These are words no one should ever hear, especially not a spouse. Unfortunately, my husband has heard these words before, from me.
The experience went something like this. I was laying on my bed with my heart pounding almost visibly out of my chest. I wasn't crying yet, but the tears were waiting to spill at a moment's notice, and I knew I wouldn't be able to hold them in forever. I felt awful as my mind rehashed my day over and over again, all the things I hadn't gotten done, simply because I didn't "care." I kept thinking that if I really cared about my husband and loved him, then my love for him would have motivated me to do all the things I didn't do that day. Really, I was so overwhelmed at the simplest tasks of the day that the thought of doing dishes or making dinner felt impossible. But I wasn't thinking clearly, so I came to the conclusion that I must not love my husband, since I didn't do the things that I should have done if I really loved him. The more this thought lingered in my mind, the more I believed it. And the more I believed it, the more hardened and bitter I became. I wasn't angry at my husband at all. Just at myself, that I wasn't stronger or more capable of handling life. I should have gone and talked to him about my thoughts right away, I should have tried to find the words, but I was too upset, so I waited in my room until he came to me. After several minutes of waiting, I heard his footsteps walking toward our room. I continued laying there, wondering what he would say and if I would be able to explain the tough feelings in my heart. He opened the door and looked in until our eyes met. He slowly walked over to me, probably trying to figure out what to say. He started talking.
"What's wrong? You seem upset."
"I don't feel like I love you." I said it so matter-of-factly with little-to-no emotion.
"Yes. I don't feel like I love you." Still not a quiver of emotion in my voice.
"What do you mean?"
Perhaps a little annoyedly, I said, "I don't feel love. I know that I've felt love for you before, but I don't feel it right now."
Those words echoed in my mind and immediately softened my heart. There was a moment of silence before the door holding in my tears was forcefully shoved open and the tears spilled out freely.
"I don't feel like I love you, because I don't feel anything."
By now I was sobbing, completely unable to control myself. I looked up at him with complete sorrow in my eyes and pleaded,
"Will you help me know that I love you? Will you help me see what I do to show love for you so that I can remember what it feels like?"
He went on to list one thing after another of all the things I did to show my love for him.
When he was done, he asked, "Now do you feel how much you love me?"
I could only nod my head because my words were so choked up in my tears. I still didn't feel love like I thought I should, but I trusted that I had love for my husband and that I would feel that love again.
Thankfully, it was only a few weeks before I was able to feel love again, but I'm so glad that I was able to hold on and trust in the love he described, even when depression robbed my heart of that emotion for a time. Today I feel love and appreciation for my husband like I never have before. And I desperately hope he never has to hear me say the words "I don't feel like I love you" again.