As a marriage counselor, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a disgruntled husbands or wives utter the words, “I just don’t love her [him] anymore.” And as they say those words, it is as if they are waving a white flag in surrender. To them, it is the final nail in the coffin of their once passionate and beautiful — but now dead — marriages.
I’m going to let you into the mind of an old, beat-up, but very experienced marriage counselor. And I’m going to tell you what I think when someone says to me, “I just don’t love him anymore.” What immediately goes through my mind is, Who cares? And that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the person or her situation. It means that person’s lack of passion in the relationship is a temporary symptom of a problem that can be quickly remedied.
When someone tells me they are out of love, I can completely relate to it.
Karen and I were totally out of love and out of like! We had fought so much we were numb and had only negative feelings for each other. At the low point in our marriage, we both believed we had made a mistake and had married the wrong person.
A few weeks later, we were passionately in love, and we have been so ever since. We know what it is like to be on the brink of divorce. But we also know how we got there — and how we got out of it; and we experienced the restoration of the passion and intimacy of our marriage. Truthfully, what we experienced afterward was a much greater passion and intimacy than we had ever experienced before.
Every couple can experience passion in their relationship for the rest of their lives. It isn’t for a lucky few.
It isn’t for those who marry their perfect “soul mates.” It is for every couple that is willing to do what I’m about to explain. Here is what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus’ words contain the absolute secret of passion in any relationship. He was telling His disciples to invest their lives in the things of God and not to focus on the things of this world. And He concluded with a powerful sentence: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
To understand the importance of that statement, let me help you understand the meaning of two words Jesus used in the original language. In the Greek language that the New Testament was written in, the word for treasure is thesauros. It means treasure or wealth. But it also means a treasury, or the place where we deposit our wealth.
The second important word in Jesus’ statement is heart. It is the Greek word kardia. It means the seat of our emotions and passions. Here is a paraphrase of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 6:21: Wherever you are depositing the treasures of your life, your passion will be there also.
Jesus knew if His disciples were investing their lives in worldly things they would lose their focus and passion for Him. So, He wisely exhorted them to lay up their treasures in Heaven. He did this because He knew an important truth:
You cannot separate your treasures from your passions.
In other words, you will always be most passionate about the people, pursuits, and places where you are investing the best of your life. Your passions will always follow the investments of your time, energy, and strengths.
Here is another way to say it: Your passions are telling on you. If you aren’t passionate about your marriage, what are you passionate about? Car racing, golf, children, work, church, friends, QVC? I was out of love with Karen but passionate about golf. And the reason I was passionate about golf was because it was where I was investing the best of my time, energy, and strengths.
Understanding passion is very simple. Your passions will always follow your investments of your time, energy, and strengths. The most common mistake husbands make is to turn their primary energies away from their wives and direct them toward children, work, or other interests. The most common mistake wives make is to turn their primary energies away from their husbands and turn them toward children, work, or other interests.
But we must understand that when we turn our primary energies away from each other, our passions inevitably will follow, and we will end up emotionally drained or “out of love,” as some would say. A spouse in a marriage like that might come to me for counseling. And that person would say something like this to me: “Jimmy, I just don’t love my spouse anymore.” And you know what I’m thinking? You’re a fast learner.
You get the passion back into your marriage by reversing the process that got you there. In turning our primary energies away from our spouses and toward something or someone else, we make a big mistake. The result is a lack of passion. But once we begin to invest our best back into our marriages, the passion will return.
This is what happened to Karen and me. We were out of love. But out of our wills we made a commitment to give our best back into our marriage — regardless of how we felt. And after a few days of doing this, we were friends again. After a few weeks of it, we were deeply in love and felt a greater passion for each other than ever before. And we have stayed in love for more than forty years by working at our marriage and investing our treasures in each other.
Jesus’ words are true, and they are true for everyone.
Even if your spouse isn’t willing to invest in your marriage at the same level you are, your investment will change your marriage for the better and can redeem your spouse. Passion is contagious and very powerful.
And remember, the best person does the right thing first.
Where are you investing the best of your time, energy, and strengths?
The first answer should be God. The second should be your marriage. The third should be children and family. And if that is the case, it means your passions are all in the right places and you are headed for success in life, love, and eternity. God bless you!
Excerpted with permission from Strengths Based Marriage by Jimmy Evans and Allan Kelsey, copyright Jimmy Evans and Allan Kelsey.
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Where are you investing the best of your time, energy, and strengths? Come share with us on our blog! We want to hear from you about investing in marriage and enjoying friendship and passion with our spouses! ~ Devotionals Daily