Love is too often linked to emotion, not to action. When we ask ourselves whether we are still in love, we end up wondering if we still have the emotional connection to the other person. Unfortunately, even the action of questioning leads to more doubt, not less. When we raise the question, we begin to ponder the question. When we ponder the question, we can often create the answer we want.
So, instead of asking whether we love our spouse, it is much more useful to begin treating our spouse as if we do love him or her. As we treat someone “as if”, we often find the emotions that once felt lacking, to be returning. The question needs to shift from “do I still love (emotion) him/her?” to “how do I love (action) him/her?”
The simple task of asking this question shifts our perspective. When our perspective shifts, the relationship shifts. The art of improving a relationship is usually a shift in perspective. Rarely do people “work” themselves to a better place. Instead, we shift there.
Ask the question, “What can I do to show my love?” And here is the difficult part: we rarely have the best way of showing the other our love. Our actions usually come from an understanding of what lets us know that we are loved. And here, the specifics run up against the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” For this point, it may be rephrased: “Show love to others as THEY wish to have love shown.”
We all have different ways of feeling loved and feeling accepted. The problem is that we usually assume the way we feel love is also the case for others. There are many, many ways to show and be shown love.
Some find love in words, others in touch, others in deeds, and still others in gifts. Within those broad means, there are many specifics. Our task, as lovers, is to discover how the other yearns to be loved. This is the learning task of any successful relationship. Discover that and you discover the deepest yearnings of a spouse.