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When You Leave the Altar--Don't Blink!
Joseph Mansfield, LCSW
It is so easy to fall out of love! How do we explain a truly loving couple leaving the altar, and then one day waking up to find their love lost or stagnant? I think it’s because our culture over-emphasizes romance and doesn’t provide us role models and guidance for truly honoring “love in the long run”.
No one is exempt from this syndrome. This is especially true with the arrival of children. I swear, it’s like one day you just blink, and in that instant, the two lovers morph into a “hotel management team”! Some unseen force changes their focus from caring for each other’s hearts into the “hotel function” of providing meals, room cleaning, lawn maintenance etc. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t forget that you love the other person. What it does mean, sadly, is that the initial implied contract of caring for each other’s heart has been nullified by omission. Far too often, the love contract is unalterably broken.
There are usually no villains in these failed couples. Again, it’s just that one day, they blinked and lost focus. The overwhelming momentum of the high speed society and old role models rushed in and filled the vacuum resulting in the habits of active mutual caring becoming lost. This dynamic is downright insidious! How is a spouse to know that while they are doing so many right things, often at extreme personal sacrifice, they are ignoring the protection of the most essential function of the family. For example, if a delivery company finds a big increase in their workload, the first thing they do is to increase the maintenance on their delivery vehicles. So, thus it is. Couples must follow the thread back to where their active honoring of each other went off course. Sure, jobs and kids can be a constant. So is a divorce!