FALLING IN LOVE ALL OVER AGAIN
By Muriel Larson
“My husband, Mark, and I have a good marriage,” Sharon told me. “Mark is a fine Christian – kind and very thoughtful. But even though he has always been good to me, there have been a few times when I was convinced I no longer loved him. The feeling of romance was gone, and during that time, just seeing him around made me feel aggravated. I bothered me if he so much as touched me.”
Sharon knew, she should love her husband. She knew it was wrong for her
to be so distant, but she couldn’t deny her lack of feeling for him.
The first time she felt that she no longer loved her husband was after they had been married 15 years. “Lord,” she cried, “I just don’t feel love for Mark anymore. Please help me so I’ll fall in love with him again.”
God answered Sharon’s prayer. “I really did fall in love with my husband again,” she says. “It was great-at least for a while. In time, however, our relationship again began to fall into a ho-hum routine. This time when I prayed, nothing happened.”
Several months went by, until finally Sharon cried to the Lord in desperation. This time she felt she had touched base with God.
When Mark came home for lunch that day, he sat in his usual place across the table from Sharon. Suddenly-as though God was directing her-she felt an impulse to say, “Honey, why don’t you come over here and sit by me?”
Mark didn’t know what to make of it, but Sharon finally persuaded him to move over. Later Sharon told me, “It was just like another honeymoon right there during our lunch. Through prayer and obedience to the leading of the Lord, I was able to reach out to my husband. I discovered that it was possible to bring love and warmth and excitement back into our marriage-that we could have thrills and romance without looking somewhere else. Because we did it God’s way, we don’t have to deal with a bad conscience that must struggle with the guilt and heartache that go with an illicit affair.”
DIVORCE ON THE RISE
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more American marriages are breaking up than ever before. The current divorce rates have tripled over the past 20 years. Fifty percent of all marriages that have taken place during the past decade are projected to end in divorce. Every year over a million children will find their parents involved in a marriage split. While the majority of divorces take place
among the unsaved, sadly, there are also many that involve professing Christians.
In past generations divorce was frowned upon and women were more dependent upon their husbands. Couples, therefore, hung in there and somehow made it through the mountains and valleys to their golden wedding anniversary. Today this is a rarity.
One couple I know stuck it out, and now they are glad they did. When Martha married Bill, she did it because she though he needed her. But they had only been married a few months when one of Bill’s friends talked him into going on a blind date with another woman, and he was unfaithful. Martha was devastated, but by then she had discovered she was pregnant, so she opted to stay with Bill. However, her feelings of hurt and betrayal remained a wedge between them throughout most of their marriage.
Then one day their relationship reached a turning point. Martha and Bill were in their late fifties when their daughter, who had become a Christian, invited them to a special service at her church. They went, and that night Bill and Martha heard the Gospel. Their hearts were open and they asked Christ to come in and save them. As a result, God changed their lives-as well as their marriage. Soon Martha and Bill became members of a local Gospel church where they found Christian fellowship and were taught in the Word. As they grew in the Lord, Christ became the center of their lives, and a new, deeper, richer relationship began developing in their marriage. This middle-aged couple had found something beautiful that was bonding them in a closeness they had never before experienced .
During the last years before Bill was taken home to be with the Lord, Martha discovered that at long last she had fallen in love with her husband. She found that the sweetness of Christ in his life was irresistible. And she gave him the attention and affection he had always craved. After years of merely tolerating one another, they were now truly happy!
This is not an isolated case. Countless marriages have been turned around by the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
MARRIAGE WITHOUT LOVE
How many Christian couples are merely enduring a relationship that has gone sour? Because the love and romance have become stale and drab, one or the other looks elsewhere to find fulfillment. Then, ignoring their marriage vows, they become unfaithful.
It’s easy for a marriage to fall into a colorless rut. All too often when the spontaneity is gone, romance dries up too. Love is soon dissipated when a couple starts taking each other for granted, when they fail to communicate, when sexual encounters become routine, or when they go around Looking like something the cat refused to drag in. When couples fail to respect one another and these are all examples of “lack of respect – their marriage needs a good dose of revitalization!
An item in Changing Times said, “Marriages may be made in Heaven, but humans are responsible for the maintenance work.” That includes the need to work on keeping themselves reasonably attractive to each other. Each needs to be attentive and courteous while doing special little things to communicate a message of love and caring.
What can a person do if he or she is struggling with a sickly marriage? If this is your dilemma, just remember that God will always respond to those who are sincerely willing to follow His directives. The Bible says, “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, and if “we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (I John 5: 14,15, NKJ).
In addition to praying, we also have a responsibility to do our part. Sharon, for instance, made it a rule to keep herself attractive throughout their 20 years of marriage. Sharon wanted to do the right thing and was willing to do God’s bidding. So when He placed in her heart the impulse to make a romantic move toward her husband at lunch that day,, she did it. And God’s timing is always right.
God doesn’t always work in the same way. Another woman who no longer felt that she loved her husband obeyed God by continuing to go through the motions of being happy to see her husband when he came home from work. It wasn’t long before she found she was actually looking forward to the hour when her husband would return. It was then this wife realized that she had fallen in love with her husband all over again and he with her.
Not all marriage relationships can be repaired with such a simplistic approach. But this is no reason to give up. Rather, it’s time to set up some appointments with a Christian psychologist or some other qualified Christ-centered counselor. There is help available. Your marriage does not need to self-destruct. With the proper help, it can flourish while becoming stronger and deeper.
(The above material was published by PSYCHOLOGY FOR LIVING, 1993)
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