How to Love The Spouse You Don’t Really Like

Some days, I don’t like my husband, and I guarantee you he feels the same way about me. So what do you do when you don’t feel the “lovey” feelings toward the person you married?

How to Love The Spouse You Don't Really Like - LindseyMBell

Keith and I have been married for thirteen years now. Though many of these years have been pleasant, a handful of them have been—how should I put it—less than perfect.

Blame it on Hollywood or romantic books or even fairy tales like Cinderella, but for whatever reason, we assume that nothing but marital bliss follows the wedding day.

“And they lived happily ever after” is a phrase we expect to prove true in our lives.

Most marriages fail, I believe, because we never learn to stop expecting things.

We assume someone else will meet our expectations…someone else will be able to do for us what our spouses can’t.

Herein lies the problem. No one has a perfect marriage. Romantic comedies and books and fairy tales are just that—fairy tales. They’re not reality.

Reality is this: marriage is hard work. It’s not always fun. The sex isn’t always passionate, the fights sometimes flare up daily, and the romance rarely lasts past the honeymoon.

Some days, you’re not going to like your spouse. Plain and simple.

If this is you today, here are a few tips that might help you love the spouse you don’t really like.

How to Love the Spouse You Don’t Really Like:

1.    Think about why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place.

Even better, list the reasons. Maybe even share the list with your spouse. Focusing on the positive can go a long way in helping you feel those “lovey” feelings again.

2.    Get rid of your expectations.

Expectations are poison to a marriage.

Love your spouse for who he is, not who you expect him to be.

3.    Forget about feeling in love.

Instead, choose to love your spouse regardless of how you feel. Choose to serve him or her. Choose to put his or her needs above your own. Choose to think about him or her instead of about yourself.

4.    Every day this week, do something nice for him/her, even if you don’t really want to.

This is the premise behind The Love Dare. When you dare to do loving things for your spouse (regardless of what they are doing), you might begin to feel love towards them too.

5.    Stop filling your mind with unrealistic pictures of marriage.

Choose your entertainment wisely. If a book you’re reading or a TV show you’re watching makes you long for something (or someone) different, put it down and walk away.

6.    Pray for your spouse daily.

Ask the Lord to give you the feelings of love you once had. It might not happen immediately, but if you do these things on a regular basis, it will happen with time.

What else would you add to this list? How do you love your spouse when you’re not “feeling the love”? 

*This post was originally published in 2012. It has been updated.

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  1. Pingback: Your One-Stop-Spot for Posts on Marriage, Parenting, Faith and More | Lindsey Bell: Faith and Family

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  3. So true! And because our expectations are completely unrealistic (and often unspoken), our spouse can't hope to meet them. Thanks for linking up to Wifey Wednesday!

  4. You said it perfectly. I've often told people that my 35-year marriage has only survived by the grace of God and our commitment to the vows we made to Him, and not one another. We built a firm foundation early on by surrounding our marriage and family with like-minded believers. These friends and mentors held us accountable, prayed for us, and spoke words of wisdom. I've watched many a marriage fall apart because of the influences of negative companions.

  5. Love it Lindsey! So true! I find as we age our marriage is better and better. Not because it is smokin hot passion all the time, but because we laugh more and enjoy each other more. We are learning what true love really is, putting God first makes being each others second awesome!. Eva