We do not love in a vacuum! It takes two people to have a love story… with that in mind, let’s look at a couple who fell out of love. Susie and Jeff’s (not their real names) relationship had slowly become routine and boring, leaving them with little to talk about, and even fewer activities they shared together. The couple had unfortunately morphed into nothing more than roommates, sharing the same space… cordial, but living separate lives. As one would watch television, the other would be on the computer, or spending time with his or her separate friends.
They had lost the fun, passion, and spark and like other couples in similar situations, Susie and Jeff had not enjoyed any sexual intimacy in many months. One might say, “It’s time to move on, there’s more to life than this.” In actuality, the couple still loved each other; they just weren’t in love with each other.
Because love still existed, Susie and Jeff contacted me to see if their marriage could be saved. They participated in an intensive weekend with me – much like a marriage boot-camp you have heard of – to determine if there was anything “left in the love tank.” Each was sincere in a willingness to be honest and doing their best to solve the dilemma of opening their hearts and their minds. We discussed what they ultimately wanted out of their personalized intensive experience and what had initially attracted them to each other. It became clear from the very beginning that they were different in the ways that they showed love.
Jeff showed love through hard work, financially and physically taking care of the family, the cars, and the yard. Susie also showed love by taking care of their home and being the one to physically demonstrate affection. What surfaced, however, was Susie’s desire for Jeff to be the initiator of hugs, kisses, cuddling, and sex. When she didn’t receive these from Jeff, she distanced herself and kept occupied with activities and friends. Jeff sought his own pleasures and ways to unwind, creating even more distance as he quietly craved recognition and verbal affection for his contributions to the marriage.
Keeping a marriage alive can be difficult sometimes. To find out more about falling out of love and the different faces and stages of love, check out Linda Levin M.A.’s article, The Faces of Love.
The couple learned to express their needs and wants and to show support and understanding for each other. Not only that, they were able to forgive each other, make direct requests about what each wanted, and to reach agreements for the future. A significant part of that weekend was getting Susie and Jeff to have fun and enjoy being together again. They smiled, laughed, flirted and were playful as in their dating days. I’m happy to report that Susie and Jeff discovered that they could revitalize their love and they fully committed to staying in their marriage.