Can people fall out of love? If the love you have for each other is true, why do so many marriages end in divorce? I am not married yet, but my boyfriend and I know we will be someday. I love him more than my own life and second only to the Lord, whom by His grace, sent me my best friend. But I hear almost every day of someone who I believed to have a Christ-centered relationship breaking up, or worse, ending their marriage. How can this be? How can people stop loving the person they marry and have promised to love forever? Are they really losing their love, or are they being lazy and not wanting to work at the relationship anymore?
Happily Ever After
Dear Happily Ever After,
To answer your question, we need to talk about the difference between passionate love and the type of love the Bible says a marriage needs. Passion is a fickle thing; passionate love is what we most often associate with love because that is what society teaches us romance is all about, but passion doesn’t always stick around. When a marriage faces the strains of day-to-day life, sometimes you don’t “feel” close… but God teaches that a godly marriage is built off of a stronger type of love.
Biblical love (best described in 1 Cor 13:4-8) is a choice, not a feeling. A loving husband chooses to do that which is in the best interest of his wife. He is to seek to love his wife as Christ does the church (Eph 5:25). A husband’s love is sacrificial; it is a gift he chooses to give unconditionally.
A wife is to respect her husband (Eph 5:24). She shows him respect even if he doesn’t deserve that respect. She chooses to let him lead the household regardless of whether he is good at it. As long as his decisions do not force her to disobey God (Acts 5:29), she follows him. She treats him as a man and honors him as head of the household even when he acts petty and small. Her respect is unconditional.
It is the lack of biblical love in marriages that has created the high divorce rate in our country. Godly marriages are successful because both people choose to love each other even through the hard times. Godly marriages take work, but it is good work, and it is rewarding work. Ask any older couple that still holds hands when they walk down the street – it isn’t always easy, but it is worth it.