot ACT loving towards them.  Acting loving means watching the tone of your voice, doing small acts of kindness for them and finding opportunities for physical contact, like sitting up next to one another on the couch, taking walks while holding hands, and hugging. Do things together and don't become offended if your spouse fails to act romantic and lovingly towards you during these activities.  It is the physical contact that counts because it keeps you connected.

 

 

Christianly Speaking

 

Nowhere are we taught more plainly that love is a decision than in God's word.  

 

When God sent Jesus to earth as our Savior the world had done NOTHING to warrant God's love.  The world ignores God, disobeys God, and rejects God.  The Bible says,

 

"All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory."  (Romans 3:23, CEV)

 

Yet we also read in the Bible that,

 

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."  (John 3:16, NLT)

 

God's love for the world was (and is) an intentional DECISION on His part.  He made the decision to send His Son to die for us, regardless of His feelings.  Because of our continued disobedience towards Him, if God had based His love on His feelings He would have every reason to destroy the world rather than offer to save it.

 

 

The Bottom Line

 

I like the way marriage therapist John Kim sums up this matter: [3]

 

"Love is making a choice every day, either to love or not to love. That’s it. You either continue the process or you don't. We fall in and out of love. Even in relationships—especially in relationships. This doesn’t mean we don’t love the person; it means we are left with a choice."

 

 

Keep making the decision everyday to love your spouse, irregardless of your feelings at the moment.

 

 

for the family,

dr. bill walker

 

 

 

References:

 

[1]  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/love-is-a-decision_n_166177

 

[2]  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201202/the-high-failure-rate-second-and-third-marriages

 

[3]  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-angry-therapist/201611/is-how-you-know-youre-in-love

 

 

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