"I love my spouse but I’m not 'in love' with them anymore."
I hear people say it all the time:
"I’m just not sure if I love them anymore."
"I love them but they said they didn't love me anymore. Is my love enough?"
These kinds of statements can be extremely confusing, not to mention painful and disheartening.
So I wanted to share a few truths I've come to know about unconditional love after helping hundreds of individuals and couples get through various crises points and difficult times to have a more loving, happy and rewarding marriage.
1. Love is an action, not a feeling you get from another person.
Love is an experience you receive as a result of doing loving acts for someone you care about — not a feeling you get.
The trick is to give the love and take the action your spouse needs and wants. The problem is that we often go about satisfying our partner’s needs with what matters to us.
When we do that, we neglect the opportunity to create deeper connection and more happiness with our spouse. Therefore, it’s not rocket science nor tricky to fall back "in love". It’s about looking after your partner's deepest needs and in doing so, showing them how much you care.
2. Love is not something you find; it's something you create.
The majority of us falsely assume from love stories in tabloids and movies that all you need to do is find that "special someone" and that’s it, you'll live happy ever after. We all know that’s not true, yet on some level we still expect it.
When people say to me during couples therapy that they don’t feel love or they're not "in love" anymore, I ask them what actions they have taken to demonstrate their love for their spouse. Often, they can’t answer. The reason people often don’t feel "in love" is because they’re not doing anything — they are waiting for love to come and motivate them first.
So, they hit a stalemate and get caught in a trap where they stay stuck in a love-deprived relationship for days, months, or years. They wait for something to change, yet no one is willing to give.
In the end, they blame the breakdown of the marriage on communication, lack of sex, family, or financial differences. Yet in reality, they just didn't show any loving acts. How can a couple stay connected? The real problem is that the marriage is starved of loving, selfless gestures.
If you think about it, there's absolutely nothing in life that's worth having that does not require an effort to achieve and then maintain. Things in life either grow or they die — it’s the law of nature. Relationships are no different. They need to be nurtured, paid attention to, cared for, and tended to.
If you want to feel more love or fall back "in love", you need to make acts of love part of your daily routine. The more you do, the better, and the more your lover is likely to reciprocate.
What do you want to experience more of right now in your relationship? Do you want more excitement, affection, attention, appreciation, fun, support, care, or security? It’s all possible to create.
3. Unconditional love is extremely rare, so don’t expect it.
If someone ignores, hurts, or annoys you, it’s unrealistic for them to expect you to always love them. Similarly, if you act out toward your spouse again and again, they are likely to change the way they think, act and feel towards you.
So don’t expect unconditional love to always be there.
Don’t take your spouse for granted.
Make an effort to make them smile.
Show them empathy and kindness.
Love is a deeply personal and individual thing. It can mean something entirely different to you than it does to me. Here is my perspective on Love.
Love, in a miserable relationship, does not help the situation. So if you only have love with turmoil and pain, maybe it's not enough.
On the other hand, in a great relationship where you're concerned that the love you have is not what it used to be, there's nothing to be concerned about. Love can be built.
Other emotions we experience throughout our week can cause us to lose sight of the love we have. If we feel angry, stressed, annoyed or upset about work, finances, family or our health, it’s going to affect the happiness and love we feel for someone. So you need to make sure that you don’t overanalyze in difficult times.
If you have fallen out of love, it’s easier than you think to fall back in love. Don’t get caught in the trap of waiting to feel love before you act. ACT now. Do something loving, speak to a marriage specialist for support, or get free literature for guidance. You can download my 7 Secrets to Saving Your Marriage here for free.
Nicola Beer is a Marriage Transformation Specialist & Founder of Save My Marriage Program, an alternative to marriage counselling in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and further afield online.
This article was originally published at Save My Marriage Program. Reprinted with permission from the author.