There is huge business in trying to figure out how to “put the spice back into your marriage.” Talk shows, magazines, and even Hollywood have capitalized on this. Of course they don’t have the answer and so the message they send is to leave your spouse for another.
Romance novels paint a fairytale picture of what the ideal mate is. He must be strong, handsome, have long hair, speak with an accent, ride a white horse on beaches, wears a matching white shirt with a plunging neckline as to expose his form, and he’s got a weird name like “Stone”, “Chance”, or “Sterling.” Things like this groom women into expecting the impossible and in turn, I believe, they compare their spouse to these perfect gents and find them lacking. Of course their spouse doesn’t measure up because Stone doesn’t exist! The perfect man doesn’t exist! Yet there are some women who live in this fantasy world because their real lives are a disappointment.
Whether it’s a talk show, magazine, or a book, they are all set-ups for failure because they are all lies. In order to buy into their way of thinking, you first have to have the groundwork laid out for you. In other words you have to operate from a set of faulty beliefs beforehand.
Faulty Beliefs (according to me)
(this is not exhaustive – just a few of the biggies)
- Love is an emotion
- A marriage should never be “dull” or “boring.” It should always be exciting.
- That spark you had when you first met him should stay with you the entire marriage.
Love is an Emotion
Emotions are fleeting so if your “love” truly is just an emotion, then of course your “love” will flee because it’s just like any other emotion – fleeting. When you or your spouse “falls out of love,” what you’re really saying is “I don’t FEEL love for you anymore.” And I say that if you base love off of your feelings, then you never loved that person to begin with. They were the soup d’jour that happened to be there while you were in that stage of the warm n’ fuzzies. It’s hallow, meaningless, and self-serving. It is not love at all.
A marriage should never be “dull” or “boring” It should always be exciting.
What excites you? I think we expect our spouses to stimulate and amuse us the way media does. The buttons, lights, sounds, and images that media provides keeps us engaged for a very long time. And I think we expect the same of our spouses. But we are not put on this earth to be entertained and amused, nor is it your spouse’s job to do so. We are here to serve Yahweh and if you think that’s “boring,” then you need to take a look at your spiritual condition.
What’s exciting in a Torah-based marriage? Getting clarity on a verse or subject. Being corrected in a wrong belief and receiving truth. Having the honor of glorifying Yahweh by denying yourself and the joy that comes with that obedience afterwards. Being used by Yahweh to bless another somehow. When you are rooted in Torah, and actually live it, then your life will never be boring and you will never fall into the world’s view of ‘happiness.’
That fading spark
See “love is an emotion” above. hehe
So What is Love?
Love is a decision and an action based on that decision. The biblical model for love is “faithfulness” and “loyalty.” If we are “faithful” and “loyal” to our spouses or God, (add in there “obedience” for the love of God), then we can say that we love them. But if we cheat on our spouse, we are NOT “faithful” and do not show love. If we worship other gods, we are “adulterers” or “idolaters” which is seen as “faithLESS” an do not show love. And if we are disobedient to God, then we are “lawless” and again, we show no love for Him. Love is synonymous with being “faithful,” “loyal,” and “obedient.” Our emotions don’t really factor into to this. Why do you think in biblical times, they had arranged marriages? We think this is crazy in our Western culture but some cultures understand what real love is and some still practice arranging marriages.
Excuses of the Faithless
A lot of people act like they are victims of love taking over. In other words a married spouse does not claim responsibility for “falling in love” with another person and claims that “it just happened,” or “we didn’t plan it,” or “I fell out of love with you.” Love didn’t just “happen to them,” they made a choice. These faithless ones who have “The Grass is Greener” syndrome are victims of their emotions and/or lust, not love because again, love is not an emotion.
Romantic Love vs Friendly Love
The difference between our love for our spouses and our love for everyone else is our desires and affection on a sexual level. We only have sexual desires or strong affection for our spouses (hopefully) and not our friends. But with both spouses and friends, we show love for them both because we:
- hold both higher than ourselves
- give them what they need
- be a source of support and edification etc. and the list goes on
Love is shown to spouse and friend in the exact same way – the only difference is the strong affection with a spouse. A strong affection is ALSO an emotion and is also fleeting. Do you feel “lovey-dovey” with your spouse every single day? Is it constant? Do you get mad at them sometimes? When your spouse commits a capital offense in your eyes, do you feel like pouring champagne and going on a romantic picnic? Of course not. You’re mad and that “strong affection” we call “love” has temporarily left the building. It has “fled” but usually will return in the future.
Love is a decision we make towards anyone other than ourselves. We are to love our neighbors, love our enemies, and love our spouses all in the same way. But spousal love has added benefits of sexual fulfillment which takes care of our natural physical desires (and emotions) but that is reserved only for them.
Think about it.