Sunday, May 02, 2010

I'm Not in Love with you Anymore

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Warning: This is not a typical post from me. It's not light-hearted and funny and there are no Hollywood babes in it. But it is something that has been on my heart for months. And it needed an outlet. And since blogging is cheaper than therapy here you go . . .

I don't know about you but when I married my husband I made a lifelong commitment. I think I said something like "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in good breath and bad. . ." I have never been to a wedding where the bride and groom said, "I am so in love with you and I will stay married to you until those feelings fade or when you get on my nerves or when you look like this:"

And I never heard this at a wedding: "I will stay married to you until you bug me, don't fill my emotional tank, or my feelings of being "in love" with you go away. Then I will have an affair. I will tell you that there is nobody else. I will tell you I am just not in love with you anymore. I might even lie to myself and tell you I never was in love with you."

I am so sad (and a little ticked off) at marriages crumbling all around me. You are not meeting my needs so I am outta here! Shiloh and I are seeing this happen in at least one of our friends' marriages every year. I know men leave their wives, but in almost every case of people we know (thinking of six off the top of my head) it has been the women who are bailing out. Ditching their husbands, shutting out any girlfriends who would speak truth into them, and neglecting their children. All the while these women have deceived themselves into thinking they are putting their children first. Furthermore, some of these moms are acting as though they really miss their little ones when they are out out partying with their girlfriends. And some moms post those party pics on facebook along with a new, sexy profile pic. Meanwhile, Dad is devastated and so are the kids.

Don't get me wrong - marriage is hard work. I know that some of you are in cruddy places in your marriage and you feel alone, hurt, hopeless, frustrated. Some of you have been there for a long time. I know both the husband and the wife play a part in the marriage being rocky and vulnerable for an affair or divorce. But it is usually one person who decides to exit the marriage. If you are that person please don't give up! Don't quit. Do the work. Get counseling. Swallow your pride. Get on your knees. You might say I've done all that. Do it again and again. God is bigger than your marriage. There is hope and purpose even for the worst of marriages. But you have got to stick it out and surrender yourself to God. You cannot change your husband, but God can! (If you or your children are being abused-- that is a different story. Get out of that house! Seek counseling.)

You might be thinking,
Easy for you to say. What do you know little Lassie girl? You have a wonderful husband who throws triple surprises for you on your 34th birthday, gives you nutrient comments on your 10 year anniversary trip to the Penta Water Factory, and takes your kids on adventures all the time so you can have a break from the motherhood.

Yes, I do have a great husband and I totally dig him. However, I don't dig him the way I did when we were first dating/married--as clearly depicted in this photo.

I don't think about him all the time and wish he were with me every second (sorry Shi) the way I did back then. Those type of feelings do not last forever! I love him more deeply and in a different way than I did back then, but it is not the butterfly, crazy, don't-even-need- sleep, type love. And although we are in a good place in our marriage we still have days that are rough and we have our issues. Our marriage is not perfect.

And about five years ago I went through a two-year period where I really didn't like Shiloh. He bugged me a lot. I thought he was moody a lot. Didn't really enjoy spending time with him. What happened after two years? I don't know. I have my theories. Shiloh has his. (Including his theory that he was the same as he always has been. I beg to differ). But regardless of what caused the "I don't like you" we would have never seen the other side of that season if one of us jumped ship. Yes, that was a season that was often frustrating and unenjoyable. But it was a season and we all go through them. Some of our seasons are longer than others, but that is when real, legitimate, Christlike loves surfaces. Love is commitment. Not adrenaline. Not hormones. Not infatuation. Not butterflies.

Women, this has got to stop! There is sooooo much long-lasting, collateral damage when we leave our husbands! Always. Yes, there is grace for everyone. And if you are divorced there is grace and forgiveness and healing. But as I am sure you will attest to--there is also damage that cannot be undone. If you went through a divorce that you did not want, my heart hurts for you and God wants to put the pieces of your heart back together.

Before you going thinking, Yes, but... but what about this situation? You don't know my situation. Isn't it worse for the children if we stay together when we are always fighting?
I don't have all the answers and I don't know your particular situation. And yes there are some situations that merit divorce. Your situation is between you and your Maker. But you might have a tough time pleading your case before Him-He created marriage and He's for it.

But Wendy! God wants me to be happy so . . .
Please show me that verse in the Bible because I can't find it.
I am not saying that God wants you to be miserable, but if you are a follower of Jesus then follow Him. Pursue Him first, not happiness. Following Him will bring you ultimate peace and joy, but the road to get there is not always easy. Sometimes obeying God is painful and unpleasant at the time. We don't always understand His ways, but He is God. (Isaiah 55:8-9) And God loves you so much. Seek Him.

Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

Go here for an awesome sermon on marriage by Pastor Chris Brown.
Here are my 3 favorite marriage books:
Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley Jr.
For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn

Go here for Part 2 of this Series. Pin It Now!


Emily said...

You've written such a good post! Like you, I am tired of the way people just throw their vows away like they mean nothing, but they are so very important! I agree that everyone has work in their marriages and they just have to keep pressing on. Even though the fluttery feelings are gone, you can have sparks and those sparks are so wonderful! People definitely need to not give up, especially in this area of marriage.

Vows taken before God are not to be broken. We need to live our lives to please and honor God first, then our spouse, then our children, etc. Always keep God first! Loving Him and wanting to serve Him to the best of our ability will be the example we need for our marriage. To love and serve our spouse in the way we love and serve God. If we do that, imagine how much better marriage could be!

Sorry if I'm rambling and not making sense. I enjoyed this post and your point of view on marriage and your encouragement to those that want to give up. Don't Give Up!

Sheri said...

Thank you for penning this! Too many women are being deceived and they (like you pointed out) are bailing for some greener pastures...which don't exist. I hope this helps others remember that marriage is a life long commitment and one that takes much patience, love and prayer. And I can attest to that-been married for 22 years now and have 4 kids-so I know how low/md and high, it can go and how love can change-deepen and persevere. Excellent-just excellent dear!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! Dead on, dead on! We've just been married 10 yrs this past March and I can NOT believe how many people we know that have just given up or given in to temptation and completely decimated everything in their lives. Then, they mosey on through waiting to start again. Ayyiyi!

I'm reading Shaunti Feldhaun's For Women Only and I'm going to post a review soon. I'm debating about actually doing a section of posts about it. I don't really see myself as a women's speaker or poster, but this one stomps the toes clean off with words from the mens mouths. What do you think?

Thanks for this post. It's nice to see there are people out there that have been married a while and aren't giving up and have the same feelings about things that you do. You're awesome, Wendy! :)

Carrie said...

Great post!

I think it was Family Life Today that I was listening to when someone said "the purpose of marriage is not to make us happy, it's to help make us holy." Tough to remember sometimes, but it's so vital that we try.

jody said...

appreciated this. In the valley fighting with everything we have for our own post-infidelity marriage.

Believing in our own resurrection miracle.

Truth like this is like hearing cheers from the sidelines...thank you.

Katherine said...

Great post. I completely agree, and pray that women who need to hear this will truly listen.

TDM Wendy said...

Oh sweet Jody-don't give up! There is hope! God can transform your marriage. Praying for you and cheering from the sidelines.

gramma2many said...

Found you from a comment on Julies blog. I just had to come see who you were. This is an amazing post. It is so sad to see people who are not willing to make their marriage commitment work. They are missing out on so many blessings. I am seeing it even with one of my daughters. Heartbreaking to say the least. It is not just her, they have both quit on their marriage. They are still married and still live in the same home, but they are no longer committed to each other. Not saying that they are out looking for another, but the love and commitment is gone from their life.
I will be celebrating my 45 anniversary this summer. You are right, our love is not the same as it was 40 years ago and we have not had a smooth sail the entire time, but we did commit before God and our families.

laura @ hollywood housewife said...

I've also been saddened by the amount of divorces around us in the last year. It's sad for everyone involved and, like it or not, it does impact a group of friends as well. People take sides, feelings become contagious, it affects more than just the one family.

I really like your post, but there's one sentence I don't understand. "I know men leave their wives, but..." Is this because you're mainly addressing women here? I don't know that it's true that men tend to be the bad guys. I would say it's pretty much split down the middle in my experience.

TDM Wendy said...

Laura, I am not saying that men don't leave their wives or that it is okay for them to do so. I am just saying that I am seeing a trend (in people we know) of the women bailing out. So that is where this post is coming from. Not that this post doesn't apply to men, but I am really addressing the women here. Does that make sense?

Alicia said...

So true! I'm so saddened when I see our friends - and especially our Christian friends ending their marriages because they aren't happy anymore. I tell any newlywed couple who will listen that marriage isn't about happiness, but holiness. God doesn't desire for us to be happy, He wants us to be more like Christ. Thanks for such an honest post!

Bethany said...

Thank you for having the courage to write this post! You are so right!

Grant & Jill said...

Thanks, Wendy, Preach it, sister. Right on, as always!

Mirinda said...

What a great word. Women {and men} who claim to be Christian need to hear it. We went through a rough couple of years as well {I think we had been married about 5 years} and I didn't like E...AT ALL. My 'friends' actually encouraged me to leave!! The garbage of 'you don't have to be so unhappy' thankfully made me roll my eyes....but how sad so many women listen to that from their Christian peers! I'm glad I stayed. Our kids have 2 parents that are still together and our marriage is actually better, sweeter now.

You continue loving each other because it's a choice. Not a feeling. Because you told Jesus you would. And some days that's the only reason! LOL

*CPA* Su said...

Beautifully written!!! A reminder so desperately needed by anyone who is married, regardless of what season the marriage is currently in! Thanks!!

One Crazy Mom said...

Amen sister. Amen.

Anonymous said...

I am blown away by this post Wendy. I am just so blown away and not that you were trying to impress, but made a huge impression on me. After I read this, I hugged my spouse and kissed my little one. Thank you for reminding me how special my marriage is.

The Andersons said...

right on, Wendy. We see the same trend down here in the south. Other great book that Scotty recommends in his counseling:
"When Sinners Say I Do." by Dave Harvey

Lorri said...

Preach it Sister! Amen! Fantastic post!

Shannon said...

Amen and Amen! Keep speaking truth!

Just finished up a Bible Study on For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. Rocked my world ... and my selfishness ... good stuff!

Self-centeredness has no place in marriage and will kill it faster than anything. And that's why marriage is such hard work ... it's a refining of our Spirit as we die to self DAILY. If we don't, our marriage will be what dies.

Solecki Family said...

Wendy, great post... Angie and I have been experiencing this phenomenon in our friends this last couple of years as well. You put down in words what we have been thinking as we walked through divorces with those around us... It is a strange thing.


Carrie said...

this is so true! Love is a Decision, not a feeling. I am feeling similar frustrations...not with personal friends but with others we know who are basically giving up on their families. It is disappointing. We work with college students so we counsel a LOT of young couples and engaged couples.

We often tell them, they are not going to feel this ooey gooey love forever, and they will have to make choices to love and respect one another. Of course they all bat their eyes and think we are crazy... and then just 2 months after the wedding they are back in our living room telling us how right we were.

Thanks for the great post!

Tegan | Celebrate Twelve13 said...

Could have used this post in 2005-- although I'm sure I wouldn't have listened.

Thank you for taking to the time to write this Wendy, you'll never know the impact it may make on some marriages. So much truth in there which, sadly, I know first hand.

I just got the book "For Women Only" and started reading it last night. Also, for couples who are struggling and think counseling isn't within their budget, remember to check with their employer to see if they offer employee services like that or call local churches who often counsel couples for free even if you aren't a member there.

Superchikk said...

Amen. I think that's about all that needs to be said. :)

Ms. Anita said...

Awesome post, Wendy! Unfortunately, I'm in the same "boat" as Jody... or at least it seems like I am from her very brief comment. (If you happen to have a way to contact her, could you please let me know and/or please give my email address to her? Thx!)

I'm clinging to the cross and Jesus' love, and I'm seeking to find peace in Him alone.

Ms. Anita said...

Also, I agree with Jody that this kind of truth... given in love, is like hearing cheers from the sidelines.

One Crazy Mom said...

Anita -
Here is Jody's blog. Her contact info is on it (I think). If not, you can leaver her a comment on a post.

CAP17 said...

Thank you for your incredibly brave and insightful post. We need to find strength, patience and forgiveness every day. You inspire me all the time and are doing such great work in spreading your love of God, your family and your friends. Thank you!

Tina Hollenbeck said...

This is absolutely SPOT-ON, Wendy! I totally agree...and I have been in a few dry-spells in my 21-year marriage so I know what that is all about. A commitment is a commitment, though. I've shared this on my Facebook page so you may get some new followers among my friends. :^)

Unknown said...

I agree you can't give a certain extent. But when you have done the counseling...alone because he won't go, gone in vicious circles until you are blue in the face about the same issue, for 9 years...then it is time to get out, which is exactly what I did.
I cannot be a good mother to my children (yes I have 3, and they are with kids, was a 2nd marriage), if I am a mess...and their safety, happiness, and well being are more important to me than anything else. So I left. And they are all of the above things again.

I am glad you wrote the post, but I feel that you made too many blanket statements. What do you do, as in my first marriage, when he has an affair and leaves you, never returning. You don't hunt him down and try to work it move on, deal with the pain, and raise your children.

Unless you have been in some situations, you can only see it as an outside observer. You don't always know what sort of things went on in their home. I agree with you that women who party rather than being home with their children is wrong, but not all mothers who leave a bad marriage do that.

Mommy Diffee said...

an amazing, wonderful and TRUE post. Wisdom was spilling out everywhere. Seek God first! I enjoyed this and was inspired!

TDM Wendy said...

I am sorry for the pain you have experienced such pain and betrayal in marriage. Yes, when a spouse has an affair and leaves you, never returning - what can you do? When he's gone he's gone. My post is more directed at the leavers, the cheaters, the ones who bail out - like your first husband.

I pray that God has provided you healing for that experience because from what I hear (through pastors and counselors and people who have gone through it) is that is almost the worst pain (second to losing a child) you can go through.

I do not know the ins and outs of everyone's situations. I can only speak of the people that I personally know. I don't know your situation. And I did say
"And yes there are some situations that merit divorce."
You know and God knows if you did all you could to save your marriage. You know and God know if it was the right thing for you and your children. And of course if your children and you are not safe ("if I am a mess...and their safety, happiness, and well being are more important to me than anything else") you have to protect yourself and your children as I also mentioned in the post (regarding abuse).
I am not trying to nitpick and saying anyone who has been through divorce is wrong or made a bad choice.
But for the most part (but not always) the divorces that I see are not necessary and are due to selfishness- when it boils down to it.

scrapwordsmom said...

This is a great post. I adore my husband and he adores me but several years back we had real problems. But because of our love and ability to communicate honestly and the power of prayer we are stronger and more stable than ever!!

Women must stop being so selfish!!!!! {men, too}

Unknown said...

Amen to this! I agree completely, and second your recommendation of "Love and Respect."

beck said...

Great post. Marriage and parenting have been two of the most difficult things I've ever done but also by FAR the most rewarding experiences of my life.

I'd like to add a book, if I may - still reading it with my husband, but it's helping just as much (or more! woo-hoo for saving money!!!) as counseling! How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich.

The Saved Quarter said...

My dad told me when I was growing up that when I pick a husband, I need to pick one who can be my best friend and not the passion. He says that the passion fizzles out in a minute and a half, but the best friend keeps the embers going. It's so true!

My husband and I don't have a perfect marriage and we certainly have our moments, but we are best friends and the coals are still going, slow and steady, after 10 years together.

A friend is going through a very difficult time with her husband. He has had an alcohol problem and has been abusive to her in front of her child. She stays, though, trying to fix it. There are situations where leaving is not only the right thing but the best thing, though. I think eventually she will leave, and I'm sad to think of her child growing up thinking that it's okay for dad to hit mom when he's mad that they're having peas for dinner.

She fears that he'll kill her if she leaves and wrote an "in case I'm missing" letter that I keep, with photos of her bruises. I've kept a journal of every time she's called me and he's abused her. I don't think she should stay in the marriage, and it's way past not being happy. Even the best intentions and faith aren't enough to save every marriage.

TDM Wendy said...

Saved Quarter-
Sounds like you have a good dad.
As I mentioned in the post - if there is abuse - get out of the house and get counseling. And then go from there. You should never put your children in harm's way like that. And it is not okay to stay under an abusive husband, whether you have kids or not. It is so sad to see the women who marry men like that and then continue to subject themselves to abuse.

And when there is alcohol or drug abuse, it is more complicated and difficult. And requires professional help (not me!). Alcoholism runs rampant in my family. But I do know that enabling alcoholism is not beneficial for anyone.

TDM Wendy said...

P.S. To saved quarter,
I will add your friend to my prayer list. Sounds like a terrible situation. A situation that no one would choose to be in. I am sure she appreciates your friendship and support.

Ms. Anita said...

piecesofscrap, I agree with your statement...

"Unless you have been in some situations, you can only see it as an outside observer. You don't always know what sort of things went on in their home."

And yet, I also know that God is bigger than ANY situation. I'm not trying to make light of your situation or of anyone else's... and certainly not my own. But, part of my journey has been learning to believe the TRUTH as opposed to lies and half-truths.

I appreciate your comment! :)

Ms. Anita said...

The Saved Quarter,

I agree that your friend needs out of that marriage. How terribly scary and sad. I pray that she won't "go missing."

With regards to your dad's advice on whom to marry... I think it is nice to be married to your best friend. I have a best friendship marriage, and we'll be celebrating 17 years of marriage in July. However, and I hesitate to know what to type/say next, best friendship marriages do and can have their "faults."

(I'm sure you already know about the possibility of faults. I'm just hoping that the people reading this don't think that if one marries someone because of the good/best friendship that he/she can then sit back and "enjoy the ride." Marriage still needs to be "worked at.")

The reason I say that best friendship marriages can have faults is because mine is a BFF marriage, and it definitely has its faults -- me being one of the "top" faults. :)

Barbie said...

Wow, I loved the truth that you spoke here. I'm thankful that I've never dealt with infedelity, but with so much of it happening now days I often irrationally fear it happening to me. Not that it couldn't, just that I shouldn't spend so much time worrying about it, but rather working on making my marriage steadfast in HIM. Like you, I hear all these stories of marriages crumbling and I can't help but feel aching in my heart for the vastness of hurt that comes with divorce. We're at the place in our marriage where the chaos of life is so consuming that we're trying to figure out our new normal...a way to preserve "US" as we build our young family. Thank you for recommending the books, hopefully I'll make time to check them out this summer. As always, I love reading what you have to say.

c allen said...

i love your post. i am in the "i don't like you " stage right now. i hope it turns around with time.

hiyaluv said...

Amazing, honest, blunt, thoughtful, helpful post to so many! Bravo to you luv. It is sad how many people take marriage/commitment/vows as something they can throw out when it gets old. Relationships are hard that is for sure-but praying has helped me immensely. If nothing else to learn to forgive.

Theresa said...

Truth is so powerful and I know that God will use your words! Thank you for your honesty and openness! This is my first stop at your blog and already I'm a fan :)

Kim C Pace (aka Casey) said...

I went through a divorce I didn't want. I journeyed through the wilderness of single parenthood. I know first hand the devastating effects it has on everyone ~ the couple, the kids, the extended families and even the friends who are forced to choose a side. Divorce sucks. This time around I am holding on dearly. This time around we have placed Jesus squarely in the middle of our marriage. Marriage isn't necessarily easier the next time around and blended families are definitely not easier. But this time there is no divorce option. Our goal is to be married 50 years. That means we both have to live to be 100 but what a great goal!!! Thanks for your post, Wendy. It's time people started speaking up and speaking out.

Life Without Pink said...

This is a great article and so true! Marriage will be tough and everyone goes through rough patches but doesn't mean you have to give up. Marriage is always a work in progress....Thanks for the encouragement!

NotfromtheSouth said...

WOW! Powerful!