Discontentment | You haven't fallen out of love


"Don't confuse discontentment with falling out of love. Being discontent means there's an issue that can be fixed and worked on. Falling out of love means you've chose to give up, you've chosen to withhold your love." [A Godly Marriage in an Ungodly World]

I often hear people say "I just don't love him/her anymore" or "I've fallen out of love with them", when referring to their spouse. In fact, one of the biggest excuses when it comes to divorce is that a couple has "grown apart" or  have "fallen out of love". 


Love is often referred to as a feeling or emotion, and that isn't completely inaccurate. However, we often forget that love is also an act, a choice. You choose to love or not to love a person -- you choose who you love more than another. And often, in almost every relationship, you will withhold your love from that person at some point or another. You will feel as though you don't love them as much as you use to. But does that mean you've fallen "out of love" with them? Absolutely not. 

Often in marriages and relationships we are discontent with a situation, tone, argument, act, or inaction. We get bored, angry and sometimes hurt and sad. These things are all emotions, but they are also choices. Everything that you do is a choice. Your emotions will ride on other people's emotions, but you choose to allow your emotions to go wherever they please. Being discontent is not the same as "falling out of love", because you simply cannot fall out of love, you must choose to withhold your love from someone. You can, however, be extremely discontent with and in a relationship. Maybe it's because your spouse doesn't hold you like you want them to, maybe they don't want similar things as you, maybe they said something hurtful, or maybe your life just isn't where you thought it would be right now. Maybe you feel like you need a change, a difference in pace. Or maybe you feel as though sin and temptation are creeping into your life and you don't want to deal with your sin/temptations properly. Many things can lead to discontentment, but we need to recognize these emotions and choices that we are dealing with and/or making before we severely hurt our marriage and our spouse.

Comparison is one of our society's greatest downfalls and I truly believe it is one of the biggest culprits of causing husbands and wives to be discontent. In today's society we allow ourselves to fall into temptations that aren't instantly recognized, such as comparing and/or lusting after people and relationships in movies, books, tv shows, various actors/actresses, magazines, and the fashion industry. There are also more recognizable things such as pornography and  the start of an improper relationship (flirting) with someone other than your husband/wife. Wives, especially, often fall into 'day dreaming' or unknowingly wishing they had a relationship (be it simply a better relationship or a fantasy one) similar to those that they've seen in a movie, in their favorite tv show or have read in a book. 
"When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." [James 1:13-15 NIV]

Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed -- then desire is conceived and our sin gives birth to death. Nothing good comes from being discontent, in fact, you could say that being discontent is sinful. Why? Because being discontent leads to temptation and sinful thoughts and, as an end result, if not recognized in time, it will inevitably lead to death -- death in your relationship, death in your love, death in your marriage.

So, what do you do with this emotion of being discontent once you recognize it? 

Some might find it simple to come back from. Many will make the decision to 'change' their perspective and attitude in life, and that will be their cure. They will recognize the things in their life that are causing the discontent and are strong enough to move away from it. We will most likely experience various ruts of being discontent, but if we can apply Christ like character to our every day life, we can conquer it!

However, other's may not find discontentment as easy to bounce back from.

In this case, here are some steps to take to get you back on the right track:

Pray, daily! Paul delighted in his weaknesses because he knew that when he was at his weakest, God could be at His strongest in Paul's life. Lean on God, pray daily, repent daily. Ask Him to strengthen you and to help you conquer the discontentment in your life. Pray that Christ will show you the things in your life that are causing you to be discontent. If they are issues with your spouse, take time to pray about them and pray that God would change your heart about the situation. If it is an object or a situation/relationship in which you are comparing your relationship or life with someone else's (whether in real life or fantasy), pray that your heart would be calmed and your mind would be stripped away from any and all sinful thoughts, recognizable and unrecognizable to you.

Confront your spouse. If you find that your discontentment is partially with your spouse (I say partially, because in many cases this isn't the only cause), then plan a quiet evening in with your spouse (after the kids are in bed, if you are a parent), and speak to him/her from your heart. Do not belittle or judge, simply tell them what is bothering you and ask if there is anything you could do to make your marriage better. Don't place all of the blame on your spouse, but do convey your feelings in humility and love.

Detach yourself, completely. Chances are, if you sit down and take a long hard look at your life, you'll immediately be able to pin point several things in your life that need to be out of your life. We are all tempted by different things in our lives, some of us are stronger than others when it comes to comparison or relationships. But the bottom line is that in many cases we know that what we are watching on tv or saying to a 'friend' or someone who isn't our husband/wife are wrong and will only send us into a deeper sinful relationship of the mind or emotions. Detach yourself  from the tv, the book, the movie series, or the real life person (ungodly relationship) in your life that is causing you to compare or day dream about the "what if's" or "why isn't our relationship this way". In some cases, your day dreams about that person or relationship isn't even a healthy relationship in your mind! You might find that the only way to detach yourself from these things is through much prayer and possibly even going as far as having an accountability partner who can help keep you on track (a close Godly friend of the same gender or your spouse). IMPORTANT: even if you do find that you can detach yourself away from these things, do not assume that once you've not been tempted by them for awhile that you will not be tempted by them again. If you find yourself being detached from them for several months, and then decide to entice yourself in them once again, your outcome will most like not be any different than it was before, however, it will make it harder  to come back from each time. In other words, you don't ask a person who's an ex-alcoholic to go to a bar, or ask an ex-smoker to sit in the smoking area of a restaurant.

If you are comparing your marriage to someone else's marriage, such as a friend or family member, then you don't need to detach yourself from that person, but you do need to start concentrating more on your relationship with God and your spouse. The time that you waste comparing your marriage to your best friend or family member's marriage is time that you could be putting into your own marriage. Every marriage has ups and downs, no one's marriage is perfect. Stop comparing!

Read the word, daily! Not only should you be praying daily, but you should be diving into the word of God every single day, whether you want to or not.  You can read more here about reading God's word every day and things that can make it easier. His word is soothing to our heart, even when we don't think we're getting anything out of it. You might also consider placing scriptures through out your home, in picture frames, wall art, or with open bibles on shelves. You can read more about door scriptures and scriptures in your home by clicking here.

Choose your emotions, choose to love. Plain and simple. Pay attention to your attitude, character traits, emotions, and reactions to your spouse and others. Learn to control them and learn to change them into the proper reactions and emotions, into the proper Christ like attitude. The more you learn to recognize your feelings, the easier it will become to hold your tongue or react in love, by choosing love.

Make time for intimacy. I recently posted an article on facebook how important sex/intimacy is in marriage. It is a key player to a happy marriage and helps keep us from temptations. I urge all of you to read it, click here for the article. If nothing else, I completely agree with the following excerpt from the article:

"The very first night of our conference, the first session is called "Four Play: the Foundation for God Sex" ... In Gen. 1:26-28, the first purpose: procreation, to reproduce the image of God on the face of the earth through a married couple; number two: consummation, Gen. 2:24, that you would become one flesh; and then number three: recreation, Proverbs 5:15-20; and then number four: protection, 1 Cor. 7:5.

Potentially, maybe one of the most critical is protection because God is basically telling the married couples of the Bible that you ought to engage in a healthy sex life as a couple so that you will not be tempted by Satan due to a lack of self-control.
Many people don't realize that sex is actually an issue of warfare, because the devil knows that God is trying to reproduce His image through procreation, the original purpose, and to raise up godly offspring. That's why I believe that the enemy has the issue under such attack from the very beginning of the Bible. So as a result, the man [starts] living according to his own sexual agenda, versus God's biblical blueprint. You begin to see a falling away from what God had intended in terms of the act of sex.
I think that those four purposes are critical. The Bible says that you ought to come back together again so that Satan will not tempt you due to your lack of self-control. So Satan is just as interested in the bedroom as God is, and we as a church need to find out who's winning. I think that it ought to be God winning based on the fact that He's manufactured it, but a lot of times it looks like Satan has an upper hand because the church has not spoken and taught well. We have not renewed people's minds in this area so that they can make wise decisions."

In the end, make sure that you and your spouse are spending quality time together every single day. If that means staying up until midnight after your work is done and the kids are in bed, so be it. Make sure you spend time with your spouse, face to face, every single day. Really sitting down and talking with them -- asking about their day, talking to them about your day and showing a genuine interest in their life as your spouse and as an individual with their own struggles and emotions. Making quality and quantity time for and with your spouse instead of picking up that book or facebook stalking your best friend will make all the difference.

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