Tuesday, August 14, 2012


“I’m not in love with you anymore!” she said, while we stood in the kitchen.


Brilliant retort I know but it’s all I could come up with. This was a 42 year marriage. I was taken back. (I know that’s passive voice but I didn’t feel very active at that moment.)


I didn’t know what to say and I had to lean on the center island before I fell down. I was completely shocked when she told me she didn’t have those in-love feelings for me anymore and that she was leaving.

Those seven words devastated me, as they probably would have for anybody who has ever been in love. I’ve learned allot since that day and it all but made me suicidal. I loved that woman with everything I had, even after she told me the bad news, and despite my response.

When I heard those seven words, I had a 50% chance of making the right response. Unfortunately, I was so shocked and hurt that I spit back the wrong answer. Why wouldn’t I be hurt? The woman that I had lived with and loved for all those years had just told me that she was not in love with me anymore.

The Lord has shown me some things lately that I would not have understood back then. Even if I understood them, I would not have been ready to receive them then and what He had for me now. Timing is everything with the Lord. Lazarus had to die so the Lord could bring him back to life and get the glory for doing so [1].

There are many stages to love, but I’d only like to address the two stages that have titled this blog Love vs In-Love.

Cultivating Love

Love takes a while to cultivate. What causes us to go from love to in-love emotions is the highs and lows we have in a love relationship. An in-love emotion is a feeling we get and is a fulfillment, a consummation, if you will, of that shared love. It is a ‘high’ similar to an addicted person. Most generally our hearts beat faster and our feelings heighten. We will say and do things that we normally would not say.

The more in-love highs that we have, the stronger our love becomes. The longer the time span between highs (lows) that we have, the weaker the love gets. If there are too many lows or too long of a period between highs, the couple’s love can wane and separation or possibly divorce could be the result. In my case, divorce was the final end. We still loved each other but our emotions could not verify that love due to the lack of any highs. Our love had waned.

When I got the news in the kitchen that day that my wife did not have those in-love feelings for me anymore, it was a culmination of too many low periods in our marriage. The last four to five years of our marriage, we did nothing together, we did not go anywhere with each other, and we even slept in opposite bedrooms.

Well of course we weren’t in love with each other. Duh!

Restoring in-love feelings

Her “I’m not in love with you anymore” coerced a wrong response in me. However, looking back on that day, I realize now that I misunderstood what she was saying. I took it to mean that she didn’t love me anymore. This was wrong. She did still love me. She just didn’t have a reference point for that love because of the lack of any emotional highs that told her psyche that we were in love. Husband and wife need that reassurance that they are still lovers, that they belong to each other, and that they mean something to one another.

Because of the barrage of attacks perpetrated by the enemy, I fell into a deep depression. It lasted for a long time and I couldn’t pull myself out of it. I finally lost fellowship with the Lord. Christ had not left me, I just wavered in my faith and didn’t rely on the Lord to be that third strand in our threefold cord [2] and I lost fellowship.

Anyway, when I heard those seven words, I was not strong enough and I shot back in like kind. I had heard her words but didn’t hear her heart. I was too blind to see that she was crying out to me, “Please love me!” I was sick, weak, and quite honestly not too smart at the time. I could have said many other things.

For one, I could have taken her in my arms, apologized, and told her that I loved her and would be nothing without her. Would it have made a difference? This is something that I will never know. For my own sanity, I would like to think not. Maybe we were too far gone.

Highs and lows

When I say highs and lows, what do I mean? It could mean anything that gets the heart pumping and anything that stokes our emotions toward the other spouse. When I say this, I’m not necessarily talking about sexual things but it could include this aspect of the marriage.

What I am talking about is the nonsexual contacts throughout the day, and the dinners, the walks, the beach trips, conversations, or anything that says, “I love you.” Each couple is different. Find out what works for you and do it as frequently as possible. This is the fun of a relationship and marriage, the learning of one another.

Question:  Do each of us know, without hesitation, how our spouse defines love? What are their values? What are their beliefs?

With the Bible as understood, the best book I have ever read on relationship is, “The Five Languages of Love” by Dr Gary Chapman. Bar none! I highly recommend his book. Buy it…read it…use it [3].

The hidden $20 Bill

Quite a few years ago, we went to a pastor for marriage counseling and he gave us a metaphor that I have never forgotten. It was profound and it fits right in with what I am trying to pass on to you all.

As we sat in his office talking, he took out a $20 bill and placed it on his desk, and said, “See this $20 bill?” I answered in the affirmative.He then said, “Let this $20 bill represent love.” He reached for a sheet of paper and covered up the $20 and said, “Let this represent guilt.” He then took many other sheets and one at a time began to name them, “Let these represent shame, regret, resentment, contention, bitterness, anger, jealousy, financial, and etc.”

He asked us, “Is the $20 bill still there?” Since we did not see him remove it, we answered in the affirmative. He proved it by lifting the stack of papers revealing his $20 bill. He then said, “The trick is not to lose sight of the love that you have for one another. Know who the real enemy is to your marriage [4].”

Because of the lack of highs, this is what happened at the end of our marriage, we lost sight of our love and didn’t know who the real enemy was. Take it from somebody who has been there. Create highs in your marriage and you’ll have a long-lasting relationship with your soul mate until death do you part.

In a love relationship and marriage, each spouse goes from high to high seeking out that heightened feeling toward their spouse trying to fulfill and consummate their love with one another. The more high moments that fill our marriage, the stronger the love will be and the longer the marriage will last. Love is self-sacrifice and thinking about the other at all times. This is true love.

After our visit with the pastor, I created a high for my wife by buying a pretty 5X8 silver picture frame and placed a $20 bill behind the glass and gave it to her. It represented our love and being able to see that love at all times. No matter the garbage brought on by the enemy that covered our love, we would not lose sight of that love for one another. She loved it.

Use this story if you want and buy your own picture frame. It’s going to cost you an extra $20 though. Is your marriage worth it?


[1] John 11:1-45

[2] Ecclesiastes 4:12

[3] (1) Words of affirmation (2) Quality time (3) Giving of gifts, (4) Service (5) Physical touch.

[4] Ephesian 6:12