Over the last thirty years or so, I have heard this question from both men and women as they sat in my office crying. My spouse doesn’t love me anymore so what’s the point. Just as frequently I hear, “I don’t love them anymore,” from the spouse that wants to leave. While not always true, most of the time when I hear this phrase it means that someone else has entered the picture.
The spouse that does not love anymore has moved their affection on to someone else. A co-worker, which by the way is where the highest percentage of immorality takes place, a fellow-hobby enthusiast, a friend’s spouse, or even a fellow laborer in the church. I am not questioning the feelings of this type of love, just the definition and decisions behind it. Most people really do believe they fall in and out of love and have little control over it.
The process of falling out of love starts quickly and often shortly after the honeymoon. Reality takes the place of fantasy and real life can be difficult. The many irritants that were overlooked during the pre-marital days now become like splinters under our emotional skin. The man, who is typically in conquer mode before the wedding, has his prize and quits trying to win her. The woman, who was mysterious and playful, often loses her mystique and sense of humor chasing toddlers around all day. If we add arguments, money problems, hormones, in-law pressures, and unrecognized demonic temptations to the dashed expectations, a moral failure is not far away.
Enter the new love. The male co-worker, who is kind, sensitive, always clean-shaven, smells nice, knows how to listen without being critical, and has your genuine interests first and foremost in his mind. The female that you spend a great deal of time with at work or church that has perfect hair, skin, smell, and figure. Her smile and laughter, the way she makes you feel like a real man, just is overpowering. You simply cannot help yourself; you have fallen in love with someone else.
Time out. Take a breath, step away from the immorality ledge, and think. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Submit to his lies and he will destroy you and your family. With the divorce rate running rampant in our churches, which decision is winning? The statistics are well known so I won’t bother to repeat them. Godly men and women are falling in droves to a lie and illusion.
If we could think clearly about what we are about to do we would most likely stop. The illusion of perfection in the temptation is just that, an illusion. Mr. Wonderful really does not look like that all the time. When he is not at work, he doesn’t shave and his clothes are wrinkled. His breath is bad and if he were married to you, he wouldn’t listen to you as he now does. If he knows you are married and is still pursuing and flirting with you, he does not have your best interest at heart and he is really a jerk. If he was willing to act this way with you, what makes you think he won’t with the next pretty face?
Ms. Wonderful is just as fake. Do you really think she rolls out of bed looking like that? How long does it take her to reconstruct herself? Do you think she never has emotional mood swings or hormonal imbalances? What will she become if she submits to your play for her? Depressed, guilt laden, and insecure most likely. What about her spouse and children, they come with the pretty package. After you run off with her do you really think she will never criticize you or complain like that wife you already have back home? In the words of the famous segment on a prime time sports show, “Come on man.” What are you thinking?
If we would stop and learn to resist the initial temptation, we would fare far better. Our enemy loves to wreak havoc in the family and generational destruction takes place when a home falls apart. Why just settle for taking down a single person when you can influence multiple generations though one foolish act? Our enemy is shrewd and we are often easy prey for him.
We need to take our thoughts captive to Christ and His Word. We need to learn how to discern the enemy’s tactics and resist them. The truth is you will not be happier with someone else. The reality is that if you leave your current spouse for an illusion you will end up disillusioned. I understand that there are instances of abuse and for those cases; you need to seek professional help and flee to safety. What I am addressing here is the plethora of godly men and women that are chucking away their marriages and families for a huge lie.
Why should you stay? God hates divorce. God wants godly offspring and marriage provides the best possible opportunity for this to take place. Don’t just take my word for it, read this:
Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. Malachi 2:13-16
Besides the destruction caused through immorality, the result of choosing it will not satisfy you. Grief, guilt, emotional heaviness, financial burdens, and yes, even more relationship difficulties always follow. If children are involved then you end up giving up your rights to lead them and end up sharing with people that you most likely will not agree with on critical topics. Ex-spouses remarry and children end up like a ping-pong ball bouncing between houses and mixed families. As the children become teenagers, they often pit the parents against one another to get what they want. Threats of moving in with dad or mom almost always work in getting their self-centered wishes fulfilled. A house divided will not stand and as the old song goes, “The children are the broken pieces when a home falls apart.”
Feelings come and go and we must not be ruled by them but make them come under the authority of our Lord Jesus. We can learn to love our spouse and we must resist the allure of another. Proverbs 7:27 states accurately that the immorality road ends up in death. We would be wise to choose another path to walk on while we still can. 1 Corinthians 13 gives us the signposts to follow and if we take that road, we will end up in life not death. Read this love chapter every day and ask the Lord to give you the grace to actually do it and see what happens to your falling in and out of love. Love is a choice and not primarily a feeling.
A quick note to those that have fallen in the past before I close. Failing does not make us a failure. If you can correct the mistake and save the marriage by all means, do so. Get help and get it now. If everyone has moved on to new marriages then ask for forgiveness and rest in God’s grace. There are no second-class citizens in God’s Kingdom, just dearly loved children. We learn from our mistakes and share with others the lessons we gained hoping that they won’t have to be repeated. Jesus died for sinners like you and I and we rest in that promise from our Father.
Go ahead and fall in love with your spouse…better yet, don’t ever fall out of love in the first place.
Pastor Jeff Klick is the founder and Pastor of Hope Family Fellowship with the focus on restoring the family to health. He holds a Masters Degree in Pastoral Ministry, A Doctorate Degree in Biblical Studies, and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Ministry and has written 2 books geared to assist families. Pastor Jeff also assists new church plants in conjunction with 4FIC, a new ministry to assist family-integrated churches. For more information, please visit his website – http://www.jeffklick.com or his church website – www.hopefamilyfellowship.org