I hear people say it all the time:
“I love my spouse but I’m not ‘in love with them’.
“I don’t know if I love them anymore.”
“I love them but they said they don’t love me anymore. Is my love enough?”
Statements like these can be extremely confusing, not to mention heartbreaking and heartbreaking, especially when you’re truly convinced that you’re falling in love. But have we forgotten unconditional love? What is unconditional love, even?
I wanted to share some truths that I have learned about unconditional love after helping hundreds of individuals and couples through various times of crisis and difficult times to have a more loving, happy, and fulfilling marriage.
Here are 3 brutal truths about romantic love that are really hard to hear:
1. Love is an action, not a feeling you get from another person.
Love is an experience you receive by doing acts of love for someone you love, not a feeling you get. The trick is to give the love and take the action your spouse needs and wants. The problem is that we often strive to satisfy our partner’s needs with what matters to us.
When we do this, we are overlooking the opportunity to create a deeper connection and more happiness with our spouse. It is therefore not rocket science or tricky to fall “in love” again. It’s about meeting your partner’s deepest needs and, in doing so, showing them how much you care.
2. Love is not something you find — it is something you create.
The majority of us mistakenly assume from love stories in tabloids and movies that all you have to do is find that “special someone” and you will live happily ever after. We all know that’s not true, but on some level we still expect it.
When people tell me during couples therapy that they are not feeling love, are falling in love, or are no longer in love, I ask them what actions they have taken to demonstrate their love for their spouse. Often they cannot respond. The reason people often don’t feel “in love” is that they don’t do anything – they wait for love to come to them first.
Thus, they find themselves at an impasse and find themselves caught in a trap where they remain stuck in a relationship deprived of love for days, months or years. They are waiting for something to change, but no one is ready to give.
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Ultimately, they attribute the marriage breakdown to communication, lack of sex, family, or financial differences. Yet in reality, they simply did not show acts of love. How can a couple stay connected? The real problem is that marriage is hungry for loving, selfless gestures.
If you think about it, there is absolutely nothing in life worth having that doesn’t require effort to be achieved and then maintained. Things in life grow or die – it’s the law of nature. Relationships are no different. They need to be fed, cared for, cared for and cared for.
If you want to feel more love or fall in love again, you need to make acts of love part of your daily routine. The more you do, the better, and the more likely your lover is to reciprocate.
What do you want to experience more of in your relationship right now? Do you want more excitement, affection, attention, appreciation, pleasure, support, care, or security? Everything is possible to create.
3. Unconditional love is extremely rare, so don’t expect it.
If someone ignores you, hurts you, or annoys you, it’s unrealistic that they expect you to always love them. Likewise, if you act on your spouse over and over again, he is likely to change the way he thinks, acts and feels towards you.
So don’t expect unconditional love to always be there. Don’t take your spouse for granted. Make an effort to make them smile. Show them empathy and kindness.
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Love is a deeply personal and individual thing. It may mean something completely different to you than it does to me. Love, in a miserable relationship, does not help the situation. So if you only like the hustle and pain, it might not be enough. On the other hand, in a good relationship where you’re worried that the love you have isn’t what it used to be, there’s nothing to worry about. Love can be built.
Other emotions we experience throughout our week can cause us to lose sight of the love we have. If we feel angry, stressed, bored, or upset about work, finances, family, or our health, it will affect the happiness and love we feel for someone. So you have to make sure you don’t over-analyze in difficult times.
If you’ve fallen in love, it’s easier than you think to fall in love again. Don’t get caught in the trap of waiting to feel love before you act. Act now. Do something loving, talk to a wedding specialist for help, or get free materials to guide you.
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Nicola Beer is a marriage transformation specialist and founder of the Save My Marriage program, an alternative to marriage counseling.