Love and Marriage

A basic principle in counseling is that everyone has a deep desire to feel loved, but we are not satisfied only when we feel loved. In addition, we need to be able to show love to another person. This is why marriage can be simultaneously beautiful and tragic. In a marriage relationship, both partners have deep desires both to love and to be loved, but sometimes it seems as if our spouses are unable–or unwilling–to give the love we want from them or to receive the love that we are desperately trying to offer.

When a husband and wife experience conflict, the problem is often rooted in unspoken, unacknowledged, and unconscious thoughts and feelings about the ways we are attempting to satisfy our individual need to exchange love with another person. At the core, we feel helpless, ashamed, unworthy, and undeserving of love. To avoid these feelings, we engage in behaviors toward a spouse that we hope will make us feel better about ourselves, but when our partners do not notice what we are doing, we become sad, angry, anxious, lonely, and depressed. We begin to ask ourselves questions like these:

— Why doesn’t my husband love me? Does he think that other women are better than I am?

— Why doesn’t my wife appreciate what I do? Can’t she see that I am committed to our marriage?

— Why can’t I ever be happy? Do I have to live the rest of my life trapped in a loveless relationship?

Most of the time, a relationship begins with feelings of bliss. After all, we feel thrilled in those first few days and weeks of a relationship because we believe that someone values who we are. It is our belief that someone loves us and wants to be with us that makes us feel so wonderful in those first few experiences we share with a partner. Over time, though, our spouses discover “who we really are,” and as they learn more about us, we fall back into our fundamental feelings of shame and self-doubt. We return to our basic fear that we are unworthy of love.

At the core, we are all afraid that we are unlovable. A wife may feel that her husband’s inattention is rooted in her own lack of value to him. Meanwhile, her husband may be failing to show his wife attention because he feels that he needs to first work hard to pay the bills in order to earn her love and appreciation. They both want to satisfy their desires to give and receive love, but they experience conflict because they don’t know how to communicate their feelings to one another.

There is a reason God uses marriage as a metaphor for his relationship with humanity. God wants to show us love, and he also wants to receive love from us. Likewise, we want to receive love from God, but we also want to show Him our love. Through marriage, we can learn not only how to share love with another human being, but we can also enter a deeper and more loving relationship with God.

Marriage can be difficult, but an important step in building a successful marriage is to first begin to understand your own value and worthiness. We must first find our value in the eyes of God. When we recognize that God loves us, that He values us, and that He believes that we are good, we begin to find that sharing love with our marriage partner comes more easily.

Husbands, you have value in God’s eyes.

Wives, God finds you to be precious in His sight.

Partners, begin to see your marriage through God’s eyes and allow God to teach you not only how to show love to another person, but more importantly, how to open your heart to receive it.

God created you for the purpose of receiving love.

You are deserving of love.

[If you and your partner could use help learning how to give and receive love, click here to set up an appointment with a Christian counselor].

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