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Lost That Lovin' Feeling?

Lost That Lovin' Feeling?

When duty overtakes love in marriage
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Have you begun to feel like your marriage is more about duty than love? You push forward in your obligations to God, your spouse, your children, and your responsibilities, but move backward in your feelings. Duty is like living under the law—you're busy doing something, but you feel no passion or desire for it.

Many married people feel trapped because they want to fulfill their covenant in marriage, but they feel exceptional discouragement and disappointment. Their spouses may be experiencing a season of weakness due to physical or mental illness, job loss, or emotional turmoil. Or perhaps they have sinned and walked away from God.

There is hope. The same God who took dirt and fashioned the intricate details of the human body with its complexity of neurons, cells, and nerves can revive love in your marriage.

For more than 20 years, I worked hard in my marriage to make it work. I wanted more love than duty, but the needs of raising a family took first place. Love moved to a distant second, then third, and before long it was hardly on the radar. I became more duty-driven than love-motivated in my marriage. My love began to drift away, lost like a boat without oars.

While watching the movie The Painted Veil, I was moved when Kitty told Sister Mother that it was her duty to be with her husband in the cholera-ridden region of China. Sister Mother replied, "Duty is what you do when you wash your hands. Love and duty together reveal the grace within you." We need the grace of God to help us experience the divine intertwining of love and duty resulting in a wonderful, sacrificial aroma to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The acronym GRACE is your guide to living the fulfilled life that God has predestined for your marriage.

G—Go to God first.

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you" (1 Peter 5:7).

There will be times to call your friends or reach out to your trusted Bible study buddies, but they can't be there in the darkest, loneliest moments. You may appreciate their words and acts of compassion, but it won't be enough. This is between God and you. Your private time with God will determine the level of your marital contentment. My confession to God became "My heart's not right and I know that's not pleasing to you. I submit to the Holy Spirit to help me grow in this."

It will take complete surrender and trust in him. In your hour of frustration you must speak out to God, "I believe you." Something happens on the inside when you make a verbal affirmation of your faith in the valleys. There's peaceful reassurance of his grace and presence that will guide you through the murky waters of uncertainty in your marriage.

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July 24, 2013  11:07am

In some Christian communities marriage is a sign of God's grace, instituted by God to dispense divine life to us. God uses it to work his grace in our lives. Our culture says it is all about that 'lovin feeling' and that reduces it to a parody. God uses marriage to work in our lives and it does not always feel good. He exposes our narcissism, hurt and self-centered patterns. My thought is that we need to work with that. There are seasons of where it is the best thing in the world and love is sweet, and then there are times where life is a sheer grind. In it all the call is always to love. About 10 years ago (around year 18) I told her I thought we had run out of gas and love was gone. Rather than freak out, we worked with that, and went back to God. He dug deeply into our lives and we began to learn what love was about. Yes, you do have to surrender to God, but also face up to yourself. We are in year 29 and I love her more than ever.

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Harriet Drani

July 23, 2013  5:42am

I agree with you Nancy to some extent, but practically and experience reveals that its very unwise to confide in a brother, sister or a father concerning issues of your marriage. You can open up to them to some extent in minor cases, but for very sensitive issues in your marriage, you can not confide in them because of the blood relation and not long, you will realize that your husband's image, self esteem, confidence, trust and the position as the head of the family will be in a greater risk before your family and even the society around you because remember as you confide in them, they will as well share with those others they "trust" with your secrets. Before you realize, it will become a public issue and come back to your husband's ears, which will not only further tear your marriage than build it. Desist from that temptation and rather confide in a professional either male or female. Some opposite sex friends many times have taken advantage of your situations and exploited you.

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July 20, 2013  8:01am

Unless pastor is female... no trustworthy female present == NO MEET! Nancy is right but the comment of Anon that "a (male) pastor should ALWAYS INSIST on a trustworthy female present" is vital. I think it probable that my daughters husband would not have abandoned her and their four children if she and my wife had not agreed to keep her marital problems from me, her father.

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