The other day I was standing on a corner of the street when I saw something that saddened me. There was a young couple nearby that were arguing. They appeared to be married and were probably once very much in love.
Then it happened, the woman, presumably the wife, turned to her husband and told him that she hated their marriage. Her voice rose high above all of the traffic noise and declared that their marriage was a sham and that it so happened that she never really did love him. And then she went on to tell him it was all over and that she never wanted to see or speak to him again.
By the way, if you are trying to save yourself from a horrible marriage, consider reading this post!
Now, let’s get back to our couple in the midst of a fight.
Should we fear that the end is near for this couple?
Should we fear that love has abandoned this young couple?
Love, Hate, and Other Passions of Marriage
So if there was ever a time for one to ask what happens when all the love goes out of the marriage, this was it. I was watching the beginning of a marriage meltdown.
Some people who watched such an event might fear for the couple’s future. Or perhaps, these two had been struggling before. Just maybe they had had been fussing and fighting for weeks or months, such that the love from the marriage had slowly ebbed away. At least so it seemed.
Then again, I had another thought about this obvious marital strife that the couple was experiencing. This thought emerged from a lot of my experience with couples who have been in similar situations
I thought, just perhaps what I was witnessing was not a marriage being split in two. I reasoned that it was probably not likely, particularly given the age of this young couple….they looked to be in their mid 20s….that not all was lost in their relationship. Rather, it seemed to me that something else was happening. And it was not that the love between this couple had suddenly just upped and disappeared from their lives.
No, on the contrary, what I was witnessing was a passionate, emotional temper fest. Yep, that is what I call these things when they unfold either in private or public.
One or both of the marriage partners can get pushed so far to their emotional edge that they can literally become unglued and in the process tear down each other and the marriage with it while they are at it.
What might be of use to such a couple is a road map on how to turn things around. That is why I wrote the post below. Wouldn’t you like to know what makes for a happy and joyful relationship. Feel free to dive into this article to get a head start!
But obviously, relationships are not easy if the couple is often butting heads.
The slippery slope of anger and conflict that takes a hold of a couple can create many bad experiences, memories and routines.
Once you become accustomed to simply giving in to the urges to fight with your husband or wife, think of these emotional urges as withdrawals from the trust bank of love. You only have so much love that is built up and like a beautiful and magnificent structure, a loving marriage is built over time, brick by brick….one loving gesture and the next.
But when a couple starts hacking away at this beautiful structure they worked so hard to build through their labors of love and trust and forgiveness, the foundation of this relationship can begin to shake. And while it may not necessarily topple over all at once, the strain on the structure of the marriage will cause harm. If repairs are not made, quickly, then more damage can be occur.
This is the way in which a marriage becomes painful for both partners. A relationship devoid of kindness, consideration, and respect is facing some pretty strong headwinds. These kind of relationships usually don’t just happen overnight, but rather it is a process that happens over time.
I have talked to a lot of couples and is both ironic and sad that many of them actually understand what is happening to them. They can see that their marriage is being torn and chipped away by their actions. Yet they are so caught up in their routines and reluctant to make a meaningful change to shake them lose from their poor relationships habits of selfishness and inflexibility, it is as if they are caught up in some kind of marriage blunder trap that won’t let loose of them.
What I described is obviously not the ideal marriage relationship when a couple has lost all trust and every day seems to be a repetition of mistakes from the past. So how can love be found again when the husband and wife struggle to even show that they “like” each other?
Can Your Love for Husband or Wife Just Disappear?
I think that this notion that love has completely deserted a marriage is just a lot of bunk. If the two people have spent a good bit of time with each other in marriage, then undoubtedly they have forged many experiences together as a couple. Some if not most of these experiences have some positive outcomes and memories associated with them. Think of these moments in your past as marriage bonding agents. And while there may come a time in which your wife or husband may get very upset and declare that “all is lost” and the marriage is “over”. You should know that it is much more likely that your spouse is speaking from the voice of anger or resentment or frustration. They would be using the right side of their brain….the emotional side. This part of the brain, unlike the logical left side, is responsible for a lot of our passions, excitement, and outbursts.
Once love is created and exists for any meaningful period of time in the life of a couple, it just doesn’t go AWOL. Love is not one of these fickle things that comes and goes like the rising and setting of the sun.
Your love for your wife or husband, while it may not be eternal, is a powerful force to reckon with. It can be used to do a great many good things, including resurrecting a bad or broken marriage. And ironically, the bond of love in a married couple’s life can also serve to create passions that can strike in “not so nice” ways.
This is because when you fall in love with your wife or husband and have been with your spouse for a good number of years and shared experiences (good and bad) with this individual, you are in effect creating a history.
Now it can be argued that heightened passions that frequently lead to conflict can be the undoing of a marriage. But if you ask me, I would much rather be dealing with a couple whose passions and feelings run deep. There are two sides to the sword of passion. One side can cut and hurt, the other can carve out the most wonderful of life experiences. When a couple is filled with passion, it shows they care and if these feelings and motivations are directed in the right way, then much good can come of them. But like a wild horse, passions must be bridled and controlled to some extent. Or you can get the sidewalk scene between the arguing couple I was describing earlier in this post.
So, if you ever think that your marriage is loveless or that love has abandoned your relationship, pinch yourself, because it is rarely true. Couples can go through cycles, just as an individual mood can be altered. Various life experiences coupled other relationship variables can cause a marriage to fall on hard times and it may appear that no end is in sight. But I want you to understand that the feelings and the emotions we experience can sometimes conspire to overwhelm our “perspective”.
So when an argumentative couple comes to me and tells me that there is little love left between them, my response is usually that they may be blind to their own relationship truth. The lack of love is seldom the problem. It is more often the ugly, selfish, mean spirited, and unforgiving behaviors that we can easily fall victim to. Love is present, but can be hidden away when these other undesirable and unkind behaviors take over the stage of life.
Just think about it for a moment. The whole notion of love just draining out of a marriage doesn’t make much sense. During the courtship phase, the two of you spent considerable time getting to know each other and learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. In the vast majority of marriages, couples did not just walk in blind. You come to know a lot about your partner and over time, each of you decide that you like what you see. Indeed, you liked what you saw in and ultimately got married.
None of these decisions were made in a vacuum. Both husband and wife took measure of all the things they liked or disliked about their partner and decided to make a commitment. That is how marriages are formed. Two people come to know each other and accept everything they see in the partner, whether it is a virtue or vice, and join together to face life together.
So my point is love just does not disappear suddenly because of fights or other hardships. Love, while it may not be eternal, is stubbornly loyal and that is a good thing for marriage. Why? Because in all marriages, somewhere along the way the couple will encounter problems and if love went rushing out the door…..well, there would be a lot of divorces and separations.
So the next time you think that your spouse no longer loves you, think twice. Usually the problem is not with the love that is continuously forged between the two of you. What is more often the problem is the behaviors that the couple exhibit. It is the ways in which you talk to each other. The problems in marriage are found in the way you treat each other.
This is what you want to spend you time thinking about. Do yourself a favor. The next time you convince yourself that love has abandoned the marriage. Give yourself a good slap across the face and be reminded that love rarely just dissolves away. You have many opportunities to improve the marriage and build upon the love that exists between you and your lover. Focus on those tangible things I call “relationship makers”.
A relationship maker is when you and your spouse embrace a principle that can grow your love and create incredibly strong bonds. And the amazing news for you is that relationship makers are not complicated or confusing or difficult to implement. All you need is a dose of commitment.
Throughout my website, I talk about the importance of showing kindness. Exchanging a kind word or glance with your marriage partner and doing it consistently is a step in the right direction. It is the most powerful of “relationship makers” because it can help you in all aspects of your marriage. Whether it be the quality of your communications or sexual experiences, embracing the principle of kindness is in every respect a “maker” of your relationship. Failing to act with kindness or appreciation is a “breaker” of relationships.
Let me leave you with a few final thoughts. Would you rather spend your time breaking down your relationship by interjecting unkind or cruel remarks and behaviors in your marriage? If you follow such a path, then you certainly flirting with “breaking” the love the two of your worked so hard to develop. Or would you rather adopt the principle of kindness and frequently compliment your spouse or show appreciation and respect for the thing they tell you? If you follow that path, all the data and research out there suggest you and your loving partner will enjoy many successful years of marriage. And if you have children, they will model their behaviors after you.
There are a lot of things we can do to tear down a marriage. And often in dysfunctional marriages, the husband and wife pick and fuss at each other over time. What I advocate is your turn that around and join with your partner to make “kindness” the pillar of your marriage. If you follow that course of action, you need not ever worry about love disappearing from your marriage.