I saw a post on Facebook today that bothered me, and it was from a Christian counseling page. The question wouldn’t send most people over the edge, but it really got my pet-peeve-indicator on full tilt.
“Do you want to fall in love with your spouse again?”
It seems harmless, right? Even like a good thing. But it’s so misleading….
As pastors, my husband and I do quite a bit of pre-marital counseling. Our program is pretty rigorous. We do our best to make sure the couples enter marriage with eyes wide open and have all the tools they need to have an intimate and healthy marriage. And those kind of heaven-on-earth marriages are not accidental. They take a lot of work.
The sweet, gushing, isn’t-he-wonderful and she’s-just-so-amazing and how-did-I-get-so-lucky couples come in so unsuspecting. So unaware of what lies ahead. They’ve “fallen in love” so what could possibly go wrong?
In the first session we hammer on that word. Love. And the look on their combined faces is priceless when we make this statement –
People don’t fall in love.
I wholeheartedly believe that statement. We don’t fall in love. We fall down the stairs. We fall off a ladder. If we’re very unlucky, we fall out of a tree stand (I threw that in for all you hunters out there). But we don’t fall in love.
When we make sure we’ve burst their bubble good, we spend the next 45 minutes discussing what love is and what it isn’t.
Falling is an accident. Love is a choice.
That ooey-gooey, gushy, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling is a mixture of hormones and excitement, but it isn’t love. It’s attraction. And we need that, don’t get me wrong. Marriage would be pretty lame without attraction, but it definitely isn’t the foundation upon which one should be built.
Feelings come and feelings go. If you can fall into love, it’ll be just as easy to fall out of it. I speak from 21 short years of experience that there will be days that the I’ve-fallen-in-love feeling will be glaringly absent. And if a feeling got you into it, the loss of a feeling will cause it to crumble.
“I fell out of love” implies it was an all-of-a-sudden accidental thing you had no control over.
We don’t secure our boats to a piece of seaweed. We don’t set our course by clouds that are constantly moving in the sky. And we should never anchor our marriages to a feeling.
We need something firm and fixed and stable.
Love is a choice. Love is an action. Love is a hundred daily decisions to put our spouse first. To do the things we know they enjoy and avoid the things we know drive them crazy.
Jesus wasn’t upset with the church of Ephesus because they ACCIDENTALLY fell out of love with Him. No. He’s pretty specific when He tells them, “You LEFT your first love.” They didn’t lose it. They chose to leave it.
It was a decision they made, and it was as easy to fix as, “DO the first works again.”
Feelings will follow actions. There’s a big difference between losing and leaving. One is accidental, the other intentional.
Before you decide a marriage is doomed because you’ve “lost that lovin’ feeling,” take a step back with our spouse. Make an intentional decision to DO love and see if your feelings won’t follow.