Do you find that you do not love, i.e., feel the same way about your spouse as you did when you were newly married?  I’ll bet you don’t feel the same way about your spouse as you did months or especially years ago. Something started to happen after the wedding day that you did not anticipate.  Your feelings began to change the more you spent time with each other and the more you got to know the person you now call spouse.  In addition to that, the novelty of being newlyweds and the many hopes and dreams that you shared, began to fade shortly after the wedding day, and as you became more familiar with each other with regards to responsibilities such as housekeeping, motivation, finances, health, etc.

Something that you hadn’t seen in or didn’t want to acknowledge about your spouse before the wedding day is now affecting the way you feel about him or her.  This typically happens in the phase of marriage called the disillusionment phase, where reality starts to set in and you begin to notice or admit what you deem as shortcomings in your spouse. In some marriages, the disillusionment phase is the beginning of the end of the relationship, which makes understanding and overcoming this phase of the marriage very important to its longevity.

Your feelings are typically influenced by how you perceive your spouse operating in normal everyday circumstances, and how the effect of those things affect you.  The days, months, and years after the wedding day is a period of discovery of the internal workings of your spouse so to speak. Those feelings can become so bad that some people decide to separate or divorce while others stay together but become increasingly miserable within their union.  However, there are others that overcome the discovery period and thrive in their relationship because they do not allow the perceived shortcomings of their spouse to produce ill feelings towards them.  They instead, resolve those issues and move productively into the phase of marriage called the resolution phase.

So, what should we do if we find that the way we feel about our spouse today is worse than how we felt about him or her in the beginning?  What should we do if we have bad feelings about our spouse and really don’t find joy or pleasure in their company?  The answer is simple, resolution.  First, you must communicate with your spouse and share how you feel in a respectful manner.  What you have to say may be hard for your spouse to receive, and you should consider that your ill feelings towards him or her are your perception and interpretation of things, and therefore may not be real.  Secondly, you must learn to manage your feelings and not allow them to dictate how you treat or interact with your spouse, since feelings are unreliable at best, and biased towards our own ego.

Resolution will bring understanding and compromise into the relationship, resulting in a disposition to have good feelings instead of bad feelings towards your spouse.  However, if you do not communicate, no resolution, compromise, or understanding can be realized.  So, talk to your spouse honestly, in a respectful manner, about how you feel.  Similarly, don’t allow your feelings to be hurt if your spouse expresses his or her feelings towards you.  The fact that he or she is expressing these things to you is a wonderful sign that he or she cares about the relationship and desires for it to be better.

Another important thing to do, which can be difficult since we are so used to being moved by our feelings, is to determine how we will feel about our spouse and move towards that, and do not allow our feelings to control us with regards to how we interact with him or her.  We tend to feel a certain way about people depending on how they treat us and the interpretation of our experiences with them.  However, we do not have to interpret what our spouse does in a negative manner, but instead, consider that we may be misunderstanding an action or that our own biases and ego is causing us to misinterpret what our spouse did.  We are sometimes, perhaps many times, too quick to see things from a negative perspective, because we think that we are always right.

One of the things that I learned to do very early in my marriage, which I learned from Dr. Miles Monroe many years ago, was to act based on what is best for the relationship, and not based on how I felt. For example, sometimes you may not feel like hugging your wife or husband, but you do it anyway, because it is best for the relationship.  Dr. Miles Monroe said that we sometimes must do things in marriage that are motivated by knowledge, not feelings. This will enable you to control how you feel about your spouse instead of allowing unreliable feelings to control you and negatively affect your relationship.

Pray to God for wisdom regarding your marriage relationship.  Sometimes we are so into ourselves, that we do not see our spouse in the proper context.  We tend to see things and interpret things based on the assumption that our spouse should operate according to the protocols of our own personal world.  That methodology won’t work well in any relationship.  We must learn to see the new universe formed by two worlds coming together, that is, the individual lives of the husband and wife coming together to form the union called, marriage.  Only then can our feelings towards our spouse be more in line with truth and not feelings, which are unreliable anyway.

Another thing that I have learned from others is that we can control how we feel, and therefore, we can decide that we will feel good about our spouse and base our actions on that vision, so to speak. This will cause us to behave and act in a certain way towards our spouse, that causes a kind of reciprocative response from him or her (as it would with any human being).  Basically, treat your spouse as if you have good feelings towards him or her, instead of bad feelings, and your spouse will tend to treat you well too.  This will manifest the actual feelings that you desire, and thus improve your marriage relationship.

So instead of passively allowing your feelings to be controlled by the perceptions and interpretations of what your spouse does, decide how you want to feel, communicate with your spouse, and treat him or her as if you already have those good feelings.  Pursue resolution in your relationship to protect it from ill feelings and ultimately resentment leading to separation or divorce.  Resolve issues within your marriage and allow it to prosper. A good illustration of this is a homeowner who takes care to remove new weeds from his lawn, instead of allowing them to grow and destroy the lawn.  It is better to pull the weeds up when they are a seedling than to wait until they are well established menaces of your lawn.  Likewise, learn to resolve issues quickly within your marriage relationship so that it is free to grow into a very strong and happy marriage.

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