A female marriage counseling client said it best I think. We were discussing God’s original intention for marriage. We already know what Adam actually said when God brought Eve to him based on Genesis 2:22-24. But what do you imagine he first thought when he woke up and God presented to him this absolutely beautiful, stunning and highly desirable mate? Hubba, Hubba may not really be a word, but it was probably pretty close to his response. So often it seems marriage partners say it is not like it was when they were dating, or when they were first married; “we just don’t have fun or do much together anymore.” As the years roll by many couples become complacent and discontented. Maybe they begin to feel neglected or ignored, then move to feeling uncared for and unloved and eventually even become lonely, isolated; the friendship is gone. “You’ve lost that loving feelin'” as Hall and Oates sang so many years ago.
It is not good!
The first “not good” thing in all of creation that God spoke had to do with relationship, and the lack thereof. It was “not good for man to be alone” then, and nothing has changed in thousands of years. Man and woman were created for each other, to meet the needs of one another. Eve was a “suitable helper” or a “helpmeet.” Life is all about relationship. But relationships do not just magically happen without work, especially in a marriage. Much of how a relationship starts are the same things that keep a relationship alive and exciting-by being with and doing things with the other person often, and building and expressing closeness. So how do you get that “lovin’ feelin'” back?
Love is a choice and it is best expressed in action! The widely respected Christian counselor Everett Worthington Jr. encourages that married couples must change patterns and habits of communication to better reflect their love for each other. In other words, you should directly communicate your love to your partner in a way your partner can understand (gifts, touch, words, acts of service, time spent); communicate the aspects of your relationship that you value-the positive parts; listen to each other with respect; share your experiences (information, thoughts, needs, desires, feelings, values); and plan and make time and opportunities for good communication.
A very practical and simple way to begin this again is for each of you to make a list of things you can do for, or say to one another that shows or expresses the value you place on your marriage and the love you have for them. Then, regularly DO them! Evaluate your actions-are they mostly positive? Change the negative ones to positive and start seeing the difference it makes in both of you. What happened to romance? Set a date, do the things you used to, pretend you are dating for the first time again. Tell your partner the reasons you value them, the positive attributes and character traits that attracted you from the very beginning.
By becoming intentional regarding the things you do and say to your partner you communicate your love, have fun together, regain the friendship and meet and satisfy their needs. My hope and prayer is you will actively work on intentionally communicating your love to your marriage partner.
God’s best to you!