by Mort Fertel, for Today's Christian Marriage
It’s not uncommon, in my experience, to hear people question their decisions when it comes to love. After many years of marriage, the thrill of the relationship might have dulled and many couples begin to lose appreciation for one another.
Every relationship has a cycle. Falling in love is the easy part. It isn’t something you have to do, it just happens. Maybe you felt butterflies. Maybe you were nervous around the other person. People often describe the sensation as being “swept off their feet”. Consider the imagery of this situation. You’re standing there, oblivious, and love just happens.
Falling in love is a wonderful, spontaneous experience.
But then, the euphoria fades.
Slowly but surely, the passion and lust die down. It’s a natural symptom of every relationship. Quirks you used to love become annoying. Spending time with the other person becomes irritating. You stop looking forward to seeing them.
Now, if you’re simply dating, you can break up. You can end the relationship without any significant consequences. But marriage is about more than that.
So, when things feel dull, and you feel disconnected from the person you love, you might start asking “did I marry the right person”? You might reflect on the earlier stage of lust and excitement and wish you could experience that with someone else.
This is where a marriage breaks down. People tend to blame their spouses for their unhappiness and they look elsewhere for satisfaction and fulfillment. But the answer here is to look within your marriage for fulfillment rather than elsewhere.
Because even if you did find someone else, and began the cycle all over again, you’d only experience the happiness for the same period of time before falling prey to the same feelings of disillusionment. So here’s where the secret comes in.
The key to marital success is not finding the right person. No. It’s learning to love the person you found.
You can’t “find” lasting love, rather, you “make” it. You actively choose to make love last or it won’t. It will fizzle out and die. No matter who you’re with. No matter how great they are in the beginning. Unless you both commit to each other and put time, energy, and effort into the marriage, it won’t last.
Sustaining love is not a spontaneous, exciting experience. It’s not going to just magically happen. There are certain habits two spouses need to embrace to strengthen the relationship. If you know and apply these habits to your marriage, you can make lasting love happen.
So ultimately, yes, you’ve married the right person. Now, go make your love last a lifetime.