Save Your Marriage

I DON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE

A Classic Case of Hit-And-Run - What "I Don't Love You" Really Means Read the first chapter of Dr. Clarke's book, I Don't Love You Anymore.

You're walking alone in your neighborhood on a beautiful, sunny afternoon.  The sun is warm,
the flowers are blooming, and the breeze feels good.  You feel confident, secure, and safe. 
Suddenly, you hear behind you the sound of an engine revving and wheels squealing.  You turn
and see with horror a car hurtling down the quiet street right at you.  It must be going seventy
miles an hour!  You're in the middle of the road, and there's nothing you can do.  There just
isn't time.  Just before impact, you notice it's one of your cars and your husband(or wife)is
behind the wheel!

The car slams into you with a sickening crunch and you flip into the air, smashing into the
windshield and then crashing to the pavement in a heap.  With your face pressed to the gritty
tarmac, you watch the car scream around the corner and disappear from sight. 
You're stunned, dazed, bleeding, and confused.  As you lie there, all twisted and broken,
questions flood your mind:  What happened?  Was that really my husband?  Why would he run
me over?  Why won't he stop and come back?  There must be some mistake!  What do I do
now?

No, there's no mistake.  That was your husband, and he meant to run you over.  He's not going
to stop.  He's not going to say he's sorry.  In fact, he thinks he had every right to run you over. 
I know that was a pretty graphic story, but this scene is a pretty good description of what it's
like to hear from your spouse's lips:  "I don't love you anymore."  Maybe he hasn't said these
exact words to you, but his behavior screams out that he doesn't love you.  He has run you
over, and you don't even know why.  The reasons he gives you make sense to him, but not to
you.  You've got to get up, get off that road, and get moving.  You need to bind your wounds,
protect yourself, and pull your life together. 

I want to be perfectly clear on something right up front.  Throughout this book, I refer to the
husband as the one who is the adulterer or involved in some other significant sin.  The only
reason for this is to avoid the awkward switching back and forth between the masculine and
feminine pronouns:  he/she, him/her.  Obviously, the wife could be the one who says, "I don't
love you anymore," and is sinning. 

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS;  THE PARTY'S OVER

First of all, you must understand exactly what "I don't love you anymore" means.  It does not
mean any of these things: 

   "I'm unhappy, but I still want our marriage to work."
   "I want to get my love for you back."
   "If we get some help, maybe we can save the relationship."
   "I'm confused and not sure what I want."
   "If you make some changes, I think we'll be okay."

There are no ifs, maybe's, or we'll see's about it.  It is not a cry for help.  It is a cry of finality.  It
is a slamming door. 

Here's what "I don't love you anymore" really and truly means:

  "I've had it with you and our marriage."
   "Our marriage is over."
   "I've thought this through very carefully and I'm not changing my mind."
   "I have a plan of escape mapped out and I'm going to follow it."
   "I am divorcing you."

He's not kidding. He's not trying to get your attention. He has decided to get out of the
marriage.  Period.  In a high percentage of cases, he also has found someone else he'd rather be
with. 

As I explain the tough-as-nails approach they must take in response to an unloving husband,
many of my female clients say,  "But if I'm too tough, I'll scare him off!"  My response is always
the same:  "You can't scare him off because he's already gone."  These clients desperately want
to believe he's teetering on the fence.  He's not.  He jumped off the fence and is five
neighborhoods away.

Oh, he may act confused and all torn up inside.  Don't buy it.   A lot of these husbands ought to
receive Oscars for their "this really hurts me" performances.  The pain you see is either fake, or
just the last few gasps of guilt for what he's going to do.  The guilt won't stop him.  All he's
worried about now is how to get away from you with the least amount of damage to his
reputation and bank account. 

WHERE'S THE COMMITMENT?

The second unpleasant reality is the state of marriage.  American society used to value highly
the institution of marriage.  People revered it as one of the pillars upon which this country was
based.  When you got married, you were expected, by practically everybody, to stay married. 
There was a tremendous amount of healthy social pressure-from government, church,
business, media, school, neighborhood, friends, and family-to work through the tough times
and remain husband and wife.  Unless you had an extremely good reason, divorce was not an
option. 

Oh, how the times have changed.  In the 1960s, society's commitment to marriage began to
erode.  In the 1970s and 1980s, this erosion became a landslide.  We now stand at a point in
American history where there is no commitment at all in secular culture to lifelong marriage. 
Zero.  Zilch.  The value of marriage has been buried under an avalanche of secular excuses,
rationalizations, New Age psychobabble, and selfish lusts.  

Marriage has become another casualty of the world system.  More accurately, Satan's system. 
We did not heed God's warning in I John 2: 15-17: 

   Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of
   the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the
   eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  And the
   world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.

Marriage has gone from being a permanent and essential home fixture to a temporary
convenience.  It's like an appliance-the refrigerator, the stove, or the dishwasher.  As long as it
works and meets your needs, fine.  When it begins to break down and give you trouble, just get
rid of it and get a new one.

Divorce used to be the last and worst alternative to continuing in a troubled marriage.  Now it is
considered the first and best alternative.  Every single divorce has the world system seal of
approval on it.  The message trumpets from every corner of society:  "If you're in pain, in
conflict, or just not in love anymore, then get out of the marriage and get out quickly while
you're still young enough to attract another partner.  You're only going to live eighty years, so
you might as well be happy.  You're a fool if you stay!"

There's still plenty of support for marriages in the church.  Wherever God's Word, the Bible, is
faithfully taught, there will be Christians who will help you in your time of crisis.  They'll
genuinely want you and your spouse to stay together.  They may not give you the best advice in
the world.  They may not have the guts to confront your husband, but at least you will benefit
from their love and encouragement. 

Unfortunately, the church will have little influence on your husband.  By definition, he has
rejected God and isn't interested in church or spiritual things.  Oh, he may continue to play
church, but the truth is, he has chosen to be sucked into the world and its beliefs.  And the
world says to him, "Welcome home!  It's great to have you back.  You're doing the right thing
by getting rid of your marriage.  Look at all the fun activities available to you."  It's music to his
old nature ears. 

I'm not telling you this to discourage you.  I just want you to realize that you can't depend on
society, or even your church, to change your husband.  It's going to be up to you.  With God's
help, and backed up by a very small band of loyal supporters, you can take action. 

I'M MARRIED TO AN ALIEN

The third truth you must come to grips with is the most painful one:  this is not the person you
married.  Your loving, kind, and loyal spouse is gone.  In his place is this stranger.  You've never
met this person.  If you didn't know better, you'd say an alien has taken over the mind and
body of your husband.  And this alien is not nice. 

Your new husband is cold, mean, devious, manipulative, and 100 percent selfish.  He has no
sympathy or compassion.  He couldn't care less what you think and feel.  His determination to
meet his selfish needs is destroying your marriage, your family, and your dreams.  You can't
believe how he looks at you or how he treats you.  Is this man the same person you married? 
No, he is not.  And the sooner you realize this, the better off you and your marriage will be. 
A huge part of your denial is thinking you're still dealing with your same old husband.  Here are
some of the favorite excuses(and my responses)from women who think they're living with the
man they married: 

CLIENT:  I think he really wants to save the marriage. 

ME:  No, he doesn't.  He wants to end it. 

CLIENT:  He's so stressed at work lately . . . maybe that's it. 

ME:  We're all stressed at work.  Stress doesn't cause what you're seeing.  I'm stressed at work,
too, but I'm not walking out on my wife.  He's walking out on you because he wants to.

CLIENT:  He's confused. 

ME:  No, he's not.  He knows exactly what he wants. 

CLIENT:  He's still living with me, though.  Surely, that's a good sign.

ME:  That means nothing.  It's cheaper and more convenient than a hotel or apartment.  He's
only using your home as his temporary headquarters.  He has planned his escape, believe me.

CLIENT:  This is just not like him!  This is my fault!  I must have made some mistakes to cause
him to act this way. 

ME:  Stop beating yourself up.  This is all about him, not you.  It's his fault for turning his back
on you and God.  I'm sure you haven't been a perfect wife, but that's no excuse for the sinful
choices he's making. 

As a clinical psychologist who's seen hundreds of couples in therapy, I've had a lot of
experience with husbands(and wives)who have become aliens.  I've talked to them.  I've looked
into their eyes.  I've heard their rationalizations, distortions, and lies.  They're in their own little
worlds, their own little private realities.  Satan has fooled them into believing that what they're
doing is right.  The trouble is, they don't know it.  They are completely deceived, and no one can
convince them that the path they're on will destroy them.  They just don't get it. 

The spouse who wants out has a very clear, very carefully planned agenda.  He wants to retain
the upper hand and stay in control of your relationship.  By keeping you confused and
emotionally distraught, he feels better about himself and what he is doing.  Your ragged ups
and downs and feeble efforts to win him back confirm that divorce is the only option.  I mean,
why would anyone want to stay with a pathetic basket case like you?

He will assure you of his deep regret for the pain he is putting you through:  "Honey, I'm sorry
this is happening.  I feel terrible seeing you so miserable."  Baloney!  Most of the time he wants
you to be in pain.  The more depressed and weak you are, the better divorce deal he is going to
get.  You're thinking only of saving the marriage, and he is adding up dollars and cents!  I've
known plenty of persons who meticulously plotted to overwhelm their spouses so they could
win custody of the kids. 

Even if he actually does feel your pain, that's no comfort.  He is still causing you terrible pain,
and he has no intention of stopping.

The real skill is in smashing the spouse to bits without seeming to do so.  Some are brazen and
crude about it, but most are clever and subtle.  One of the classic techniques is the "let's be
friends" approach to divorce.   He sadly admits that he doesn't love you and the marriage has to
end, but that's no reason why you can't be friends.  He wants you to agree that you both tried,
but your marriage just didn't make it.  If you play along and act like a real chum, he comes out
smelling like a rose!  You have legitimized your own divorce. 

Grasping these three harsh realities will help propel you past your denial, bewilderment, and
pain.  By the time your partner runs you over, you are way behind in the race to salvage your
marriage and family.  You've got to catch up and make an impact on your overconfident,
determined, and possibly soon-to-be ex-spouse.  You can do it with a series of decisive steps. 
What kind of steps?  Read on. 

I Don't Love You AnymoreI Don't Love You Anymore
David Clarke
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