No matter what you felt back then, you do not say that you do NOT love your husband. Instead, you state that you “do not and have never loved like I feel I should.” That statement speaks more to a desire for the intensity of new romance than the deep love that develops over time. You wanted more emotionally, prayed for it, and now have it with another man. But what you are describing is the intensity of newness. Even if you married the new man, with time that intensity would diminish and you would have a love - if you still loved him at all - that is not always exciting and fulfilling on every given day. Intense romantic love feels great, but it was never intended to be the norm over a lifetime. Security, safety, understanding, acceptance, caring, and a host of other emotions better describe what makes a long-term relationship work. Those emotions are deeper but not ecstatic like new love is.
Unfortunately, we live in a society which touts romantic love as the “be all end all” on TV, in movies, in magazine articles, in novels, and so forth. Yet the people who produce those things will not have that level of intense romance for a lifetime, either. As the work of Helen Fisher, PhD, has proven, that kind of intensity is meant to bring us together, not keep us together. It has to fade with time so that our lives can be balanced and not obsessively focused on one person. That is why limerence rarely lasts as long as three years.
You feel heartbroken now because you long for the intensity you currently feel, but know that to pursue it is to sin. If you were to leave your husband for this man, you would violate your marriage covenant. Would the “feeling” be worth it? You might think it is in the short-term, but when the limerence began to fade – as it must – you would have to face the fact that you sought temporary ecstasy over long-term good. You would be looking to God to make things right knowing that He had always looked to you to do things right.
Do the following things so that you may stay faithful.
1. Do NOT think about a possible future with this man. You write, “This other person has asked me would I consider marrying him if the circumstances were different.” Not only must you NOT answer that question, do NOT allow yourself to think about that question. As Michael Johnson, PhD, has shown in his study about commitment, even thinking about an alternative to your spouse will weaken your commitment to him. Whenever you find yourself daydreaming about what life would be like with the new man, immediately ask God to take that thought away from you and to lead you into the thoughts and actions of a Godly woman.
2. End all contact with the new man. You said that your contact with him is through a work relationship. End that relationship now. As long as you are in contact with him either face-to-face, by writing, by phone, or in any other way, the intense emotions you feel may remain strong long enough for them to destroy your marriage. Even if it costs your losing a great income, great insurance, or a great workplace, do NOT allow yourself to stay in a situation of temptation. When Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead me not into temptation” He did not expect us to stay in the face of the temptation. As we ask God to do His part to deliver us, we, too, must do our part to avoid the temptation.
3. Listen to God. You wrote, “I felt like in my prayer time in May, God told me to hold on, be faithful, and trust him and my passion and desire would come.” I am happy for you that you feel He told you to be faithful. Read it in Hebrews 13:4, “Have respect for marriage. Always be faithful to your partner, because God will punish anyone who is immoral or unfaithful in marriage.” (Contemporary English Version) Be assured of this, God did NOT send you another man to fall in love with so that you would leave your husband. He does NOT violate His law. We should not either.
4. Seek help. The emotions you feel may grow stronger. As most of us have learned in life, when emotions and logic battle each other, emotion often wins. If you feel that you are strong enough to handle this by yourself, you are in danger. Find a Godly woman or a shepherd in the kingdom that you trust. Ask for their understanding, help, and accountability.
5. Work on your marriage. Come to a workshop such as ours or find you a great Christian marriage counselor. The love you wish to feel can occur with your husband, even if it is not there right now. It will not be the intensity of limerence, but it can be much deeper and much more fulfilling.
If we can help, please call us toll free at (866) 903-0990 or click here to request more information on my marriage seminar that saves marriages in trouble. If you prefer help from someone else, that is fine. BUT GET THE HELP you need before your emotions lead you astray.