What if it gets boring to live with your husband? How to fall in love with your wife again if your first love is far behind? What if you are tired of each other and unhappy together? Love is gone, can it be returned?
These questions are answered by Archpriest Fyodor Borodin, rector of the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian on Maroseyka, Moscow
In my quarter-century of priestly practice, I have never heard from people who have lived most of their lives in marriage that it was easy. But none of them has lamented about these years, although marriage is a long and hard work together. After all, if you do not fight for love, it will be loneliness for two, “life for the sake of children” or forced cohabitation from the inability to leave.
However, it is in our power to prevent this. If, of course, we believe that the Lord gives us a spouse for salvation: the character of a wife or husband is exactly what our soul needs for its growth. And to say “love has gone” means to give yourself permission to betray, to treason.
Therefore, the first and foremost: you must initially trust the Providence of God and realize that your relationship is forever. After all, this is confirmed by the very words of the prayers in the sacrament of the Wedding. And then you begin serious internal work to preserve, cultivate and multiply love.
And for this you need... to communicate. It would seem such a simple thing, but this is what we forget about in the flurry of everyday problems.
Solving them, the spouses sacrifice time that they could spend together, for weeks they do not find a minute to just talk. Gradually, the skill of communication itself disappears, people become uninterested in each other, and this is a signal that love is leaving, that relationship is under threat. But it is the relationship between husband and wife that is the central arch supporting the whole structure of the family. Even a simple shopping trip strengthens a spiritual connection, because one topic for communication inevitably clings to others, deeper ones. And you need to work on establishing and maintaining spiritual communication from the first day of your marriage.
Another extremely important resource, shared prayer, is also neglected by many. But if we are talking about the family as a small Church, then its sacraments should also take place in it. Namely, during shared prayer, there is a mysterious entry of God into the unity of husband and wife and the revival of this unity, if it has been shaken. If children participate in prayer, then the connection with them will be also strengthened.
Moreover, the habit of praying together does not allow you to quarrel for a long time: after all, a person who truly loves God simply cannot stand up for prayer, harboring resentment in their heart. We remember the words of Christ: first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. And the time devoted to prayer, in fact, is this gift.
Try to give, not take
Some say: since I am unhappy in my marriage, maybe there was no love at all? Indeed, falling in love, which everyone recollects with such nostalgia, is only the first stage of love that the Lord gives us. And then you have to work so that feelings become stronger and turn into love. Because love is not just “chemistry”, it is a gift from God. For loyalty, for the desire to preserve and multiply this gift.
Love is the ability not to receive, but to give. And those who can only receive say that “love has dried up” when they stop receiving.
I remember one couple. Their relationship was on the edge. And when I tried to talk about it with the husband, I heard that the wife was to blame for everything. I asked: “When you got married, did you want to make her happy?” And he answered to me in surprise: “What an interesting thought, I never thought about it!” Imagine, a man in his forties, a believer, a churchman, a father of a family...
Do not betray
When the spiritual connection between spouses has almost disappeared, the risk of succumbing to the temptation of adultery, betrayal is especially great. But even at this moment, you can try to restore the broken connection, and not betray your spouse. And the attraction to a stranger must be suppressed at the level of thought.
For a married man, all women except the wife are mothers, sisters, or daughters, and for a married woman, all other men are fathers, brothers, or sons.
It happens that the wife remains faithful, takes care of the family, and the husband begins to cheat, but at the same time says: “I don’t want to destroy my family, but I can’t stop cheating either.” But when his wife files for divorce, he also accuses her of destroying their marriage. Although there are people who simply cannot continue to live together after such a betrayal. And Christ, not allowing divorce, makes an exception for the guilt of adultery; here the decision remains with the betrayed party.
My parents separated when I was twelve years old. Now I am in my sixties, but I still have pain inside me. And I will always have it. Because I remember this universe split in half: I loved both father and mother, and they had to be together, but decided to be apart. But you can't just abandon each other without betraying your children. Although it is the children who suffer the most in such a situation.
A marriage entered into in church is an inexhaustible source. It happens, however, that it goes deep, gets hidden, and it is necessary to make efforts to make it burst out with renewed vigor.
You need to stop looking for flaws in your spouse and look for someone new, thinking about how unhappy you are. Remember: the family is destroyed by selfishness. But if you realize in time that the center of your life is the Lord, and the main purpose is serving each other and children, then in ten years you will remember with horror that you were once on the verge of divorce and could have lost each other.
And be patient and humble. Even if you have the most wonderful life partner and you are passionately in love with him or her, you have to work all the time to preserve this love. After all, the problem is not that the spouses did not match, turned out to be different or not at all those with whom they dreamed of living their whole life. The problem is that they disregarded their marriage. Andmarriage is not a quest to be completed. Marriage is a tree of paradise that must be nurtured and protected.
Christian love moves away from the external, the bodily - through the soul - to the spiritual. People who have lived together for forty - fifty years already, perhaps, do not have a carnal attraction to each other, but they really are the embodiment of the words “both in one flesh”. They are like one person: they speak with the same intonations, they have one view on things and similar thoughts about everything. Can such love really disappear?
And if it seems to you that love is dead, you still try to resurrect it. At the same time, remember: any restoration work is more expensive than construction work, and a remake is always soulless compared to the original. Of course, marriage does not fit into any scheme, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to all problems. But marriage is a great and wonderful creative challenge.