Where Did the Love Go?


I have had times when I don’t feel loved by the wonderful person I married. I’m guessing you have, too.
Do you know why this happens? It’s really not sunspots affecting the guys and gals we married. Usually, it has almost nothing to do with how much love they want to offer us.
Remember that story about the fellow who asks for help searching for his dropped key in a dark parking lot? The helper asks, “Where did you drop it?”
“Over there.”
The helper asks, “So, why are you looking here?”
“Because the light’s better.”
If you’re thinking your spouse would take out the trash, fix your favorite meal, praise you to your mother-in-law, initiate sex, remember your anniversary, or put a little more effort into shopping for your birthday if he or she loved you, you are looking where the light is better. And you won’t find love there.
Once upon a long time ago, when I was a freshman in college, my boyfriend of almost two years asked me to ride with him in a cold rain to purchase something he needed for an architecture class. The sun was going down, and I felt the early signs of a cold. I did not want to ride my bicycle in this weather. He said, “If you loved me, you would ride with me.” And in that moment, I knew I never wanted such an awful expectation.
I could have countered with, “If you loved me, you would protect my health.” But I didn’t. I said, “Then I guess I don’t love you.” And it was over. I thought I had loved him well, but I was not willing to do this to prove my love.
Years later, I forgot all this as I kept ruminating on all the things I thought my husband of 13 years should do for me if he loved me. I so wanted to will those keys to show up where I felt comfortable looking. It did not work. I felt unloved, no matter what else he did for me.
Now my mantra is “Expect Love.” Anyone who married you would love to give you some. Those other expectations, those “If you loved me you would _____” expectations, keep us from finding the love we’re offered and make it a lot less fun to love us. We all have a few, the signs of love we simply cannot live without. But the others are making us and those who love us miserable.
Love is endlessly surprising if we are willing to look for it where it can be found, instead of under our favorite street light.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.


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  • Wow Patty…
    Again a great insight into why we are here. Beyond that, we are here to give justice first and get it if we are fortunate and do. Love the looking in the light metaphor, which is easy.Looking in the darkness is inevitable but powerful when we truly assume love.

  • “make it a lot less fun to love us” are words to live by Patty, an excellent principle for marriage. I know that if it is not fun and easy for Tammy to love me, things will be unpleasant and she will grow resentful. The least fun of us are ostracized. It’s the way it has always been. No one wants to deal with difficult people let alone be married to them.

  • What a beautiful post, Patty.
    Love is endlessly surprising. When I have been unhappy in love, I know it is usually some unrealistic expectation I have. I have found that the more I give love, the more I get. I am rather high-strung and am lucky to have found CJ. The last phrase you would use to describe him is high-strung (or perhaps macho man), so we really complement each other.
    Too bad Adam Levine might never know this type of love. Sorry, just thinking about it again! 😉

  • It also surprises me, not in a good way, how difficult it is for me to remember to expect love and not continue looking for it where I feel comfortable looking. Even after 18 months of reading Assume Love posts and having my mind opened to the perspectives of Expect Love and Assume Love, it is hard for me to break away from my old and familiar ways of thinking. Some of these said posts have even hit me in the gut and spoken specifically to me. I think: “That’s it! That’s what I should have been doing all along!” But yet, just this morning, I found myself noticing the negative in a small act of service my husband did instead of the positive. From his point of view, there was probably only positive and no negative in the act. Unfortunately, before thinking, I made a comment which brought the negative out in the open for him to see. I immediately realized what I did and added another comment to add a positive spin to the exchange. But, it would have been better to have not made the first comment at all.
    That being said, every day is a new day. The new perspectives I gain from Assume Love give me a glimpse of a new and wonderful life with my husband. I just have to remember daily to put them into play and “Expect Love.” I expect over time it will get become more of a habit and easier to do so.
    (Patty, now that I have more time available, I hope to comment on a few other posts that have recently spoken to me. I will first address the comment that was left for me on an earlier post.)

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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