I feel very guilty about my lack of feelings for my husband. We’ve been married many years, and over time, my feelings for him have gone cold. There are so many little things he does that annoy me, and I’ve let them build a wall between us. Plus, he’s allowed the distance to grow. He doesn’t even notice I don’t care for him the way I did years ago. Can the fires of love be rekindled?
The short answer is “yes.” The long answer is, “It will take much work but can certainly be done.”
Consider all the ways you’ve allowed your love to grow cold. Have you stopped doing fun, adventurous activities with your husband? Have you begun sleeping in separate beds? Do you take separate vacations? I suspect you’ve stopped sharing stories with each other and almost certainly you’ve stopped sharing the intimate details of your heart with him.
Assuming your husband’s allowed this distance to grow, the burden of the growing distance also falls on his shoulders. He’s enabled this estrangement to take place. Together you’ve colluded to ignore “the elephant in the room.” To the outside world everything appears normal. But you know the deep pain buried within. You see other couples holding hands and long for that connection, the kind you had so long ago.
Scripture has much to say on this topic. Jesus uses the analogy of romantic love to talk about the church gone awry. His words for the church are apropos to those whose love has grown cold. “You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelations 2:4).
Let’s consider what can be done to repent – turn away from the cold – and cultivate the warm love you had years ago. It can most certainly be done.
Remember the love you had at one time. Remembering is a powerful tool. It’s actually re-membering – reattaching a part of you that you’ve dismembered or forgotten. You must intentionally remember how you used to love your husband. Remember how he used to love you. See if you can stir those cold embers in your heart. There are often some warm coals embedded there.
Repent of the resentment you carry in your heart. Love does not sit well with resentment. Talk about the issues that have created wounds. It often takes a professional to help you talk about your resentments in a way that brings connection as opposed to causing further harm.
Rekindle the cold embers with warm ones. You need to become intentional about sharing activities that are likely to build friendship again. You are in a new season of life, and what once brought joy may bring joy again. Or, you may find that you are ready for new challenges and adventures. Explore what you each would like from the other to bring love back into the relationship. Brainstorm possibilities. Dream large dreams. Take some new chances in life.
Regard your mate with daily kindness and grace. Undoubtedly you’ve grown apart and have many daily behaviors that must be changed. Patterns of distancing must be replaced with patterns of connection. Show positive regard for your mate, taking an active interest in what interests him. Ask him to show interest in the activities that interest you. Show kindness every day.
Rejoice in your new discoveries. As you experiment with recreating anew your relationship, celebrate each other. After all, we all have layers of personality just waiting to be discovered. Your relationship can be rekindled one action at a time.
In summary, I liken rekindling love to working an overgrown garden. As you “pull weeds and plant seeds,” you’ll notice your feelings changing. You can fall in love all over again. Try these steps and share your story with us.