Have you ever heard that statement, or even said it? These words, "I don't love him/her anymore," are our way of saying that the thrill is gone. The emotion has disappeared and the feelings have died. It is our confession that a relationship we once valued may, very well, be over. But maybe there is still hope.
I wrote a few years ago about this topic and was recently reminded of the power that lies in our decisions. Stephen Covey once wrote, "Between the stimulus and the response, there is a choice." This fact is never truer than in a relationship. However, relationships can be the last place where we consider the difference between our actions and our feelings. We can become so used to the concept of love at first sight, warm feelings, and romantic dinners that we miss the cause and effect. Love can be felt as affection, but love is expressed as an action.
When we expect others to love us, but fail to act in loving ways, we set ourselves up for frustration and disappointment. James Taylor reminded his generation to, "Shower the people you love with love. Show them the way you feel." This is not an abstract concept. It is as practical as cards, flowers, thoughtful words, considerate gifts and kind thoughts. If we expect loving feelings, we cannot withhold loving actions. This is what makes people love you and think kindly of you. Think with me. Who do you like the most in your life? Usually it is the person or people who act the most kindly towards you. They are considerate of your feelings. They give you their time and probably speak words of encouragement to you. If we realize this truth when it comes to our needs, we would be crazy to think that others in our life are different.
What friendship or relationship has lost its spark? Could it be a result of too little loving? By that, I mean, too little kind action. What would happen if we looked at the statement above as an admission of guilt? When we said, "I don't love her anymore," we realized that meant, "I don't act loving toward her anymore." Ouch! That would hurt our feelings, but it sure would show us where to start. Instead of putting the blame on her, or them, or others, the fault would lay squarely in our court. This principle has the power to fix estranged marriages and torn friendships alike. Will you act on it?