Editor's note: This article was originally published on Lindsey Bell's blog. It has been republished here with permission.
I have to be honest with you. Some days, I don't like my husband, and I guarantee you he feels the same way about me. We've been married for almost eight years now. Though many of these years have been pleasant, a handful of them have been - how should I put it - less than perfect.
Blame it on Hollywood or romantic books or even fairytales like Cinderella, but for whatever reason, we assume that nothing but marital bliss follows the wedding day. "And they lived happily ever after" is a phrase we expect to prove true in our lives. We expect the fights to be few and far between. And we expect the romance to continue long after we say, "I do."
Most marriages fail, I believe, because we never learn to stop expecting things. We assume that someone else will meet our expectations, that someone else will be able to do for us what our spouses can't. Herein lies the problem. No one has a perfect marriage. Romantic comedies and books and fairytales are just that - fairytales. They're not reality.
Reality is this: marriage is hard work. It's not always fun. The fights sometimes flare up daily and the romance rarely lasts past the honeymoon. Some days, you're not going to like your spouse. Plain and simple.
Valentine's Day is soon. Though it would be easy to write an article about how wonderful love is, I know too many people who feel stuck in a loveless marriage to ignore. Valentine's Day isn't just for those who feel love toward their spouse. It's also for those who have committed to love their spouses even on days when they don't really like them. If this is you today, here are a few tips that might help you love the spouse you don't really like:
1. Think about why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place
Even better, list the reasons.
2. Get rid of your expectations
Expectations are poison to a marriage. Love your spouse for who he is, not who you expect him to be.
3. Forget about feeling in love
Instead, choose to love your spouse regardless of how you feel.
4. Every day this week, do something nice for him/her, even if you don't really want to.
5. Stop filling your mind with unrealistic pictures of marriage
Choose your entertainment wisely. If a book you're reading or a TV show you're watching makes you long for something (or someone) different, put it down and walk away.
6. Pray for your spouse daily
Ask the Lord to give you the feelings of love you once had. It might not happen immediately, but if you do these things on a regular basis, it will happen with time.