Christian friends. Christians in pastoral ministry. Close friends. It breaks our hearts.
As we talked, their seventeen year old daughter asked us a question; a very good question.
“How do people who once loved each other just quit loving?”
She went on to say she always thought love was supposed to last forever.
Like I said, it was a very good question.
Have YOU ever had that same question?
More specifically, have you ever found yourself no longer in love with the person you promised to honor and cherish forever? Have you brushed aside your marriage vows for a walk on the wild side?
Has someone caught your eye; someone other than your covenant partner?
How do people fall out of love?
Maybe it would be better to first discuss how people fall IN love.
No one actually loves another person the first time they meet. There’s no such thing as love at first sight. Sure, there’s the initial “wow, they’re good looking”, and possibly a desire to get to know the good looker better begins to form.
But love isn’t the same as infatuation. The eyes are not the seat of one’s affections. The eyes will send information to the heart and soul, but the heart must decide how it’s going to process that data.
Reinforcing the eyes’ downloads, the other senses join in. Words spoken, the way they are spoken, perfumes worn, soft touches and warm embraces all can solidify the message the heart is receiving…
“It’s true love. This person will make me happy forever.”
But it’s never a feeling. It’s a decision.
That’s a basic description of how a person falls in love. Info is gathered by the senses, filtered through the mind (soul), and judged (decided upon) by the heart.
How does a person fall OUT of love?
First, when their senses aren’t guarded – if their eyes are allowed to see things that stimulate them emotionally (or sexually), they are already running the risk of falling out of love. If someone other than my spouse stimulates me in an area reserved only for true love, I’m in danger.
Even if there’s nothing sexual happening, an emotional bond can be built through conversation alone. “They’re so great to talk with. They understand me, and we have so much in common…”
Next, the allegiance which really belongs to the spouse begins to be shifted to the other person; the one who’s more fun, listens better, looks better, etc.
It can happen slowly, or, if there are other things happening in one’s life such as sexual addiction or troubles already in the marriage, it can happen very quickly.
Then, the mind begins to convince the heart that a change is needed. It presents all the data it’s received to the heart, and like a great used car salesman, sells the idea as a necessity.
The heart becomes deceived.
Inevitably, opportunity is just around the corner for anyone who has yielded this far.
Opportunity to become a slave to an illicit affair.
Falling out of love sounds so innocent, doesn’t it? I mean, the phrase “I just don’t love them anymore” makes it sound as though it can’t be helped.
If that’s true, then no one could ever help falling IN love. So what good would marriage vows serve?
Please examine your life. Are you enjoying the extra attention from someone other than your spouse?
You have a choice. You decide whom you’ll love.
People just don’t fall out of love.
They walk out of it.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 ESV)