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Ask The Good Enough Guy: How Can I Fall Back In Love With My Husband?

Hi, Will. 

When I was younger I made a promise to myself;  I never wanted to get divorced and I meant it. I guess real-life isn’t that simple. I just don’t love my husband anymore. He isn’t as affectionate, he doesn’t take care of me, and he isn’t washing on his days off. I mean, come on…  he’s not washing! It seems everything he does irritates me now and I don’t want to leave because I meant every last word of my marriage vows. He says he still loves me and wants to make this work, but I can’t find the love for him. Is there any way I can fall BACK in love with my husband, or is it over?

All Out of Love

Hey A.O.O.L,

First off, PLEASE understand that I am not a marriage counselor, so take anything I say as an option, not gospel. Secondly, I have never been in your position, so the things I say here are simply what I think, not what I know. And thirdly, I am a guy, so I can’t really tell you how a woman should think or feel about love; men and women are wired differently. Now, after all of my warnings, if you still want to know what I think, here it is:

LOVE IS DAMN HARD WORK: Love at first sight is a crock. They should call it attraction at first sight. It simply means, “Hey, that person turns me on.” And all that, “We fell in love the moment we met” is also a crock. That’s usually infatuation. It simply means, “I can’t stop thinking about this person and they could be the one.” Mix attraction with infatuation, sprinkle in some lust and a couple of gin and tonics and it’s easy to see how two people can meet at a bar, be, “madly in love” by last call, and wake up the next morning, trying to remember each other’s name.

Don’t get me wrong; attraction and infatuation are necessary to get to love but real love isn’t something that people fall into and out of like the ball-pit at Chuck E. Cheese. Love is a verb. It’s something you have to DO everyday, not just on the days you feel like doing it and it’s not for the faint of heart. Only TV love is pink Champagne and orgasms every day. Real love has days with missed showers and vomit and farts that peel the wallpaper. Isn’t it romantic?

LOVE IS JUST THE BEGINNING: “All you need is love.” The Beatles were wrong! That’s possibly why Sir Paul is on his third marriage. As I’ve said before, a marriage is a table with four legs. The legs are love, trust, respect, and communication. As long as all for legs are strong, the table can withstand almost anything, but if you take one away, the whole thing can get unstable. The trick is to know which leg is actually weak and fix it before the table falls.

SO WHAT TO DO NOW? I explained all of this to say I don’t think your marriage has a “love” problem, at least not yet. I think your marriage has a communication problem. You say your husband isn’t as affectionate as he once was which means you still want his affection. If you didn’t love him, you wouldn’t. He’s not showering and that bothers you. If you didn’t still care, you wouldn’t really mind if he showered or not; you’d just stay away from him. The opposite of love is indifference, but you’re not indifferent. Everything he does irritates you because you are angry with him, not because you don’t love him. You don’t feel like he’s taking care of you which means you still want him to do something for you… but what?

There’s definitely a problem and I think you’re angry because he hasn’t fixed it. I think he hasn’t fixed it because he doesn’t know what it is, because you haven’t told him and because you probably don’t know yourself. The lack of affection, the anger over little things (like him missing a shower) and the irritation are symptoms of a bigger problem. To find out what that is, run, don’t walk, to a REAL marriage counselor. I think you really want to save your marriage and counselors do that every day. They can help you get to the root of the problem and teach you how to communicate with each other. I think, when that happens, you’ll find the love was there all along. Good luck to you both and I’ll be praying for you.

More from GEM:

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly; An Unvarnished Look Inside A Real Marriage

Sex And The Sermon: Should A Pastor Talk Like THIS About Sex?

Ask The Good Enough Guy: My Husband’s A Home Wrecker!

William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing. Follow him on Twitter @goodenoughguy1.

10 Comments

  1. Mairo Speaks!

    April 7, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Once again you’ve nailed it. I appreciate the candid advice/opinions you provide. Many folk would have told this woman to move on. Thanks for pushing her to woman up and save her marriage. I pray for the best for them.

  2. Lynda

    April 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Would you ask a 20 year old who has limited life experience for marital advice? Well, if you are staying bc of something you promised yourself at that age and experience, then that is exactly what you are doing. Let go of your images of what you thought your life and marriage were “supposed to be” like and look at how they really are. Only when you look at whether your life as is, today, is working for you can you then decide on a course of action. I would also suggest individual counseling too, which will give you a safe place to talk about your disgust, love, guilt, loss, fears, etc in a non judging arena. You have to figure out what is right for you as an individual before you can figure out if this marriage, or any future relationship, is right for your life. Go and find happiness in whatever form works for you.

  3. Margie

    April 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Could your husband be depressed? The not showering thing could be a sign of depression? Listen to this great advise and “run” to a marriage counselor. Even if you have to go by yourself, you will get some ideas and guidance on what do next and what you are really dealing with.

  4. Whitney Eiland

    April 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Will, I love the table & four legs of marriage, communication seems to be the broken leg in this relationship as in many others including mine at times. It also means we have to take long looks at ourselves too. Good luck to the couple.

  5. Toni Staton Harris

    April 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for this article filled with real talk and real wisdom. No cliches here, just an honest assessment of love and marriage and delineates the fairytale. I’m sharing it wherever I can! I love the line about marriage being a table with four legs! Outstanding!

  6. Jacki Marie

    April 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Imma need to borrow that four legged table thing for a piece I’m writing. (It is genius, by the way). I will show it to you for your approval before publishing. I finally left because I realized that all the legs were gone in my marriage table and I’d been numb(indifferent) for years… My situation was much worse than hers and see hope for her relationship. I hope A.O.O.L. follows your advice. She should show her hubby this article also. Her letter coupled with your advice is all she needs to say to him to get him into counseling. If there really is still any love there, he will want to seek help. Best wishes to you, A.O.O.L.!

  7. Tiffany T

    April 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Hey, hey, hey… Sir Paul would most definitely still be on his first marriage if he hadn’t lost his lovely wife. It’s got to be hard to be an icon & try to find “real love” after having lost it so devastatingly. /rant

    I hope AOOL follows your advice too. I think it’s wonderful to see someone who is so committed to marriage. So many people take the easy way out because their spouse is not catering to THEIR needs anymore. (It needs to go both ways for a marriage to work.)

    It’s very hard work to keep a marriage happy & healthy, but it’s worth every ounce of sweat, tears and flatulence to keep it that way.

  8. m.e. johnson

    April 8, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    People never seem to think they themselves are doing anything that might rankle the other person. As you say, Will, communication and/or counseling would bring things to light.

    She just might be a tad anal. Seems she has mapped out a plan for how marriage is supposed to be and by golly she’s sticking to it. On the other hand, there are times men don’t think they have to wash ‘things’. Where did they get that from? I hope she finds out what message he is sending to her, and that it all works out.

  9. kt moxie

    April 9, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I second the comment to consider whether or not the husband is depressed. Poor hygiene is a big symptom of depression. Marriage counseling is definitely a great idea. But, maybe (again, I’m not a doctor…), she should consider scheduling HIM a doctor’s appointment and describe these behaviors to the doctor. He *might* be in need of some help…

  10. Will Jones

    April 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Mairo- Thanks for the compliment. I’m a hopeless romantic (as I’m sure you can tell by the “vomit and fart” line in my article!) You don’t kill a marriage because it has a broken leg: it’s a table, not a horse!

    Lynda- I agree with you… kinda. You’re right that she can’t live her life according to who she was when she was twenty. But like it or not, once we’re married, we have to decide what is best for our marriage, not just what’s best for us as individuals, and it’s not always the same thing. She made a conscious decision to marry someone, which means she’s not just a “me” anymore; she’s part of a “we.” It’s similar to when we become parents. We no longer get to make decisions based on what is best for us as an individual. You shouldn’t throw away your kids because they aren’t fun anymore, and you can’t throw away your husband because things get a little tough. Like it or not, sometimes you have to put yourself second.

    Margie-That’s a GREAT point. I didn’t mention it because I wrote about it at length in a recent article, but you’re right. Hopefully, they go to get some help. Any counselor worth their salt will pick up on the signs of depression right away.

    Whitney- It’s funny how the four legs are so different and yet so connected. Love is the hardest to find, but luckily it’s the hardest to lose. Trust and/or respect are usually lost by an action that one person purposely commits, which is probably why they are so easily broken and so hard, and sometimes even impossible, to repair. Communication is the one most often lost by accident. We spend so much time with a person that we can begin to assume that we don’t have to actually say the things we think, because they should already know. Luckily, communication is the easiest and quickest to repair (not that we may not still need some professional help.) Thank you for the comment!

    Toni- Well, thank you! Please do share it, and tell folks to come and read it! LOL. The good thing about being a simple-minded guy is that I keep things simple!

    Jacki- I would never call myself a genius, but who am I to argue with a fan! ROTF! I know what you mean about the numb thing though; I have an ex too. I’m still a romantic but I’m also a realist. I think a person should fight as long as they still feel like there’s something to fight for, but once we realize that all we’re doing is going through the motions, it’s time for a change. Thanks for your story.

    Tiffany- I didn’t mean to offend you or Mr. McCartney. I’ve been a Beatles fan forever! And I agree 100% that if he hadn’t lost his number one, there wouldn’t have been a number two or three. It’s the “All you need is love” philosophy that I was arguing with. You’re absolutely right about the other points too. There are far too many people throwing away marriages because the other person can’t make THEM happy. Happiness is something you make for yourself and then share with the people you love; you can’t wait for someone else to make it for you and then bring it to you. Does that make sense? LOL

    M.E. You never fail to make me laugh! LOL. Only you could put “rankle”, “by golly” and “men think they don’t have to wash ‘things’” all in one comment and make it work! I’m SOOOOOO glad you read my stuff!!! ROTF!

    KT- Poor hygiene is indeed a sign of depression, and hopefully one the counselor will spot right away, if that’s the case. But, for a lot of men, poor hygiene is also a sign of laziness, forgetfulness, busyness, complacency, and/or indifference. If the problem is depression, they have a long road ahead of them. If the problem is the simple stuff, she may just need to tell him that he can go sleep with the dog until he stops smelling one. I never really get to know the answers because no one ever writes me back!

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