Confusing ‘like’ and love will destroy your marriage. Couples split because they fall out of like. Falling out of love is not possible.
When you watch a romantic comedy or read a romance novel the focus is never love. Infatuation is king in these arenas. Infatuation is like on steroids. It is short-term extreme like. It’s not ‘I like summer’ or ‘I like coffee’ (maybe I should leave coffee out of this…some people have addiction with coffee).
Infatuation is so incredibly powerful that people call it love. Or more correctly LOOOOOOOVE! You know, “I can’t spend a single moment without her.” or “I don’t care what mom and dad say I know he will always be there for me.” This isn’t love. It’s brain chemistry. Maybe you had difficulty with chemistry in school. Yeah, this chemistry is much more challenging to navigate.
When you prefer having something over not having it, that is like. For example, I like pumpkin pie. I never consciously chose to like pumpkin pie, I tried it one day and appreciated the flavor and consistency. No thoughtful study of the merits of pumpkin pie, I ate some and I liked it. It just happened.
I used to like BBQ flavored corn chips. Seriously. As a teen I had them frequently and appreciated the flavor and consistency. Again, no conscious choice, at some point I just tried them and liked them. But one day I ate an entire bag, apparently too quickly. Sickness ensued. I won’t give too many details, but the corn chips were gone for a short time then they came back. You get it. After that no more BBQ corn chips. Just the smell made me nauseous. I don’t like them anymore.
Marriage and Like
As I mentioned above, marriages often end when couples fall out of like. Remember, like just happens. In our romantic comedy example no one decides to “fall in love” no, they what they fall in is extreme like. This is exactly the history of almost every couple. Extreme like comes upon them, they call it love and often get married. All under the power of like.
But they think it’s love. However if nothing conscious is done then eventually the like ends. Back to my BBQ corn chips. At some point your spouse will do something that you allow to make you feel sick, angry, annoyed or abandoned. If this happens often enough it is certainly possible you will like them less and perhaps eventually not at all. When a couple no longer likes each other they say they “fell out of love” and sometimes get a divorce. But they were never in love…it’s just that no one ever explained the difference between like and love.
Love never ‘just happens’. Love isn’t an emotion, feeling, accident or act of fate. Love is a choice you make. I’ve written on this often and don’t want to belabor the point. But couples can never ‘fall out of love’ because they never ‘fell in love’. Love is a conscious effort to put another person’s needs above your own.
So What Can I Do?
If you no longer have feelings for your spouse the solution is fairly simple. Start loving them again. Don’t wait for feelings or emotions to spur you on. Take action. If you listen to their words and watch their behaviors you can see what makes them happier. Do those things. Over and over every day.
Feelings follow actions. If you want a return of the feeling of extreme like you had when you first met you must do the actions you would have done then. Treat your wife like a queen! Treat your husband with respect. Tell them how much you love and appreciate them and do things to make their lives easier.
True love comes in response to a decision to take action. So go out there and act like you have just ‘fallen in love’ and soon you’ll discover that it’s as beautiful as you remember.