Once wildly in love, disillusioned couples often wonder, “Where did our love go?” How and why did feelings change so quickly? When once not so long ago they vowed to love each other for eternity, how can their marriage be so unhappy?
Demands and expectations
Before couples marry, they enjoy a carefree and uncomplicated life. The roles of boyfriend and girlfriend are fairly simple. Financial lives and personal habits are still separate. How one chooses to live and the decisions he or she makes doesn’t affect the other—yet. But when two people marry, all of this changes.
Roles move from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife. Decisions and choices do affect each other. Money, lifestyles, in-laws and parenting become areas of conflict. We have expectations for each other, and we might not live up to them. Both partners attempt to coerce each other into meeting those expectations, and disappointments lead to arguments. Somehow, we move from being supportive to being controlling and disapproving.
The antidote: True love is unconditional. Have no expectations and accept each other as is. Love each other like you did when you first fell in love. Passionately and without demands. With lots of adoration and approval. Remember that your ultimate goal is to have a happy life with a loving relationship and everything else is lower on your priority list.
Like any living thing, love flourishes with attention and tending; and it will wither with neglect. The following neglectful ways sucks the life out of love:
1. Taking each other for granted. Do you show gratitude for your spouse? Do you appreciate all the large and small things he does or shrug them off? Do you believe because you're married that you can treat him with less tact than a friend?
2. Being uncaring. Your spouse’s safety, comfort and happiness were once your main concerns. Are they still? Tend to him gently when he’s ill. Try to avoid inconveniencing him by doing what you can for him. His concerns should be your concerns and vice versa.
3. Treating each other with rudeness. Do you forget to extend common courtesies to your spouse? Do you speak with more care and consideration to strangers or co-workers than to your own spouse? “Please,” “thank you,” “excuse me” and “I’m sorry” should be phrases in your daily exchanges at home. Do you muster your best face for each other? Do you light up when you see each other or grumble and vent?
4. Ignoring important dates. You don’t have to make a huge deal out of every holiday, but commemorating birthdays and anniversaries show you appreciate him and being married to him.
5. Not spending enough time together. It’s easy to splinter off into separate rooms to enjoy your own interests, and personal time is good, too. But be sure no one is left feeling lonely. Married people should never feel lonely. It’s written in the marriage contract.
The antidote: Affectionate attention and courtesy. Treat each other like >precious gems. After all, you are each other’s greatest treasure.
Abuse and breaking trust
Love can endure many attacks, but the life can be beaten out of love through abuse and all its forms. Not only physical, verbal, emotional and psychological violence, but other thoughtless, mean-spirited ways abuse love, too.
1. Breaking trust erodes love’s strength. Infidelity, lying, promise-breaking and inflicting harm are trust violators.
2. Criticism and judgment also abuse love. When you are loved, you should feel safe from criticism and judgment. Love builds. If your words are tearing down your spouse, you are picking away at the love you share.
The antidote: Be gentle and use utmost care. Protect each other from harm in all ways, and never do harm yourself with words or actions.
Love dies from disillusionment, neglect, and abuse. The good news is that love is resilient, and as in nature, it doesn’t take much for love to bloom in all its glory once again. Apply the antidotes liberally and watch it grow.