I don’t love you anymore. Could there be more painful words in any language?
It was Mother’s Day 2009 when I heard these words from my husband for the first time.
“I don’t love you anymore,” the words rang around in my head and sucked the air right out of my lungs.
How had our conversation gone to hell so fast? I had so carefully planned what I was going to say trying to not to hurt my husband’s feelings. He was a carpenter at the World Trade Center site and often exhausted. Could that be it? He had been staying at an apartment my family owned in the Bronx four nights a week because of his long commute and even longer hours.
Maybe I should have seen the red flags, but since 9-11, he had been working long hours.
And I trusted him.
Why shouldn’t I have? We held hands every night as we fell asleep and ended every phone conversation with those three little words, “I love you.” We had had a wonderful year and were closer than ever…or so I thought. Ironically, as he was giving me his “I don’t love you anymore” speech, he was also saying that we were closer than ever.
Hearing the words, “I don’t love you anymore” can be hurtful no matter when or how they are uttered, but when someone we love has a sudden change of heart, the shock can be overwhelming. The words, “I don’t love you anymore,” echo in our empty heart, mind, and soul. Like an unrestrained ping pong ball, they bounce off the hollowness inside and threaten to destroy the very fabric of our being.
At this time, it is important to establish an attitude of calm. While this can seem impossible, flying off the handle does nothing to help your situation and can cause your husband to justify his reactions. Try taking a deep breath, thinking before responding, and writing your feelings out and then destroying the paper rather than voicing your panic.
Life can seem out of control, and many deserted spouses experience feelings of worthlessness. It is important to realize that your value does not come from others but from a higher power. God, your Father, knew you before your parents did. Your Lord knew and loved you even before you were conceived; He knew everything you would face and every reaction you would have to what you face – and He still loves you. He still finds value in you.
This love is the one true, perfect, and never-ending love we will ever experience. Do not allow the agony of being abandoned by an imperfect human outshine the loving value of this perfect love freely given to you.
Listen carefully. Search for the positive. Find the hidden whisper of your Lord telling you, “I will always love you.”
Those little words carry so much meaning because, unlike we imperfect humans, God never breaks His promises. HE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. Find comfort in that.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3: 1