I've Fallen Out of Love
How many times have you heard that? How many times have you thought that it pertained to your relationship? How many times have you believed that to be true? Is that phrase a reason to consider divorce? Is that phrase a reasonable justification to cheat?
I believed that I had fallen out of love with my wife. I argued with myself, and in fact convinced myself that I had never loved my wife.
I had never fallen out of love with my wife. Truthfully, I had lost the initial infatuation, the zing, the newness, and the butterflies that go along with almost every new relationship, along with the painful confusion from my past that I was trying to sort out in my mind. I previously touched on the details of my history here: "Shapes From the Past."
That premise - falling out of love - is the foundation and justification for most infidelity, divorce, and broken relationships.
How Long Can it Last?
The initial newness/infatuation of a relationship only lasts as long as superficial masks are in place. Once a couple encounters their first conflict (and they will encounter conflict), the mask and illusion of "happiness" begin to crumble.
The one thing I learned from marriage counseling was, "P + P = C." Meaning, Person plus Person equals Conflict. Two egos, two opinions, two flawed, and sinful people...one perfect recipe for conflict.
When is true and lasting love ever described as easy? I've personally never heard it described that way. I have heard that true love takes hard work. Ruth Bell Graham, the late wife of Billy Graham said it so well, "A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers." That's basic Christianity 101, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).
You've heard the phrase, "It's so easy to fall in love." Let's rephrase it into the realm of reality: It's so easy to allow myself to fall into patterns of lust and infatuation. If we look at relationships through the lens of truth and reality, then we should expect those fleeting feelings to dissipate. Otherwise, we'll perpetually chase infatuation for the rest of our lives, never experiencing the act of cleaving/uniting/becoming one with our spouse the way God originally designed marriage (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:31, Matthew 19:5).
What Does True Love Look Like?
The Bible describes how a wife is to "submit to your own husband as you do to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22). It also describes how a husband is to love his wife, "just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). Where in that description does it command a husband and wife to remain infatuated with each other? How does the Bible instruct us to submit to the Lord? How did Christ specifically give Himself up for the church? (A little Bible study/research is required on your part if you don't know the answers to those rhetorical questions.)
What about the most famous description of love in the Bible? You know, the one that has been quoted so often at marriage ceremonies as the bride and groom gaze lovingly into each other's eyes, imagining flawless, painless, and easy days ahead? "Love is PATIENT...KIND...DOES NOT ENVY...BOAST, IT IS NOT PROUD...DOES NOT DISHONOR...IS NOT SELF-SEEKING...ALWAYS PROTECTS...ALWAYS PERSEVERES" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
If you're ready to throw in the towel simply because temporal feelings have vanished, are you truly honoring, protecting, and persevering? Are you self-seeking because your lustful teenage feelings are gone? Are you possibly envious of the feelings you see falsely portrayed as lasting and genuine on TV, in the movies, or in some kind of book you're reading?
A Message to Myself (Pre-Affair)
Don't do it!!!! Are you serious?? You've "fallen out of love???" Or better yet - you "never" loved her? First of all, you're an IDIOT! Take a moment and look back in time to the moment you first met. Just ignore whatever "issues" you're presently dealing with. Can you see her eyes? Do you remember that feeling in your gut? You know, the one that said, "I can't see any of my future days without her." That's right, there was something there! There were feelings!
So what happened????
Life. Deep scars and pain emerging into the light of day. P + P = C. Reality.
Get help. Get therapy. Get counseling. Get some accountability. Pray. Read the Bible with intentionality. Be a man - a REAL man. Put your selfish ego aside. Apologize. Cleave. Realize that you are ONE with your wife!!!
Most importantly, do NOT betray your wife, under ANY circumstances. Period. Ever. Do NOT violate the covenant of your marriage, regardless of all the lies, justifications, reasons, and excuses you could ever possibly come up with.
Oh yeah, lastly...those feelings are supposed to end! That's the threshold into the land of true love. Beyond those feelings, a vast galaxy of uncharted adventure awaits. Take your wife by the hand, and venture forth into the unknown - TOGETHER. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. This is love. This is beautiful. This is what few people grasp, understand, or dare to experience these days.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Although I am not able to go back in time and rethink my sinful choices, considering the experience and knowledge I have today, I pray that You can use me. Use the voice You've given me to reach others who haven't crossed the line yet. Speak to those who are considering unfaithfulness, separation, and divorce. Protect the marriages that haven't yet been broken. Restore those that have. Revive the value and sanctity of marriage in our country.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.