Many people confuse ‘loving’ someone with being ‘in love’. I know that many would claim that they are the same thing. In reality, they are not. You love your parents, your children, and your pet dog, for example – but you’re not ‘in love’ with them. Counselors will often describe being in love as being in lust.
Although we consider lust to have a sexual definition, you can also define it as an intense longing – in this case, an intense longing for a particular person’s company, affection, time and, yes, intimacy as well. As we age, that lust component wanes a little. That doesn’t mean we are no longer in love. In fact, as lust wanes, our loving and caring nature towards that person grows stronger.
A mistake that some couples make is that they want to recapture that ‘in love’ era of their relationship. While it can be done, if you understand the difference between the two, you can concentrate on some of the more important aspects of your relationship. For example, when you say you want to recapture that ‘in love’ period, exactly what do you want to recapture? Is is the sexual side? Fine, that can be worked on, just don’t confuse it with love – you can have an intense sexual relationship without being ‘in love’.
If you are trying to recapture some of the romantic parts of your early relationship, working with a marriage counselor can do that too. Believe me, the maturer side of romance is far more interesting than that experienced in your earlier days.
Rather than focusing on a state of mind called being ‘in love’, focus on what is now important in your relationship – separate the issues, and work on them one by one. Your marriage will be stronger and a lot more enjoyable – and you will still love each other – more and more as each day passes.