How To Save A Loveless Marriage
How We Learned How to Save a Loveless Marriage
Early on in my marriage counseling ministry to distressed (loveless marriages), the Pastors at our church began referring couples in marital crisis to us for marriage counseling. When we first started counseling with these couples, we utilized a marriage counseling approach commonly taught in Masters Level Counselor training programs, referred to as “Cognitive/Behavioral” counseling.
Basically this is a skills-based approach which focuses on improving marriages through enhancing self-understanding, perceptions and relationships skills. The main emphasis being to help couples understand each other better, improve individual perspectives, develop realistic expectations, adjust roles, improve communication, resolve conflicts and solve problems more effectively.
Like most marriage counselors, I thought that if we could help couples improve their skills and knowledge and attitudes in these areas, that their marriages would improve and eventually be saved. I soon came to realize this approach, though it worked with some couples- to some degree, some of the time. We felt the success rate was questionable. Although most counselors and therapists would consider this success rate to be good, in our estimation it was unsatisfactory.
Over the next five years of counseling marriages in crisis, most of them literally on the brink of divorce, we made several crucial discoveries. We listened to couple after couple, and looking closely at the history of their relationships and what we discovered was that they didn’t marry each other because they had good relationship skills, nor because they could communicate well, nor because they were so adept at resolving their conflicts and solving their problems. The one main reason that they married each other was because they were “in love.” Being in love with each other they had a compelling desire to be together, and to spend their lives together.
Fell Out of Love?
Somehow, somewhere along the way, they had lost that feeling of love, and along with the loss of their feelings of love, they had lost their sense of emotional connection to each other. Many, we discovered had actually come to the point where they not only had lost the feelings of love, but along with it had lost the desire to be close to each other or to spend time together. In fact, what we began to see was that one of the main reasons they were having so much trouble communicating with each other, having so many conflicts and arguments, and were unable to solve their problems was the very answer to their so many problems.
They had come to a point in their marriage where they had lost the feeling of love they once had for each other. They felt their marriage was loveless and hence terminal. Having lost the feeling of love for each other, they had also lost their motivation and desire to be close, or to even be together. We found in many cases that couples had fallen into an emotional state of tension and resistance that was causing them to distance themselves from each other. In many instances they had become entirely alienated from each other. In other words we discovered that in order to save a marriage and turn it around, the focus needed to be not on developing relational skills (at least not initially), but rather to help them deal with the emotional aspect of their relationships which were interfering with the feelings of love they once had for each other.
We also came to discover through God’s Word the vital, timeless principles of this working dynamic in God’s design for marriage. In other words, saving a marriage and developing an intimate marriage goes beyond just understanding each other, communicating effectively, and learning better ways to solve problems. In order to turn a marriage around love must be restored, and to keep the marriage strong there must be a sustained vibrant, feeling of love.
And so to make a long story short, we made some crucial discoveries regarding the key dynamics of love in marital relationships – the nuts and bolts of how love works, how it is created, how it is destroyed, and how love and intimacy can be restored and sustained throughout a lifetime. It was through these years of study and trial and error that we discovered the truth about how to restore a marriage by restoring love and how to make a marriage last, by making love last for a lifetime.
So we began to deal with the emotional and bonding aspects of a couples’ relationship rather than just the skills and cognitive aspects. Our focus upon working with couples in distressed marriages changed from helping couples communicate effectively, reduce conflict, and solve problems, to first facilitating a process of healing, restoring their love and emotional connection, and most importantly, equipping them with the tools, skills and know-how to create and sustain that love and an intimate relationship in their marriage.
We began to help couples understand the dynamics of love; when it wanes- as it does in every marriage, or even when it totally disappears as it does in many, how to heal, restore and re-create it. And once restored, what it is that husbands and wives need from each other to keep that feeling of love burning, so that closeness and intimacy can become a day-to-day reality in their relationship.
We began helping couples to heal hearts, remove barriers, put the past behind, and deal with the emotional issues that were hindering their love so that their love and their emotional connection could be restored. We started showing them how to intentionally care for their spouse by meeting their spouse’s most important emotional needs—even when at first they didn’t feel like doing it.
That’s when a turn-around came in our work as we began to see couples heal, restore and renew the love they once had for each other. That’s when we began to see a huge shift in the impact of our work and experience the joy of seeing literally thousands of couples experience restoration in their marriages that they thought and told us could never be possible.
That’s when we began to see unbelievable breakthroughs and countless marriages literally turned around. It became amazing for us to see it and it still is as we see couples in boring, lackluster marriages, rediscover their love, and experience their relationships revitalized. And that’s what we believe and hope this ministry helps you to do. To remove the barriers that may be hindering your love and intimacy, put the past behind, identify your partner’s most important emotional needs and how to meet them, and how to really connect and re-connect with each other and maintain your emotional connection. When you do that, like hundreds of other couples we have worked with, you will find yourselves in love again and growing toward a happy and fulfilling marriage.
In order to do that we must first understand the principal dynamics of love and intimacy that make marriages work successfully. It’s like flying an airplane. Before a pilot can fly a plane properly, have a great flight and avoid a crash, he must first understand basic principles of aerodynamics and the airplanes’ design. Similarly, we’re going to see that without understanding God’s design for marriage and the actual dynamics of love and intimacy we cannot properly navigate our relationship, have a good marriage and avoid a crash. The principles and dynamics for a successful marriage that God gave Adam and Eve in the beginning still work today.
Financial Assistance Available
Subscribe and Get Marriage Saving Tips and Updates
We Are Active Members In:
The American Association of Christian Counselors
The Marriage and Family Counselors Network
Christian Counselors of Texas
The Association of Marriage and Family Ministries
As Seen On TV