Drum Roll… The winner of Erica’s Wiggenhorne’s book The Unexplainable Life is…
Jeanne Doyon!!! Congratulations, Jeanne.
Now, I’d like to begin a new series on restoring love in a marriage when we’ve “fallen out of love.”
I remember those horrible years when I was convinced I had fallen out of love with my husband. Larry was working two jobs and flew airplanes as a hobby. He was rarely home. I felt overwhelmed mothering a two-year-old and an infant all by myself.
If Larry would just stay home more often and help me with these kids, then I’d know he loved me, I thought again and again. As my pleas for help turned into nagging, he stayed away more.
I hated him! I even prayed the plane he was flying would crash. (Check out that story.)
I thank God there are some prayers He doesn’t answer “yes.” Otherwise I wouldn’t have enjoyed the last forty years of joy after He healed our marriage.
He taught us some very important concepts. For the next several posts, I’m going to feature ideas that helped us. Now we’ve been married 46 years and we love each other to the moon. I’m amazed at God’s work. I hope these ideas inspire you.
Cycle of Love
When I believed I no longer loved Larry, I had succumbed to the world’s concept of love: if you don’t feel loving, you must have fallen out of love.
God’s kind of love is different; it isn’t based only upon feelings but upon “making a choice for the person’s highest good.” It can be the same with us when we realize that every marriage travels through three steps in a cycle of love: romance, disillusionment, and joy—repeatedly.
At times we feel very loving with all the wonderful, cotton ball emotions. But then something happens. He or she doesn’t keep a promise. He doesn’t love us according to our definition of love. Anger wells up inside us. Where did all those wonderful emotions go? But we can take the next step into joy by making a decision to love.
That’s what God challenged me to do many years ago, even though I didn’t understand what I was doing. Larry was off flying and I was furious. God whispered in my heart, “Tell Larry you love him.” I refused because it wasn’t true. Even when God told me again, I refused again. I feared Larry would think I was approving everything he did wrong if I expressed love. Then God said, “Then think it the next time you see him.” I could do that because Larry couldn’t use it against me.
When he returned, I stared him straight in the eye, gulped, and thought, I love you. Then seconds later …but I don’t really.
Continuing to love him with my will began to change my attitude. I saw good qualities in him I hadn’t focused on for a long time. Soon my feelings of love returned. Eventually, God changed Larry’s heart also, and we were united in love again.
Taking the step from disillusionment into joy requires we forgive our mates for disappointing us or not meeting our needs. Ultimately, only God fully meets our needs or never disappoints us.
In my next post, I’ll concentrate on something called “displacement.”