What to Do When You Love Someone Who Does't Love You Back


All marriages will hit some bumps in the road. However, when your spouse says or acts like he/she doesn’t love you anymore, it feels more like a mountain. You will feel hurt, rejected, and betrayed. After all, the two of you made sacred vows before God to love and to cherish each other until death do you part. When it appears your spouse wants to turn and run away from their vows, it is heartbreaking.

It can be incredibly difficult to navigate your relationship when it feels like you are the only one fighting. But, you are not alone. God is with you, and He is also fighting on your behalf. While our culture tells us that marriages are easy to walk away from, God and experience tell us differently. It’s like separating two pieces of tightly glued papers. No matter how carefully you try to separate them, part of each always remains with the other. Before you even begin to think about divorce, you should actively try to restore your marriage. Reconciliation and restoration are worth the fight to save a marriage.

Persevere and Pray

When you are married to someone who doesn’t love you back, it can be very lonely. Remember, you are not alone. King David reminds us in Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” During this time of pain and difficulty, cling to God’s promises.

And, cling to the promises you made when you said your marriage vows. When you love someone who loves you, it’s easy, but when you love someone who doesn’t love you back, you may be tempted to give up on the relationship and walk away. Do not give up without fighting for your marriage. Instead, persevere and pray (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Love Never Fails

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”                                 
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

We think about love in many ways; typically, we think of love as being based on feelings. Loved based on feelings revolves around chemistry, attraction, and infatuation. But, it also believes love is an exchange. For example, I love you if you love me in return.

However, this is not a realistic look at a long, love-filled marriage. Real love, the kind of love that will sustain a marriage, is found rooted in Christ, and Christ shows us the full extent of His great love for us in that, “While we yet sinners, he loved us enough to die for us (Romans 5:8).”

Infatuation fades and feelings dissipate, but you can make the choice to act lovingly every day. Honoring and staying devoted to your spouse involves making a choice to love even when you don’t feel like it. These things do not come naturally. However, we have the perfect model of love to try to imitate in our marriage relationships. For instance, even when your spouse is acting unlovable, you can still choose to act lovingly because Christ first loved you.

Remain Faithful

Again, it is critical to remember your marriage vows and not focus so much on your feelings alone during times of difficulty. You may not feel warm and fuzzy towards your spouse, especially when they are acting like they do not love you. However, you promised to love this person for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. You didn’t promise to love this person only when they are better, healthy, or lovable. As painful as it is, show your spouse you are still trying to remain faithful to the vows you made to him/her and God.

Seek Biblical Counseling

For marital restoration, seek Biblical counseling. This is critical when it comes to dealing with marital issues. A Biblical counselor will help you do the hard work of restoring your marriage by also helping you remain faithful and accountable for the things God has called you to.

Christian marriages should have God at the center. A Biblical counselor will be able to point out ways to address your marital issues according to the amazing advice throughout the Bible and how to restore your marriage to one that places God at the forefront.

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Stay Accountable

Additionally, it is important to have others that will hold you accountable. Again, there are many in the world who will give you unhealthy advice. However, your Christian community – your church, small group, Christian friends – will hold you accountable and encourage you. They will speak the truth in love and pray for your marriage to be restored.

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Perfect Love Only Comes from God

Too often, we ask our spouse to do what is impossible – we want him/her to love us perfectly. However, perfect love only comes from God. We should not expect perfect love from our spouse. By understanding how God loves us and loves the church (Ephesians 5:25), we have a better idea of how we should strive to love one another. But, we should also be willing to extend our spouse grace when they are not perfect.

Instead, we must be secure in God’s love first and foremost. Find your worth in Christ – not in your spouse’s love for you. This is especially important to remember when you feel rejected by your spouse.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
 – Romans 8:37-39

Reflect the Heart of God

Ultimately, our goal should be to have a marriage that reflects God’s love for the church. But, it may feel impossible if you are the only one fighting for your marriage. However, as you seek God during this challenging time, you will change. This is because God’s love changes us. Then, as we love others, they will change.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
 – 1 John 4:7-8



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