As I stood admiring a lovely home the other day I was told that the previous
owners, in their seventies, had split up and were going their separate ways.
How often do we hear of it? Couples who have lived together for most of their
lives, having brought up a family and been through thick and thin together,
deciding that they can’t stand each other any more.
Not only is the change of heart hard to understand but the aftermath of the
break-up must be so painful as to threaten any future happiness. Property
splitting, new family relationships and other changes would hardly be all
sweetness and light.
Sad old Eros
Without a doubt, love,
steadfast and faithful, is a central ingredient in a happy marriage. For all
who’ve ‘been there, done that’, being in love is a joy that
defies description. The real thing seems more heavenly than earthly. But look
at the same pair, once starry-eyed, now bleary-eyed, ten twenty, thirty years
on. Their love, which once seemed like a healthy fruit on a growing vine, is
now a shrivelled up dead thing that is hardly worth talking about.
Break-ups occur most often because couples feel that the joy of being together
has gone. All too often, living under the same roof spells war or boredom or
both. There is little or no expression of affection. They annoy each other for
the most trivial reasons. He is too busy to take an interest in her. As one
writer put it, ‘He works like a horse and she nags.’ When they
think about each other they think in negatives.
Though it sounds
difficult, before it’s too late, couples like this must begin talking
about it to each other. If only an honest sharing of feelings and inner needs
can take place, there is hope. When each knows clearly where the other person
is, a choice must be made. To build the other person up or to tear them down.
Some choose to run away.
By building up, I mean endeavouring to meet the emotional needs of the
partner, to accentuate positive things about them. This will mean a complete
change of tone. Compliments instead of insults, appreciation instead of
criticism and sympathy instead of bitterness. This kind of soil encourages
love to grow once more. The old days of courting, wooing and winning must
begin again for the husband. The days of responding, admiring and accepting
must return for the wife.
Yes, it is a choice. Some use
‘I no longer love Jim’ as an excuse to back away, as if loving was
just a feeling you had like feeling sick or feeling well. More accurately, we
choose to concern ourselves about another’s welfare or we choose not
In the Bible, we read that Jesus commanded His followers to love, not with
natural love alone but with the divine love, agape. This is the love that
brought Jesus here to die for us. This did not happen because of our
lovableness but despite our lack of it. His is a love that never lets go, that
aims to bless. By knowing and trusting in Him, our love can be like His.