In 1965 The Righteous Brothers first released “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and it quickly shot to the top of the charts in the United States and the UK. It’s been covered by a number of different artists through the years. In all, this song was the most played song on American Radio in the 20th Century.
Why has this song resonated with people for over sixty years? One reason could be that so many of us have had the experience of a person we love who no longer desires us. The “feeling” of love is gone. Countless separations and divorces have been explained by the words, “We just weren’t in love with each other anymore.”
In his book, Fall in Love, Stay in Love, Dr. Willard Harley carefully guides couples through different aspects of rebuilding “that lovin’ feeling.” As a marriage therapist, he writes that “Couple after couple explained to me…they married because they found each other irresistible–they were in love. But by the time they came to my office, they had lost that feeling of love.”
Romantic love is often mistaken for true love. It’s based more on feelings than on the qualities needed for a lasting marriage. Dr. Harley’s book is a great tool for any couple to work through to regain their enjoyment and passion for each other. In addition, here are three principles to keep in mind as you love your spouse:
1. Love is Caring
Often we lose the loving feeling because we have chosen self-preservation or self-satisfaction. Notice the prefix for each of those choices: SELF. We see our needs not being met. We know what WE want from the marriage and THEY aren’t providing it. So little by little we withdraw.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). It’s interesting that the first assignment Dr. Harley gives couples who come to him is, “To try to do whatever it takes to make each other happy and avoid doing what makes each other unhappy.”
If you were to take that first assignment and apply it to your marriage, what might you need to begin doing? Can you identify anything that you need to stop doing that makes your spouse unhappy? Say a simple prayer and ask God to reveal to you what would matter to your spouse.
2. Love is Consistent
The first word used to describe love in 1 Corinthians 13 is that “love is patient.” When you are working to rebuild the love in your marriage, it is important that you take the long view and persevere. Each day, you get up and make the decision to invest in your marriage by being consistently caring.
You can’t control your spouse’s response to your efforts. All you can do is be faithful, dependable, and true to your determination to love them with the love God has given to you through Jesus.
3. Love is Commitment
The best example of love being commitment is from God. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Father wasn’t giddy about what his Son was going to experience. And Jesus actually asked that if there was any other way–that he wouldn’t have to suffer on the cross. But God’s love was shown through commitment, not feeling.
The same is true in your marriage. You aren’t married because you have “that lovin’ feeling.” You are married because you have chosen the person to whom you are committed to for the rest of your life. For better or worse. Richer or poorer. In sickness and in health.
So make the decision not to get drawn into the lie of love being a feeling. Choose to be caring, consistent, and committed as you build your marriage.