Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How do you find the loving feeling you never really had?

A letter from a client who did not want her name used:

I have a friend who after 10 yrs is questioning her marriage. She married at 19, at the time wanted to back out but did not. Seemed right, he was 23 college education, christian, great to her. Her never being "in love" has 2 children now. They are looked upon highly in their church, successful, and seem to be great together. She recently expressed her feelings to her husband and took him by complete surprise. She slowly shut down year after year and became who he wanted her to be. He is in complete shock. She wants to hold it together for the children and does not want to hurt him. but does not know if she wants it to work for her. there is not another person. she wants to be alone and live a little. have no one to answer to. But she is going to counseling and trying to do the right thing. Wants to do what is right by God, her children, and marriage. Keeping that "i'm so in love" feeling is 1 thing. But what if she never had it? Is it possible for her to get it? Just went to dinner with her, and came home to look for a fun couples retreat. But, I ask .. how do you find the loving feeling you never really had? 

Jim's response:  Short answer:  You choose it.  

In the long run, mature love is always built, not fallen in to.  Most people have the experience of falling in love, which then falls away after "the honeymoon" (six months to two years).  Some would say this is a liability because the relationship begins on the top of the mountain and there is no place to go but down.  Still, falling in love is bonding and gives people the impression that it is "right."  But it always takes choosing to build love daily, to develop a mature love.  This often happens, for example, in cultures where there are arranged marriages.  It sounds like your friend can't choose her relationship because "the right thing" that she is used to following is external to her.  And in our culture there are always plenty of other green pastures to graze in, so choice can get confusing.  If she chooses it, it will grow.  Otherwise, not.

Good luck to your friend.  It is excruciating to "have it all" be unhappy and not really understand why.  


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