Q: “How do you know if you’re falling out of love? I have a career. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. I serve on different committees in the community and at church. I have a parent who needs my attention. I’m juggling a lot, I know, but I handle things very well. My husband, however, says he’s lacking. I will confess: I’d rather spend time doing other things than being with him. He doesn’t irritate me. We don’t argue. I just don’t care to be with him. There’s no one else, but I’m not sure he’s the one either. Honestly, I think I’ve simply outgrown him.
Joyce: Falling out of love can take you places you might not want to grow.
Quite frankly, I believe you have planted yourself in more places than you need to be, at least for the present time. It’s easy to outgrow someone you’re never around, especially when your interests have taken root in other areas. If your husband is the father to the children you’re the mother of, he deserves a shot at preserving the legacy. I would encourage you to try these things first before you take the plunge into your pool of doubt.
- Remember when. Take account of the memories you have with your husband when love was in place. Do they make you smile? Do they soften your heart? Are they exciting and igniting still? If you can answer yes, or even I think so, then you’ve not fallen to the point of not being able to get up and move on to a deeper relationship with your husband.
- Take stock. Evaluate the pros and cons of outgrowing this marriage. But as you’re weighing the inventory, add considerable bulk to what divorce will do to your children. They are truly the ones who take the fall. You are disrupting the home. It will never be again. Your new home will not be their old home. Dad’s new place will never be a comfortable inn. One of you could stay in the home place, but it will never have the feel of coming home again. Home is a state of being. It is the foundation of the house, not the structure itself. There simply isn’t substance to a child once home is taken away. After 32 years of a domestically violent home life, my seven siblings and I felt a huge disconnect when home disappeared, as much as it needed to. So consider it all when you consider your “outgrowth.”
- Cut out something less important. I believe it’s time you reassess your priorities. God. Wife. Mother. Career. Committees. Friends. The order of priority I outlined is actually the way it should go. If your husband is not second in rank and receiving a chunk of your time, how can you expect to sustain your love? Choose the one(s) that should take a back seat to your time, energy, and love. It’s not a hard decision from the lens I’m looking through.
- Create the excitement again. There is still time for you to rediscover the things you love about your husband. It is as much your responsibility as it is his to make love happen! If you need help with that, check out my books Keeping His Pants On…Until He Gets Home and/or Economic Romance: 30 Ways for Lovin’ on a Shoestring Budget. They offer some great ideas for reigniting the love and preserving the legacy that two people began.
- Dismiss the thought. I find the more we convince ourselves of something that sounds exciting for a change of pace, the more inviting it becomes. Once we’ve made the exchange in the mind, it moves quickly to the heart, or vice-versa. Next, the scales go over the eyes and all we can see is “ME.” Consequently, we believe the fallout will all be OK once the dust settles. And while “OK” works for some, there are those who struggle with being simply OK.
- Falling out of love isn’t as easy as it appears. It seems to happen in a flash. Love is something that folks actually have to work really hard to avoid. It does take effort to make love happen. Funny thing, though, when it does happen, it really doesn’t feel like much trouble at all.
Struggling with a relationship issue? Write Joyce Oglesby or listen to The Just Ask Joyce Show, M-F from 3-5pm on WFIA 94.7fm/900am. It’s where real life and family values connect!