Can love grow cold?
There are times when love grows cold and we did not see it coming. Other times, it is not a surprise. Whether it’s your spouse, your sibling, your child, or a friend – you know the feeling when you wake up one morning and realize that love has grown cold. It might only be lukewarm, but it’s no longer burning with desire to be with the other person. The enjoyment is gone. Sometimes the feeling is completely gone. Where once they were the first person you’d call, now they’re the last. That’s how we know when love grows cold.
It’s a simple cause: we have moved away from the flame and away from each other. It’s hard to keep a relationship intact and warm when we don’t see each other, don’t hang with each other, or don’t communicate except for essentials. The little pieces of debris that covered the ground kept accumulating more debris until the wall became big enough to separate and hide us from each other.
What used to be strong, solid, and enduring has lost its strength, it’s luster, and it’s surety because we stepped back or moved away. Sometimes it’s a slow withdrawal, and sometimes it’s a quick jump away from the relationship. No matter how it happened, it’s a sure sign something is wrong when we discover love grown cold.
Sometimes we’re not the one who moved; the other party turned her back and walked out the door. Other times we’ve stepped off the friendship train because the relationship was too difficult, too unsafe, too wearing, or too demanding.
What to do when love grows cold
- Recognize that the flame is gone. Admit it. Don’t make excuses and don’t pretend it’s not what it is.
- Name the cause. Figure out what happened (if you don’t already know).
- Count the cost. Is it safe to rebuild or will the blasts keep coming? Have you healed sufficiently that you can handle rebuilding if the other party is ready? What is your reason for rebuilding? What is necessary to rebuild? How desperately do you want the relationship you once had? Are you willing to give what it takes to fight for – or pay – to get the relationship back? How badly does the other person want you back in his life? What does God want in this relationship?
- Pray. Ask God to show you how to move closer and when. Don’t move ahead of Him, and don’t drag your feet when He tells you to go.
- Obey. Follow His instructions. Get your instructions from the Word. Compare the advice you get from others with the Word. Friends and family can give great advice, but it must harmonize with what God says.
Instructions for action when love grows cold
- Do not repay evil for evil. Even when the other person used or abused you, retaliation is wrong. It gets you nowhere – except to widen the trench between the two of you.
- Next, we are to do what we can – as much as possible – to live peaceably with everyone. What does that mean? Living peaceably does not mean things are swept under the rug, glossed over, or ignored. It does not mean we trust at once. It means we work at finding a path back to each other, and that includes cleaning up the debris from the fractured relationship.
- Living peaceably also means we don’t keep throwing darts or vindicating ourselves. Easier said than done, I know. Sometimes it means letting the relationship go when we’ve done what we can to make restitution or bridge the gap between us.
It takes two to tangle, and it takes two to find restoration. We can be at peace with someone even when they are not at peace with us. Oh, I know that’s easier said than done, – but it’s possible. This I surely know.
This is what Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Carefully consider what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone. Do not avenge yourselves . . . but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.
What is “as much as possible”?
How do we know when we’ve done “as much as possible”?
Have we followed what God told us to do?
- Have we admitted our wrongs, asked forgiveness, and committed to being a person of honor in the future?
- What have we done to attempt to restore what has been broken so that we know for certain if the other party is interested or willing – or not?
- Are we asking God to open opportunities for restoration even when it seems humanly impossible?
- Even if the other party has told you that things must continue as they are, can you trust God to change their heart, and are you praying for such?
- If you’re not ready for restoration, are you asking God to prepare your heart so you can be ready to loosen the boards on the fence that keeps you apart? If God is nudging you, don’t ignore His call.
- Forgiveness does not mean you trust – yet, it is a place to start. Forgiving will warm the icicles that formed around your heart.
We can only move forward when we deal with the past. Redemption is God’s specialty. Love can be revived. It can be restored. Cooperate with God and let Him do what He does best. Then watch cold change to warmth.
Photo attribution: Pixabay.com