I got married without loving my wife. We have been married for two years. When we were dating, her companionship and friendship seemed to be sufficient for me to come to love her some day; but it hasn’t happened that way. I live frustrated because I didn’t have the courage to back out of getting married before it was too late. We talked about it, but seeing her cry makes me feel that I was a coward to go ahead with the marriage. I would like to be able to love her in return, but I don’t. She can tell and she suffers. It hurts me to see her like this.

Dear Friend,

Love is a very complex and misunderstood word. When I say, “I love you,” I might be talking to my daughter, my sister, my husband, or even my best girlfriend. In each context, the word “love” has a slightly different meaning.

If you have a son someday, do you expect to love him? What if you don’t? What if you never feel a thing toward him? Maybe your answer is that you will love him because he is your son, not because of how you feel.

We don’t always feel love for our children, our siblings, our parents, or even our spouses. But we love them because they are intricately linked to us through relationship. They don’t always make us happy, nor do they always satisfy our needs. Sometimes they can make us frustrated or angry, but we don’t stop loving them. Love is the cord that ties us to them.

You expected to feel some kind of sensation toward your wife. Movies and fairytales set us up so that we expect to feel goose bumps and hear bells ringing. But real life isn’t a movie or a fairytale.

A marriage built on solid friendship and companionship has the potential to be much more rewarding and long lasting than a marriage built on physical attraction or a heightened emotional response. Divorce courts are full of couples that thought that they felt love for one another, only to discover that those feelings didn’t last.

You made a commitment. It doesn’t matter now why you did it or whether it was the right decision. Change your focus from the past to the future. The cords of love and marriage have tied you to a wonderful woman, and you can make a decision to strengthen that relationship rather than constantly doubt it. Show love through your actions, and your feelings will follow. Determine that you will do whatever it takes to make your marriage work.

Did you know that God wants to help you in your marriage and in every other area of your life? He wants to be in a relationship with each one of us, but our sins separate us from Him. So because He loves us, He gave His Son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. When we accept Christ and decide to walk with God, He gives us wisdom and strength for every one of our other relationships.

We wish you well,