Aug 142013 16 Responses

I Never Loved You

“I never loved you,” he says. There’s another woman. He’s not ashamed. The marriage is ending and he believes he never loved the woman he married years ago.

“I never loved you,” she says. Her heart is dead. She’s unmoved. The marriage ended years ago in her mind. Nothing but a piece of paper and the public perception still remains of a love which she now believes never existed.

“I never loved her.” “I never loved him.” I hear it on a near weekly basis. It could make me wonder what was happening 5, 10, 30 years ago when weddings were taking place.

To my knowledge, I’ve never performed a wedding ceremony for two people who didn’t love each other. Who married these people? How did they not notice the absence of love?

The truth is, very few couples get married without love. Sure it happens. There is social pressure to marry or the delusion that a certificate will force feelings which aren’t there. No doubt it happens, but it is rare.

So why do so many couples who are divorcing say they don’t love each other?

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It could be a defense mechanism. As a way to justify what they are doing, they say they never loved the other in hopes people will understand the decisions they are making.

Yet far more often, it’s not a lie they are telling others; it’s a lie they are telling themselves.

When a couple sits in my office and one says, “I never loved him/her,” my common response is “I don’t believe you.”

I believe they believe it, but I do not believe it is true.

Humanity has an amazing ability to re-write history.

  • You thought Vanilla Ice was cool. History proved he wasn’t. You now claim to have never known him.
  • You thought the mullet was a great haircut. The pictures prove it wasn’t. You now claim your mother made you do it.

As time passes, we revise history to make sense of our current feelings. What we don’t realize is that our current feelings dictate our understanding of the past more than our past dictates our current feelings.

  • What was your marriage like a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago?
  • How much did you love your spouse when you got married?
  • What was your dating relationship like?

For the vast majority of people, your answers to those questions reveal more about the state of your relationship today than the state of your relationship back then. We view our past through the lens of our present. We always revise history.

So when a couple comes to me with a broken marriage and one says, “I never loved him/her,” I know they believe it. But I also know it is not true.

And I know those feelings can change.

In the same way that a couple can go from deeply in love at the altar to believing they were never in love, they can also go from not feeling any love to feeling deep amounts of affection.

The truth is—we control our feelings. (For more on this, Click Here) Because we control our feelings, we can re-develop the feelings we have lost.

A marriage which feels loveless is not hopeless. Genuine feelings can be re-developed.

It takes time, energy, and effort. It may not be easy. Yet it is always worth it.

If you are to the point that you no longer feel love for your spouse, this re-development needs to happen under the direction of a professional counselor.

If you want to test my theory that the feeling of love can be developed, try one or all of the following:

  • Re-visit the site of your first date and tell your thoughts and feelings from that night.
  • Read old love letters to one another.
  • Tell each other of when you first felt love for the other and why.
  • Unplug from all technology, take a walk, and discuss your favorite moments from marriage.
  • Find your favorite picture—past or present—of your spouse, show it to them and explain why it is your favorite.

Feelings come and go. They can be regained just as easily as they can be lost.

If you have lost the feeling of love, redevelop it.

If you have the feeling, work hard not to lose it.

16 Responses to I Never Loved You
  1. […] be one of the most meaningful times in your marriage. If a couple works with intention, they can red... kevinathompson.com/empty-nest
  2. […] If you have not had a healthy romantic relationship or if that relationship ended on bad terms, it i... https://www.kevinathompson.com/attracted-wrong-men
  3. […] This is the way many people feel when their marriage struggles. They assume there is nothing they ca... https://www.kevinathompson.com/the-lie-we-believe-about-love

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