Jul 072015 10 Responses

How to Stay In Love ‘Til Death

Whenever I stand before a couple and they boldly profess their love for one another, they can’t fathom a day in which that feeling of love won’t come naturally. Their love feels overwhelming. While they cognitively understand love is a common feeling, emotionally it seems as though they are experiencing something no one else has ever experienced. (See: When You Feel What No One Else Has Ever Felt)

Because of these emotions, it is nearly fruitless to tell the couple the most important information they need to understand. They will kindly listen, but then quickly dismiss the advice because they assume they will never need it. Yet the advice remains. In order to stay in love for the rest of their lives, a couple must learn to love one another in every season of life. It does not happen naturally. Love is developed, not just experienced. A love which lasts a lifetime renews itself in every season.

Couples which assume they will forever love one another are in great danger. When the love fades (and it will), they have two options:

1. They can realize they had false assumptions about marriage and change.

or

2. They believe they have married the wrong person and need to change spouses.

Sadly, many people believe the latter. Assuming true love never loses the feeling of love, couples fall for the misbelief that if they have lost the feeling of love, something must be wrong with their relationship. At the moment in which many couples divorce and remarry, they should be rediscovering their love for one another.

Other couples go through a season where the love feels lost and they come to the understanding their euphoric feeling at the wedding ceremony was deceptive. While their love was real, it was never guaranteed to last forever. Instead, as love matures, the euphoria fades but it can be replaced by a far more stable and lasting love. (See: This Is Holding Your Marriage Back)

The key to staying in love for a lifetime is falling in love many times throughout life.

How one falls in love is not a topic we normally consider. It often feels as though something which just happens. While it’s okay to just let it happen when one is single, we can’t be so lackadaisical with our marriage.

We choose whom we love. It doesn’t just happen; it is a conscious choice.

In deciding how we spend our time, where we direct our attention, how we honor and respect one another, we are choosing whether or not to love.

How do you fall in love:

1. Enjoy each other’s company. Having a good time together is a vital aspect of falling in love. Whenever a married couple fails to intentionally invest time with one another, they begin to lose their feeling of love. By breaking from the normal demands of life and spending time together in an enjoyable manner, a couple can reconnect. Taking a vacation, starting a hobby, and going for a walk are easy ways to spend quality time with one another. (See: How to Rejuvenate Your Marriage)

2. Connect in a meaningful way. While enjoying one’s company is important, we must also find a way to move past surface-level intimacy into a deeper connection. To know and be known is a powerful aspect of marriage. Husbands and wives should know one another in a way unlike any other relationship. There should be a depth of trust and respect. In the chaos of raising children and having careers, it is easy to lose track of one another’s soul. Yet with a little intention—late night conversations as you drift to sleep, truly listening to one another on a long walk, having serious conversations about dreams—a couple can connect in a significant way. (See: Wake Up Every Day and Consider How to Make Her Dreams Come True)

3. Risk vulnerability. While a lack of intention is the greatest risk to a marriage, the second greatest risk is an unwillingness to be vulnerable. Fear prevents many couples from having a good marriage. Trusting another person with your heart and soul should never be done lightly. Humanity has a horrible track record of manipulation and evil. Yet when a person proves trustworthy, we should make ourselves vulnerable, and in so doing, experience the possibility of a deeper love.

A long marriage consists of several seasons. The honeymoon stage gives way to having kids, which transitions to raising children, parenting teenagers and eventually an empty nest. The empty-nesters eventually become retired and over time a couple begins to experience failing health. In every season of life, a healthy couple learns to love one another. They identify what is important to their spouse and attempt to give their spouse their very best.

It’s very possible to have a love which lasts a lifetime. Several factors are necessary. Some are out of control—health, safety, the decision-making of our spouse. But many factors are completely up to us. Learning to fall-in-love in every season is the key to staying in love until death.

 

10 Responses to How to Stay In Love ‘Til Death
  1. Jeff Reply

    Kevin – How do you move forward in a marriage where any discussion about the future devolves into an argument? As we were discussing plans for later this month, my wife actually said to me the other day, “I only plan a week ahead.” This was very telling, as she does operate this way, I’ve just never heard her actually come out and state it. It’s very discouraging, because we have some big life changes coming in the next couple years (i.e., kids off to college). It now makes more sense to me why she refuses to concern herself with matters even a few months out (let alone 2 years!) if she’s operating on the “one week ahead” mentality! Still, this is very frustrating in that I need a partner who is willing to look out with me and plan for our future. We will have some big items to tackle (financial aid, how to pay for college, where the kids will decide to apply/attend). I am worried that the bulk of this planning will fall to me to coordinate and I am the only one with a full-time job in our home (but that’s another discussion!). Thoughts??

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Jeff, two thoughts: 1. I would look at the book Crucial Conversations. Most of the time whenever we are unwilling to discuss something it is because we do not feel safe. The book might help identify that. 2. My other thought is that is something a third party probably needs to assist with. Any time a couple is stuck in an area, a counselor is probably useful. If you live where I do, I can give you a list of names. If you are outside the region, I can’t be as helpful.

      • Jeff Reply

        Thank you, Kevin.

  2. Julie Glover Reply

    Would you believe I was having a discussion much like this with my teenage son last night? I think it’s important to talk to our children, teens, and singles about these things so they can understand what a long-term marriage looks like and requires — before they’re too starry-eyed in love to see straight.

    Thanks for this encouragement! I’m definitely in love with my husband, but it took more than one falling to be where we are.

  3. Janna Reply

    ‘To know and be known’ is my favorite line in this post. After our son Thomas died, we were in marriage counseling and talking seriously about divorce. Our therapist pointed out that NO ONE in the world knew what we each went through during that time of letting him go, other than each other. That struck me deep because I finally realized that even though i felt so alone, John had experienced that horrible journey with me and we weren’t really alone. We have learned how to pull together through the grief. We KNOW each other through the worst and i now know that we can get through anything together. I shared this post. It’s all so true. Thanks Kevin.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thank you Janna for sharing your story. That line is often applied to God but it also relates to a healthy marriage.

  4. […] Question 1: Do you worry your marriage is headed in the wrong direction? A Marriage Question from Ro... kevinathompson.com/top-ten-tips-to-help-your-marriage

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