love lost...


#1

A question concerning the love one should feel for your spouse…

If a woman no longer loves her spouse, is she living in sin? She knows that being married to this man is what God wanted for her, or the marraige would not have taken place, but how sinful is it to not be able to find the love (and other respected feelings) in your heart that you should feel towards your spouse?

On one hand it would seem sinful to not fufill your duties as a wife, but on the other hand it would seem sinful to pretend you have feelings for a man that you do not.

One answer is prayer… I know that, I have been doing that and will continue. It’s been over a year now. I can live with not loving him, if it’s just not possible for the two of us to see eye to eye. I can see this as a learning process, and a strengthening of my faith by relying more on God. But I can’t live with myself if I’m sinning in some way.

Any help would be much appreciated…


#2

[quote=tossolul]A question concerning the love one should feel for your spouse…

If a woman no longer loves her spouse, is she living in sin? She knows that being married to this man is what God wanted for her, or the marraige would not have taken place, but how sinful is it to not be able to find the love (and other respected feelings) in your heart that you should feel towards your spouse?

On one hand it would seem sinful to not fufill your duties as a wife, but on the other hand it would seem sinful to pretend you have feelings for a man that you do not.

One answer is prayer… I know that, I have been doing that and will continue. It’s been over a year now. I can live with not loving him, if it’s just not possible for the two of us to see eye to eye. I can see this as a learning process, and a strengthening of my faith by relying more on God. But I can’t live with myself if I’m sinning in some way.

Any help would be much appreciated…
[/quote]

Personally I feel you are doing all the right things. Have you spoken to your priest or perhaps a counselor? I will pray for you as I firmly believe you can’t have too many said for you!
~ Kathy ~


#3

[quote=tossolul]A question concerning the love one should feel for your spouse…

If a woman no longer loves her spouse, is she living in sin? She knows that being married to this man is what God wanted for her, or the marraige would not have taken place, but how sinful is it to not be able to find the love (and other respected feelings) in your heart that you should feel towards your spouse?

On one hand it would seem sinful to not fufill your duties as a wife, but on the other hand it would seem sinful to pretend you have feelings for a man that you do not.

One answer is prayer… I know that, I have been doing that and will continue. It’s been over a year now. I can live with not loving him, if it’s just not possible for the two of us to see eye to eye. I can see this as a learning process, and a strengthening of my faith by relying more on God. But I can’t live with myself if I’m sinning in some way.

Any help would be much appreciated…
[/quote]

tossolul,

May I submit to you that love is not just, and not even primarily a feeling? It is an act of will, a decision to desire what is good for the other person. The feelings should then follow. I say “should,” because is know basically nothing about the actual situation.

To answer your question, you do not control your feelings, and feeling a particular way is absolutely not a sin. What you control is your reaction to your feelings, and what you do with them. If a woman no longer has feelings of love towards her spouse, but continues to be married to him (whatever the nuanced meanings of that are), she is definitely not living in sin.

I might also suggest that if you feel like you must pretend you have feelings that you do not actually have, some counseling (either from a professional counselor, from a priest or deacon, or from an older and wiser friend whom you both trust) may be in order. Sooner or later the pretense is going to come to light, and the damage at that point will probably be worse than it would be if the matter were brought out now.

On the other hand, and I realize that I am speaking out of both sides of my mouth here, if there is a lot of other stuff going on at the moment (for example, dealing with a job loss or an older teenager leaving the home) it would probably be better to wait a bit before putting one more issue out on the table.

  • Liberian

who is in something like this but should probably not go into details on a public forum

and who will pray a Rosary for you tonight


#4

Kathy and Liberian- Thank you for your prayers and kind helpful words.

Liberian- the part that you wrote about love not being a feeling, but an act of will to desire what is good for the other person is so accurate. I wish that could be written across the sky for every young and old person to see. It seems to be a misconception these days that your supposed to feel in love to stay married. It’s something that until a year or so ago, I also believed, and almost ended my marraige because I was misguided in that belief. Luckily, through the Grace of God, I was allowed some much needed help in that line of thinking. I will also pray for your marraige situation Liberian, as Kathy said there can never be too many prayers said for a person.

I appreciate your wise advice. It is still difficult for me to control my actions/reactions. That is probably my biggest concern as far as doing wrong right now. It’s difficult to be charitable, but that is what we are called to be- so I need to remember that.

Thanks again,
God bless you


#5

I second what Liberian said!

Keep following the Lord. He will sustain you!


#6

I know a woman who said that she “didn’t have the feelings for her husband that woman should have” and got a divorce. She “knew that the children would feel much better” after the divorce, as they were “under a lot of stress”.

What she failed to mention was that she was having an affair with another man. She didn’t seem to see that there was any connection between what she was doing, and how her feelings ran.

I mean, wonder of wonders, she is cheating on her husband, allowing her feelings to develope for another man, and then doesn’t have any feelings for her husband. Isn’t that strange? Wouldn’t you think that she could have this affair and still be in love with her husband?

Feelings. I think there was some lounge-lizard song back when - the early 80’s? The 70’s?

Feelings will generally follow choice; I say generally, because many things not under your control can affect them. But you can make a choice.

Go read St Paul, when he describes what love is. It wouldn’t make too many sappy, mushy cards; it wouldn’t play very well in Hollywood, or your local TV sitcom. Why? Because the love he describes is work; it is not soft violins, chocolate and champagne, romance novellettes in your women’s magazine, low lights and fluttering eyes. It is work. It is putting “you” over “I”. And that is the hardest part of love; making someone else more important than yourself.

Sin? Sin may be in the self-indulgence of basking, or groveling, or pursuing feelings, while making self-centered choices.

I don’t know your situation, and there could be much that could cause you to be repulsed from your husband; he could be stomping every effort you make to love him (as opposed to being in love with him) into the ground. I do not wish to be unfair, but someone has to lead. Most marriages that spiral downward quickly into a form of civil disdain and contempt for the other spouse have two people who are acting in unloving, spiteful, hateful, caustic, sarcastic and/or cold shoulder fashion. There ususally isn’t one who is loving and one who is self-centered. They both blame the other for their feelings (guys have them too; they just don’t articulate them or do very well at all identifying them); they both live in a world of “if (he) (she) would just…(fill in the blank)”, never realizing they have the power to turn that situation completely around.

“Love is kind, love is patient…”


#7

Just to clarify… I’m not considering having any sort of affair. I’m not considering divorce either. I know that being married to this man is what God wants for me. My problem is that I feel as though any love I had for this man has been emptied out of me. I’ve been trying to my best ability to get it back for quite some time now, but am not doing so well. :o

Thanks for your quote, love is patient and kind. It’s good to be reminded of that.


#8

It is natural not to always be in love with your hubby but you can revive the old feelings. Try to keep in mind his good qualities and remind yourself of them when he frustrates you. I have had dry spells in my marriage too, its how you respond to them that determines if these phases last or not. I am taking for granted that your hubby is not abusive or a control freak, just someone who you no longer have feelings for.

I think that love is an act. If you want to revive loving feelings then you have to act as though you are still madly in love with hubby. This might seem like strange advice and at first you will feel hyprocritical but it works. Remember all those silly things that you did when you were first married, like leaving love notes in his lunch or writing I love you on the bathroom mirror. Well, do so now. Laugh at his jokes and compliment his good behavior.(Never give false compliments) Meet him at the door and kiss him. Tell the kids in front of him, that you are all lucky to have such a wonderful dad and father. Do not ask me how this approach works, I just know that it does and that the feelings will return.

Whenever women express amazement that my hubby still brings me flowers for no reasons, or because they hear my hubby brag about our relationship at work, I try to give them the above advice. I have found that most women express anger at the thought of the female temporarily being the one to take charge of the romance. I don’t know why. Its actually fun and enpowering. And after 16 and a half years of marriage, I can vouch that it works. Your hubby will start doing sweet things back for you and your feelings and love will revive.


#9

[quote=tossolul]Just to clarify… I’m not considering having any sort of affair. I’m not considering divorce either. I know that being married to this man is what God wants for me. My problem is that I feel as though any love I had for this man has been emptied out of me. I’ve been trying to my best ability to get it back for quite some time now, but am not doing so well. :o

Thanks for your quote, love is patient and kind. It’s good to be reminded of that.
[/quote]

LOve is something that you have to work on. Marriage can be very hard. Admitting that you need to work on your feelings toward hubby does not mean that you are considering an affair. It only means that you are honest. All marriages can and do have lulls in the emotional high that you first experience when you wed. This is normal. Don’t feel guilty. You aren’t doing anything wrong.


#10

Feelings will generally follow choice; OTM

I think that love is an act. If you want to revive loving feelings then you have to act as though you are still madly in love with hubby. This might seem like strange advice and at first you will feel hyprocritical but it works. Remember all those silly things that you did when you were first married, like leaving love notes in his lunch or writing I love you on the bathroom mirror. Well, do so now. Laugh at his jokes and compliment his good behavior.(Never give false compliments) Meet him at the door and kiss him. Tell the kids in front of him, that you are all lucky to have such a wonderful dad and father. Do not ask me how this approach works, I just know that it does and that the feelings will return. Deb1

This advice is so true. Feelings are followed by actions. Try it, it will work.:slight_smile:

Good Luck.

Jennie


#11

[quote=tossolul]Just to clarify… I’m not considering having any sort of affair. I’m not considering divorce either. I know that being married to this man is what God wants for me. My problem is that I feel as though any love I had for this man has been emptied out of me. I’ve been trying to my best ability to get it back for quite some time now, but am not doing so well. :o

Thanks for your quote, love is patient and kind. It’s good to be reminded of that.
[/quote]

I almost erased my post, as when I read it I thought you might take it that I was suggesting that you might be considering one or the other. I did not intend that. I was trying to use an example that often what we do has an effect on how we feel, and we don’t draw the connection - either through ignorance, failure to reflect, or avoidance.

I would ask yo to read it again, though; the way you feel is affected by what you do, how you choose to act. If you are determined to stick it out, then for your own sanity, for your salvation, and for his, you need to change the way you act, at least in order to make every possible attempt to achieve a solid marriage. Unless you can act in a loving way (not in terms of feelings, but of choices), your marriage will be not much more than a legal contract. And a legal contract is not how the Church defines marriage; the term the Church uses is covenant, a very different concept. A legal contract is nothing but a shell of a marriage.

However, if your choices are being shaped by your feelings; if how you act toward him is feeling driven ranter than choice driven, the situation will not remain the same. It will get worse. And you need to remember that the choice about divorce is not necessarily yours to make; he too can hire an attorney. It has happened to more than one surprised spouse who had no intention of doing anything except “sticking it out”.

And if any of what I say makes any sense, get to a counselor. It doesn’t matter if he goes or not; you need to take the initiative to change things. They can help you to get to the why of the situation; and with the why, you can start to shape your choices differently.


#12

[quote=deb1]It is natural not to always be in love with your hubby but you can revive the old feelings. Try to keep in mind his good qualities and remind yourself of them when he frustrates you. I have had dry spells in my marriage too, its how you respond to them that determines if these phases last or not. I am taking for granted that your hubby is not abusive or a control freak, just someone who you no longer have feelings for.

I think that love is an act. If you want to revive loving feelings then you have to act as though you are still madly in love with hubby. This might seem like strange advice and at first you will feel hyprocritical but it works. Remember all those silly things that you did when you were first married, like leaving love notes in his lunch or writing I love you on the bathroom mirror. Well, do so now. Laugh at his jokes and compliment his good behavior.(Never give false compliments) Meet him at the door and kiss him. Tell the kids in front of him, that you are all lucky to have such a wonderful dad and father. Do not ask me how this approach works, I just know that it does and that the feelings will return.

Whenever women express amazement that my hubby still brings me flowers for no reasons, or because they hear my hubby brag about our relationship at work, I try to give them the above advice. I have found that most women express anger at the thought of the female temporarily being the one to take charge of the romance. I don’t know why. Its actually fun and enpowering. And after 16 and a half years of marriage, I can vouch that it works. Your hubby will start doing sweet things back for you and your feelings and love will revive.
[/quote]

You are so right!

Love begets love.

Cold shoulders beget ice cubes.


#13

I find that when I don’t get enough sleep, I don’t love much of anybody. Recent studies show that most of us are running way short on sleep. . .this may not be your problem, but for many women who have to keep running just to stay in place, it is a major factor.
My prayers are with you.


#14

[quote=tossolul]Just to clarify… I’m not considering having any sort of affair. I’m not considering divorce either. I know that being married to this man is what God wants for me. My problem is that I feel as though any love I had for this man has been emptied out of me. I’ve been trying to my best ability to get it back for quite some time now, but am not doing so well. :o

Thanks for your quote, love is patient and kind. It’s good to be reminded of that.
[/quote]

tossolul,

If I may step in again with one more thing, your last post reminded me of a line from C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, which purports to be a series of letters from a senior demon to his junior nephew on how best to tempt people. The quote is, “Our (i.e., the devil’s) cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s (meaning God’s) will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

  • Liberian

#15

[quote=tossolul]A question concerning the love one should feel for your spouse…

If a woman no longer loves her spouse, is she living in sin? She knows that being married to this man is what God wanted for her, or the marraige would not have taken place, but how sinful is it to not be able to find the love (and other respected feelings) in your heart that you should feel towards your spouse?

On one hand it would seem sinful to not fufill your duties as a wife, but on the other hand it would seem sinful to pretend you have feelings for a man that you do not.

One answer is prayer… I know that, I have been doing that and will continue. It’s been over a year now. I can live with not loving him, if it’s just not possible for the two of us to see eye to eye. I can see this as a learning process, and a strengthening of my faith by relying more on God. But I can’t live with myself if I’m sinning in some way.

Any help would be much appreciated…
[/quote]

Ask yourself what it is you are attracted to? Be sure to be very critical of yourself. Are the things you are attracted to superficial? Why do you not feel love?

Is is because he doesn’t dress nice or take you out anymore? Have you been influenced in anyway by TV (opra, phil) etc?

For me when I’m in a relationship the most powerfull attraction I have is based on that persons heart. If she is pure of heart and she shows a high degree of faith in God I find it very attractive.

Love for is not based on romance. Romance is a product of love.

The best advice I can give you is that people change every 7 years. You have almost rediscover the other person.
Ask yourself how you can discover his heart. I’m sure you wouldn’t of married him if he wasn’t a good man. Don’t blind yourself to someones love just because they don’t bring you flowers.

Make your man feel good about himself. Perhaps his ego is damaged in someway. The best thing a wife can do is be a nurturer. Men react very well to this in fact we need it. :slight_smile:

Anyway, don’t give up.


#16

[quote=tossolul]A question concerning the love one should feel for your spouse…

If a woman no longer loves her spouse, is she living in sin? She knows that being married to this man is what God wanted for her, or the marraige would not have taken place, but how sinful is it to not be able to find the love (and other respected feelings) in your heart that you should feel towards your spouse?..
[/quote]

love is not a feeling or emotion, beyond its first romantic stages. the feeling comes and goes throughout a long marriage. Real love is light years beyond those romantic tinglings. Read 1 Corinthians 13 for the best description. The answer for any relationship that has moved beyond emotional sustenance is to DO love, that is, to act and speak always in respectful loving ways.

This also applies in our relationship with God, which must move beyond affection and emotion.

The sin arises not when the emotional component fades but when we use it as an excuse to ignore, disrespect or belittle the other, when we fail communicate with the other, when we entertain bitterness, jealously, fantasies about someone else or some other situation as the solution to our lack of feeling.

simply DO love, and I don’t mean just the marriage duty as priests used to call it when I was younger. Do with love, not annoyance, bitterness and frustration, your duties in the household, job etc. whatever your station, even and most especially when they are unseen and unappreciated and unthanked.

I speak from personal knowledge and experience, but bolstered by spiritual direction and spiritual reading. I recommend the rule of St Benedict and any book like the Lifegiving Way by Esther DeWaal for how to apply it to any layperson’s life.


#17

Thanks for all the great advice guys. This forum is so wonderful!

Otm, thanks for clarifying what you were trying to say, after rereading it, I do see it differently now. Your advice was wonderful, and very true.

Kev7, the bit about people changing every seven years really hit home for me for a few personal reasons. Where did you get that from- the bible’s reference to 7 or is there some other place?


#18

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