I sometimes hear from wives who have heard a very difficult truth from their husbands.  He's now claiming that he is no longer in love with her.  But after dropping that bit of bad news, he's assuring her that he's going to stay either because of the children or because of his sense of commitment.  Understandably, this revelation is very troublesome and hurtful to the wife. It's painful to hear your husband tell you that he's not in love with you.  But you also may ask yourself if he's actually going to stay.  After all, will he really stay forever if there is no love?  And if so, for how long?  Who is going to commit to a lifetime of a stale marriage without love?

A common comment is something like: "last night my husband sat me down and told me that he was no longer in love with me.  He said that I haven't really done anything wrong, but he's just fallen out of love.  When I got upset about this, he assured me that he wasn't going to leave me.  He said he made a commitment to me and our children and he is going to honor it.  I find this a little hard to believe.  And since he doesn't have any intention of leaving, why would he tell me this in the first place?  Part of me thinks he's telling me this in order to give me a warning so that I can get used to the idea before he actually leaves.  I just have my doubts that anyone would be willing to stay in a marriage without love for that long.  My children are small.  It will be many years before they are adults.  Is he really going to stay with me?"

Why You Shouldn't Blindly Trust Right Now: I really felt for this wife.  What a huge message and blow for the husband to deliver to her.  Unfortunately, though, I had no way to determine if the husband would stay.  I understood her concern though.  Having this type of commitment to your children is commendable.  But one has to wonder how long this commitment would last once the years started to drag by.  In my opinion, if I were in this situation, I don't think that I would want to depend upon my husband's sense of honor or commitment.  Instead, I would want to strengthen my marriage so that I didn't have to worry about him no longer loving me.  I realize that this probably wouldn't be an easy or short process.  It would likely take a lot of gradual and hard work.  But I would think it's better than to face a lifetime of marriage without any love but with lots of doubt and fear.

The wife wasn't sure if she should inform her husband of any plan to make him fall back in love with her.  That really depends upon how you expect your husband to respond to this information.  If you think that he might tell you not to bother or he may resist your efforts, then you may be better off to just keep this to yourself for a while. (I certainly didn't tell my husband about my own plan, but I did precisely this. You can read that story here.)

The Roundabout Way To Introduce Your Plan: You can be clear on the fact that you're trying to make the best of the situation.  You might tell him that you'd like to improve your relationship to at least make the best of what you already have. You don't have to tell him that you're secretly hoping that this improvement in your relationship is going to lead to a renewal of a love affair, but that doesn't mean that you can't harbor this plan in private while you're working to make things better.

So a suggested response might be something like: "believe it or not, I do appreciate your being honest with me. And I also appreciate your commitment to our family.  I share that commitment so I want to do everything in my power to make our lives together as satisfying as it can be.  I understand that you don't believe that you love me anymore, but that doesn't mean that we can't have a loving relationship.  Can you pinpoint some of the things that are bothering you about our marriage? Is there anything that you can share about what might have contributed to your changing feelings? Is there anything that I might do to make things better?"

Don't Overreact To Your Husband's Response: Your husband may be forthcoming, but it's probably more likely that he will be slow to communicate because he may not want to hurt you and he may not be able to quantify what caused this shift to take place.  Honestly, you don't need all the answers in order to make some improvements.  Luckily, you know that woman who he first fell in love with.  In fact, you know her better than anyone else in the world because she is you.  Often, you will need to do some self-work to determine where you might have lost her.  Yes, children, jobs, and day to day life can dull who we are and cause us to lose pieces of ourselves.  The good news is that often, reclaiming the better version of yourself will often pay some dividends for you as well.  (And your husband could likely stand to revisit himself too.)

Try to make this process pleasurable.  You want to reclaim an exciting and vital part of yourself.  You certainly do not want to beat yourself up or allow this to cause you to lose your self-esteem.  Instead, you want to reclaim it.

But to answer the original concern, I have no way to know if the husband will stay forever.  And I'm not sure that I would want that type of marriage.  I wouldn't want to always know that he was only waiting for the children to become adults before he could be free.  That's why I think I'd try to take advantage of the fact that he was staying for a while and I'd do everything in my power to return the love.

There was a time when my husband was no longer in love with me.  At first, I tried desperate solutions that were beneath me but this only made things worse.  Eventually, I decided to draw on the woman he fell in love with so many years before.  I tried to make the process fun and engaging.  And my old self didn't let me down.  Once the love restored, then it was time to work on the marriage.   If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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