I really can’t tell you how many times I have been asked the question “How can I make my spouse love me again?”. So many people talk about “falling in love” and then “falling out of love” through out their marriage. As a society we want to have those butterfly in the stomach feelings forever and when we lose those feelings, we believe that we are falling out of love. I was told recently by a client “I’m not in love with him any more. Oh, I love him. I don’t want anything bad to happen to him. He’s the father of my children so I’ll always love him. I’m just not IN love with him any longer.” Does this sound familiar? Have you been told this? Maybe you have felt this. Maybe you are feeling it right now. You don’t like the feelings you have or that have been shared with you by your spouse. You want something different than what you have right now. Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing with you some thoughts on HOW CAN I MAKE MY SPOUSE LOVE ME AGAIN. I don’t believe that I have a magic formula, but I do believe that if we begin to view our marriage as God views marriage then we can have a very loving and fulfilling marriage.
The first step in this process is LOVE YOURSELF. Now you might be thinking that I am encouraging you to be arrogant or conceited and that cannot be further from the truth. Mark 12:31 (NASB95)
31 “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Jesus quoted Lev. 19:18 as He answered the scribe’s question about what the greatest commandment was. I tend to believe that in order to truly love someone else, we must first learn to love ourselves.
What do you think it means to love yourself? I have asked many people this question in my office. Most of the time, the answer is “I don’t know.” Sometimes people hem-haw around and might come up with an answer of accepting one’s self or even liking one’s self. Both of those answers are on the right track. I believe that to love yourself means to see yourself as God sees you. God focuses on the potential that He has placed in your life. He wants you to experience His unconditional love through Jesus Christ. God does not love us based on any performance other than His own. Performance Based Acceptance is the norm of today in most relationships. What have you done for me lately? What do you bring to the relationship? What can I get from you? All of these questions ( and many like them) govern many marriages and other relationships as well. Not with God! He loves us unconditionally. We cannot nor do we bring anything to our relationship with God other than our surrender.
When we look at ourselves, do we have the Performance-Based Acceptance attitude? Do we think about our failures? Do we think about our regrets? We need to learn to think about Who We Are and not What We’ve Done.
Another aspect of loving ourselves is finding value in who we are. I realize that as a Biblical Counselor I believe that our only value comes from our relationship with God through Christ. The question is “Can I find that value?” God has created us for a purpose and when we do not see that we perceive that we have no value. Many people that do not realize their own value have a very difficult time seeing the value of other people.
Finally, I believe that in order to love yourself you must be able to forgive yourself.When God forgives us, He casts our sins “as far as the east is from the west.” He chooses to “remember them no longer.” When we mess up, it seems like we are “elephants” and we never forget our wrong doing. Forgiveness does not mean that we will forget, but what it does mean is that we will not hold it against us any longer. Again, I ask my clients “What defines you? Does your sin define you? Or does something else define you?” I am not trying to get anyone to overlook their sinfulness nor am I attempting to suggest that sin is no big deal. As Christians, God completely forgives us of our sins and does not hold them against us; therefore, in order to see ourselves as God sees us, we must do the same.
Loving yourself is the first step to getting your spouse to love you again. Let me conclude with this last question…”if you don’t love yourself, why would your spouse want to love you?”
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please leave your comments in the section below.
Bradley D. Watson, BCBT
Directed Path Ministries
After spending more than 25 years on church staffs, God has allowed me to take the experiences and knowledge that I gained to develop a Biblical Counseling ministry. The basis of this ministry is to allow God’s Word to shine on the main issues in peoples’ lives in order to bring His resolutions to problems.