Article inspired by Dr. Lee Baucom, PhD., author of Save The Marriage
Do I Love My Spouse or Is It Just Infatuation?
Have you ever asked yourself, “Do I love my spouse?” Well, if you’ve seen the musical, “Fiddler On the Roof”, you’ll know that it’s a story about the variable culture of marriage. It can change from one that’s arranged by family or determined by community, to one that’s based on mutual attraction.
In a song from the musical, Tevye asks his wife of 25 years if she loves him. She replies that, through all those years, she has kept house for him, prepared his meals, shared his bed and raised his children – so what kind of question is that?
The point is that, in their marriage, love was not a consideration or even a question. However, after some to-and-fro, they decide that they do, indeed, love each other.
The Initial Attraction
What do we really know about love and marriage? People fall in love and get together, then spend the rest of their lives learning to love each other. The initial attraction is actually about you and your feelings. You feel a particular way, which makes you aware that you are “in love”.
However, that aspect of the relationship is propelled by your need to be with the other person, the need to feel that way and the need to have your needs met. Your desire to feel the profound emotion of “being in love” is what energizes your needs.
In reality, however, love is a verb, an “action-word”, something you do for the other. In other words, it takes the rest of your life to learn how to honor your spouse’s needs. From your desire to be with your spouse comes your desire to meet your spouse’s love needs.
How the Initial Attraction Fools People
The overpowering feeling of attraction “fools” people into commitment, after which they have to apply effort to forge a sustained relationship. We say “fooled” because the culture we grow up with makes us believe that this love is the bedrock of a relationship. That is not so.
It is merely a starting point, which is, in any case, temporary. It’s not the destination; it’s just part of the journey of a lifetime relationship.
Those intense feelings will simmer down over time. You cannot sustain the “captivation” portion of a relationship that is marked by the overwhelming need to be with someone. Think of a flame in a bottle; sooner or later the flame will consume all the oxygen in the bottle and it will flicker out if nothing is done to sustain it.
The Fuel That Keeps the Fire Burning
As you can see, there has to be some “fueling of the fire”. This fuel is “love”, the action-word. When you act in loving ways, you fuel the fire and it keeps burning. If you stop tending to your partner’s needs because you no longer feel that initial obsession, the relationship will gradually (or not so gradually) fade away.
If you continue to believe that infatuation is the foundation of a relationship, once that feeling is gone, you have the impression that you are no longer in love. But that is not the case – you have simply failed to fuel the fire.
Given the right settings and circumstances, any two people can fall in love (the chemistry of infatuation). However, making the switch to “true love” – that comes from action – is always more difficult.
Sustaining the Feeling of Being In Love
Don’t be fooled by chemistry – choose taking action to keep the fire stoked. By acting on love (making “love” an action-word instead of an emotion), you can keep the emotional fire burning. There lies the great irony. If you depend on the feeling of being in love to keep you and your partner together, your relationship will fail. But if you set your focus on being loving, you will automatically perpetuate the feeling of being in love.
Where are you on the path Saveto being a really loving spouse? Is your marriage just “average” or is it wonderful? You don’t need to settle for an “OK” marriage; you can make it exceptional – starting today!
To start making your marriage exceptional – Visit SaveTheMarriage.com