A few weeks ago I wrote a post talking about loving your spouse and I talked about the fact that over the course of your marriage you need to fall in love with your spouse over and over. I explained that one way to do this if you're struggling in this area is to remember back to what you first loved about your spouse and build on that. Then about a week ago I received a comment on that post from a bit of a different perspective. This woman asked what should be done in a marriage where the couple had never actually been in love, they had married for all the wrong reasons and 15 years later there was no way to dig up a love that may have never been there. What then? I responded that I needed a few days to pray about it and I would do an entire post on that subject because i'm sure she is not the only person to have ever dealt with it. So here are my thoughts...
First of all my heart absolutely goes out to this lady and anyone else who may be facing this situation! It would be awful to be in a loveless marriage and feel like you're simply biding time until your kids grow and you can leave. That's a hurt i've not faced and can't even imagine. However I will say that, my heartfelt sympathy does not change what I believe the word of God says so I have to go with that instead of just the sympathy I feel for you.
Mark 10:6-9 says But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
This is the same thing that was said in the book of Genesis when Adam and Eve were created and God himself created marriage. That was a marriage that lasted, I believe for over 900 years. These were 2 people who literally met and married. There was no chance to get to know one another or fall in love. They met, married and were commanded to stay married. Period. This is not the only situation like this in the bible either. In fact, many marriages were arranged marriages, often times with at least the woman not even having a say about whom she was to marry and yet they were still told "What God has joined, let no man separate".
Now I am in no way advocating arranged marriages! However I am pointing back to when the covenant of marriage was created by God Himself, love wasn't even something He addressed. This idea that marriages should only last as long as "love" is there is simply not biblical! *I will say if there are issues like abuse or adultery happening that is a different situation entirely and should be handled completely different.*
I listened to C.S. Lewis chapter on christian marriage when I was considering what I should write about and he addressed this idea much better than I ever could. With that being said I will simply quote him and let him speak for himself...
"The idea that ‘being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. And, of course, the promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry.
People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on ‘being in love’ for ever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change — not realising that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one. In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last."
So you see, marriage is not about the thrill of being in love, yes that is a wonderful part and something that I wish for every married person. However, if you are living a Christ centered life and in doing so work to have a Christ centered marriage you will have to accept the fact that not feeling in love is simply not reason enough to end a marriage.
I am not saying that you have to accept that fact that you will live a miserable life in a lonely marriage! I am simply saying that you don't get to just walk away because you aren't "in love". You are going to have to put some work into the relationship. You may have to look for something, even a tiny little thing, that is even worth liking in your spouse and pray for it to build from there.
Something I have prayed many times in difficult situations is "God, i'm not willing right now, but i'm willing to be made willing". You may not be willing to work on your marriage and find ways to love your spouse, but if you can get to a point where you are willing to be made willing. God can do mighty things!
One last thing and then i'll be done for now... What if you married the wrong person? What if your spouse wasn't "THE ONE"? The moment you entered into your marriage covenant, they became the one! We don't live in an age of arranged marriages anymore which means that, most likely, you willingly chose to enter into your marriage. Hind sight is 20/20 and looking back on things maybe you should not have gotten married but that fact is you did. What is important now is what your chose to do with your marriage. God has given you ALL the tools you need to make your marriage work in His word. Will you use those tools? The choice is up to you...