Is It Love If I Don’t Feel It? (2023)


Episode 953. Read or subscribe:


That's, John, here's, good questions that we get all the time and it's worth addressing frequently in this podcast.

It comes from a listener named Jacqueline who writes.


Pastor John I have a follow-up question to episode number 897, I appreciated your answer to the question is love, fake if it's motivated by a reward as a follow-up I want to ask.

This is love, fake if it's only motivated by duty, I'm thinking of relationships with a believer acts lovingly as in Philippians 2:4 and in 1st Corinthians 13, but without the feeling of love often due to ongoing sin in the life of the beloved is it enough to love because I am supposed to if I know in my heart.

It is not tied to the desire to know and glorify Christ as you mentioned as the motivation for reward fuel love in that episode.

Well, let me start with an illustration I read this years ago in every John Cardinals book, oh, the name Justice, Noah and Christian, commitment, that's, the name of it.

He says, suppose a man asks must I kiss.

My wife goodnight, Carnell gives the answer, yes, but not that kind of must that's, very profound.

It really affected my Christian even ISM.

Well, what did he mean? What did? He mean he meant that the man who asked this question, misunderstands, the nature of duty, he thinks that Duty only relates to the external behavior of kissing.

And if he kisses his wife he's done his duty, but Cornell's point is that Christian Duty is deeper than physical acts, always deeper than physical acts.

Our duty includes not only the external physical acts that are appropriate virtuous.

But also a right heart or a right disposition or right set of affections emotions.

So yes, it is a man's duty to kiss his wife, but that includes the duty of feeling affection for his wife.

Now, I think Jacqueline might be making the same mistake as the husband in that illustration, maybe I might might misunderstand her.

But let's see if this helps she asks is love, fake if it's motivated by Duty is it enough to love because I'm supposed to and that sounds like she conceives of love as a set of external behaviors, which one can we'll, even if one does not feel any gladness in the act of love, but but is that the biblical duty of love does not love biblically speaking include more than mere physical behavior, always include more than mere physical behavior.

So I want to argue that our duty is more than deed always more than deeds the duty to give, for example, includes the duty to rejoice in giving so giving or loving out of duty when there is no delight in giving is really only doing half our duty, God's will as revealed in the New Testament is that our loving behavior deeds should always include gladness in God that overflows in the hope of including other people in it.

Let me say that again, because that is an absolutely crucial ethical sentence for me, the biblical duty to love that is the very meaning of love always includes gladness in God that overflows in the act, the behaviors of love in the hope of including others in it that is in our gladness in God I get that definition of love from 2nd Corinthians, 8, verse 2 and 9 verse 7, here's what it says in a severe test of affliction there that is the Macedonians abundance of joy and their extreme poverty, overflowed in a wealth of generosity, giving loving on their part.

Notice carefully the subject of the verb overflowed is joy, their abundance of joy overflowed in generosity.

In other words, love was the overflow of joy in God.

You can go back to verse 1 to see that joy in God in God's grace being poured out on them that aimed to bless others.

And thus include others in that joy that's.

What love does always.

And notice also there were two huge obstacle standing in the way of this generosity a severe test of affliction and extreme poverty.

In other words, it was very costly.

You might even say painful for Christians to show generosity when they themselves were hurting and poverty-stricken.

If there ever was a time when a person might say, surely all that is expected of us.

Here is dutiful deeds, not heartfelt joy.

This was taught this was that time.

But, but in fact, what marked these deeds of generosity as love was the abundance of joy in God that was overflowing in love in the hopes that others would be included in that joy.

Now we know we're on the right track here because in Chapter 9 verse 7 of second Corinthians, just chapter later, Paul makes it a principle.

He takes this behavior, and he makes it a principle.

He says each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion that's another way of saying mere willpower duty for God loves a cheerful Giver now, that's the clearest statement that doing good things for people generously without any delight in doing is only half our duty.

So let me restate Jacqueline's question.

The way I would ask because there's a real problem, there's, a real problem.

She sees she's right, she's, right to see the problem and I'm just complaining that's.

The way it was at and I hope.

Something really important is being seen here's.

The way I would ask the question for John Piper.

What does a Christian do when he is confronted with the opportunity of a helpful group deed that he doesn't feel like doing that's the issue because that's real life, perfect love to God will always delight perfectly in doing God's will, but until we reach perfection, which none of us does in this life.

We are and embattled people, Satan and sin corrupt our will so that we feel dis inclinations to do the loving thing and that's reality.

And this is why Jesus said, whoever would come after me must deny himself in this fallen world where sin and Satan death incline us to love.

Self-Denial will always be a part of the duty of love.

So how does this work in the moment when there is an opportunity to do good to do good and will feel like doing good and here's? The difference between give you two options to do here and people line up on these two options, I mean, most letting up on the first one I'm afraid, the difference between a a Christian hiddenness, my understanding of our duty at that moment when we don't feel like doing the good, we ought to do and those who think emotions and don't count.

Their marginal they're, not essential at that moment that dad Group says, just do it just do it do the right thing because it's the right thing all the while ignoring the biblical teaching that doing it cheerfully is part of the right thing at that moment you just say do it as though it were your whole duty, it's, not half your duty, but the Christian hedonist, therefore does four crucial things at this moment because I'm I'm, admitting John Piper, the imperfect, fallen selfish, Christian witnessed doesn't, always love delight to do what he ought to do so here's here, the four things we ought to do number one admit, honestly to God and to yourself, you don't feel like doing the good thing.

Admit, it number two confess this to God as sin and tell him that you're, sorry for your for your heart, not being more loving 3, ask God in that moment to restore the joy, the fullest joy of your salvation and an overflowing gladness in grace that can be shared with other people, ask him to restore your joy.

And for now go ahead and act.

Do that good behavior do that half of your duty do the good deed, hoping expecting believing you've asked, you've prayed that I'm it in it joy will be awakened, and you will actually before you're done be delighting in the love before you're, even finish the loving behavior.

Now you're glad you're doing it.

I Tony, I have seen this happened in my life as a pastor over the years again and again, and again, I would be I would be on my way to the hospital when I didn't feel like and some Saint is in trouble and I I repaired to God God.

I wish I wish I had more compassion.

I wish I felt more affection.

I wish you more fully in charge of my heart right now.

Please restore to me the joy of loving my people, and how many times have I walked into that room and either before I get to the bed or as I put my hand on dears, some dear Saints arm, God awakens, gladness in being their gladness and being able to share the word gladness in being an instrument of their help gladness in hoping that some of my gladness in the more would sustain them in their trial.

So my answer to Jackman's question is that the duty of love always includes more than willpower behavior.

It includes the gladness in God that overflows in the hope of including others in it when the behavior and the gladness are both there.

The Duty is being performed.

And when the gladness is not there and we confess it and repent and pray for forgiveness and act in hope that God will restore it that too is our duty.


So hopeful and carefully nuanced think about Sir John, well, we're going to break for the weekend in return on Monday to hear from a listener, who wants to know what are we supposed to do with the verses in the Bible to talk about God, regretting things and repenting of things? Ah, such a great question.

And that is next if you missed any episodes from the week catch up this weekend at our online home, a desire in god, org forward, slash ask Pastor, John, I'm, your host Tony rank.

You we'll see you on Monday, you.


At what point is love not enough? ›

Couples also need to regularly express their feelings — good or bad — and should avoid sweeping things under the rug. Love is not enough if there's no companionate idea for conjugality, one where both partners can freely express their love through (among other things) communication, sharing, and emotional closeness.

Is it normal to feel not enough in a relationship? ›

Lots of people struggle with feeling not good enough for someone. The good news is that you can heal yourself and experience self-acceptance so that you can have a healthy relationship.

Is it true that sometimes love is not enough? ›

The media tells us that love is more than enough in relationships. But the truth is, love isn't always enough of a reason to stay in a relationship. Don't get us wrong: loving someone, or caring deeply for them, is a wonderful thing, but it's a feeling that can also make a relationship complicated.

Can you love someone but not enough? ›

Love is obviously the soul of a relationship, but love alone is not enough to keep a relationship healthy. Compatibility, communication, trust, physical compatibility, and maturity play a major role in a healthy relationship.

What is the hardest stage of love? ›

The first year of the relationship is the hardest stage, and even when you're living together, you still discover new things about each other every day. How to Survive: The key to getting past the discovery stage is also discovery. The discovery of your partner's imperfections and your imperfections as well.

How do you know we're not in love? ›

When feelings of pride and admiration are replaced by feelings of disdain and irritation, it might be a sign that you don't love your partner anymore. If you don't want to make plans with your partner, it's a red flag that you may not see a future with them.

Why do I feel like I'm not getting enough love? ›

Sometimes, feeling unloved isn't due to anything our partner has done, but comes from inside ourselves. It's possible we are having low self esteem. Sometimes, it is an issue with the relationship or our partner. It's also likely we've not been able to communicate to our partner what we need to feel loved.

Why do I still feel empty in a relationship? ›

What causes a feeling of emptiness in romantic relationships? “Emptiness” is often a symptom of unresolved pain. For example, somewhere in your past relationships, an emotional wound was left unhealed. Such wounds are most often caused by someone intimately close, such as a parent, a sibling, a friend, or a lover.

Can love happen when you least expect it? ›

Like they say, love happens when you least expect it. If it weren't for the fact that the greatest desire of all humanity is to love, to be loved and to experience real love, all of us would be annoyed at the way real love enters our lives.

How long will a man wait for a woman he loves? ›

According to a large 2022 study, men tend to say “I love you” more quickly than women. It takes men an average of 108 days (about 4 months) to confess love and women an average of around 123 days (about 4 months).

What makes a man love a woman forever? ›

Physical attraction, sexual compatibility, empathy, and emotional connection are key to making a man fall in love with a woman.

How do you know if a relationship isn't going to last? ›

Conflicts that drag on for months, arguments that go around in circles, fights that don't lead to more empathy, intimacy or better solutions — these are all signs that something is fundamentally dysfunctional in the relationship.

What is invalidating feelings? ›

Emotional invalidation is the act of dismissing or rejecting someone's thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. It says to someone: “Your feelings don't matter. Your feelings are wrong.” Emotional invalidation can make you feel unimportant or irrational. It can take many forms and happen at any time.

Do I love my boyfriend or am I just comfortable? ›

"A healthy relationship will allow both partners to thrive, learn and grow — both separately and together." If you're in love with your partner, then you'll never feel limited or held back from trying new things. However, if you're merely comfortable, then chances are you'll settle for routine over new opportunities.

Who falls harder in love? ›

This is backed up by Marissa Harrison, a psychologist from Pennsylvania State University who thinks that women are much more cautious when it comes to love, while men tend to fall in love harder and faster. Studies show that a man's requirements to fall in love are significantly less stringent than those of a woman.

What are the 5 bonding stages for a man? ›

What are the 5 bonding stages for a man? Appreciation, infatuation, attraction, impression, and conviction are the 5 bonding stages for a man.

What is the most painful type of love? ›

Unrequited love involves having strong romantic feelings toward another person who does not feel the same way. It is a one-sided experience that can leave people with feelings of pain, grief, and shame.

How can I tell if I'm in love? ›

Here's what these feelings might look like in action.
  • You feel charged and euphoric around them. ...
  • You can't wait to see them again — even when they've just left. ...
  • Everything feels exciting and new. ...
  • You always make time for them. ...
  • You don't mind making sacrifices for them. ...
  • You have fantastic sex. ...
  • You idealize them.
Dec 16, 2019

What does falling out of love feel like? ›

Falling out of love can be a very scary feeling. It might feel like having noticeably less interest in your partner and feeling less excited about spending time with them, even though you still care about them.

What does falling in love feel like? ›

Researchers concluded that falling in love is much like the sensation of feeling addicted to drugs with the release of euphoria, including brain chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopressin.

How do I start feeling like I am enough? ›

How to know that you are good enough
  1. Step 1: Face your fears. When you start asking yourself the right questions about why you're not feeling good enough, you'll find it's related to fear and anxiety. ...
  2. Step 2: Become accountable. ...
  3. Step 3: Re-focus on your goals. ...
  4. Step 4: Create a personalized plan.

Why can't I feel love in a relationship? ›

Low self-esteem can cause feelings of repulsion toward love or relationships. If you do not feel attractive, valuable, or loveable, you may subconsciously feel that others will not see you in this way. Low self-esteem can be improved through self-care and practices that increase self-compassion, like meditation.

What does an unfulfilling relationship look like? ›

But what does an unfulfilling relationship look like? According to Dr. Brown, here are some signs that you're in this situation: you don't feel valued or appreciated, your communication is lacking, the spark has fizzled out, or you're continually having the same arguments over and over.

Why do I feel no spark in my relationship? ›

Relationship challenges, conflicts, and concerns can cause partners to feel that the initial “spark” of love has gone. When couples say they no longer feel a “spark,” it may mean that they're missing the initial feeling of infatuation or that long-term commitment has become challenging.

How do you let go of an unfulfilling relationship? ›

15 Tips for Letting Go of a Relationship That Is Not Healthy
  1. Recognize the Problem. Awareness is the first step. ...
  2. Allow Yourself to Feel. Find a Therapist. ...
  3. Discover the Lesson. ...
  4. Create Separation. ...
  5. Let Go of the Mementos. ...
  6. Take Off Your Love Goggles. ...
  7. Compose a Letter to Your Ex. ...
  8. Focus On Empowering Yourself.
Aug 29, 2016

How do you accept you're not enough? ›

Practices to Stop Feeling Like You're Not Good Enough
  1. Stop Comparing and Competing With Others. The phrase “good enough” implies a standard exists that you must meet. ...
  2. Recall Past Achievements. ...
  3. Focus on the Process Rather Than Results. ...
  4. Speak to a Close Friend. ...
  5. Complete an Act of Kindness. ...
  6. Seek Therapy.
Nov 10, 2020

When a man feels inadequate in a relationship? ›

Some commonplace areas of life that trigger a man's sense of inadequacy include: The inability to satisfy their partner sexually. Confusion in how to be emotionally expressive. Struggle to understand how to respond to a partners' emotional needs.

What are the symptoms of not feeling good enough? ›

Instead of feeling motivated, we feel exhausted (“because we're being attacked by our own minds”). Even worse, this can lead to low self-esteem, shame, isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, insomnia, eating disorders and relationship issues, Miller said.

Am I falling out of love or is it just a phase? ›

If you find yourself totally disinterested in what your partner thinks, feels, says or does, it's likely that loving feeling is gone. Arzt adds people who “only do the bare minimum” may be falling out of love. “They may oblige with date night, but they feel restless and bored,” she says.

How long does it statistically take to fall in love? ›

The average time for men to fall in love is 88 days, while those same feelings of true love take women 134 days. Another dating site, Elite Singles, did a poll in 2017 and found that 61 per cent of women believe in love at first sight, while 72 per cent of men do.

How does real love happen? ›

True love is an acceptance of who you are as a person. Even when your partner doesn't agree with you, they don't try to change you. When you found true love, you often feel you can talk about anything with your partner. You can trust them with your deepest dreams, your hardest memories, and your biggest fears.

How quickly does a man know he loves you? ›

The study also finds that men start thinking about saying "I love you" 97 days, or about three and a half months, into a relationship. That time frame seems about right to me. It takes a while to get to know someone and fall in love, and after 90 days, you probably have a good idea about your feelings.

Do older guys fall in love faster? ›

Many men actually fall in love pretty fast On average, it can take a man a few months (around 88 days,) before he's in love. Of course, it depends on the man. Often a younger man falls in love faster, while an older man may take a while.

How long does it take for a guy to get over his first love? ›

Of course, some feelings of sadness, anger, resentment, and pain may linger on for a while longer. But typically, you're able to see past your heartache and into what else life has to offer within three months of a relationship ending.

How do you know if a man is emotionally attached? ›

One clear sign a man is emotionally connected to you is when he truly cares for you. When you reciprocate his feelings, there is a better chance of him getting emotionally attached. He also tries to show his romantic side in his way. He might do it by talking to you for hours or taking long walks with you.

How a man loves you deeply? ›

He will pay attention to your wants and needs and make an effort to give it to you. He listens to your requests, tries to accommodate your wishes, and does things you say will make you happy. And he does it happily because he wants to make you happy.

What are the signs when a man is obsessed with a woman? ›

Signs of an obsessive lover

* Feeling of “ownership” over another person. Feeling extremely jealous if they interact with other people. * Having extremely strong feelings towards the other person even without having spent much time with them.

What are the signs of forcing a relationship? ›

  • You want a relationship more than you want the person. ...
  • You're self-conscious. ...
  • The relationship doesn't recover from arguments. ...
  • Your PDA is more affectionate than in private. ...
  • You're hoping some things about them will change. ...
  • You don't trust them. ...
  • You have to pretend to be interested, or vice versa.
Mar 27, 2023

How soon do most relationships end? ›

Studies have shown that relationships generally end within 3 to 5 months from the day they begin.

How long do most relationships end? ›

When Do Most Relationships End?
  • Statistics show that most relationships go from hot, heavy and passionate to “meh” in about 18 months. ...
  • New research shows that relationships are actually more vulnerable to demise far sooner than the dreaded seven year itch.
Mar 13, 2023

Why do I suddenly feel nothing for my boyfriend? ›

If you feel empty even when your partner is very present in your life, that could indicate a deeper issue. You might suspect that this relationship isn't a good fit for you or experience self-doubt. It's important not to jump to conclusions. As mentioned above, depression is one common cause of feelings of emptiness.

When a man shuts down emotionally? ›

For some people, shutting down emotionally is a response to feeling overstimulated. It doesn't have anything to do with you or how they feel about you. If your husband or partner shuts down when you cry, for example, it may be because they don't know the best way to handle that display of emotions.

Why does my partner dismisses my feelings? ›

Emotional invalidation often happens due to a lack of skill on the part of the person who is invalidating. One partner may not have the capacity to effectively deal with strong emotions in other people. They may be uncomfortable with their own emotions.

Am I in love or am I not? ›

When you start thinking about someone else's desires and needs as much as your own, it's a pretty good sign that you are in love, Shaffer says. "You may not necessarily want the same things but when you are in love, you start thinking of the other person's perspective just as much as your own."

What real love should feel like? ›

Passionate love feels like instant attraction with a bit of nervousness. It's the "feeling of butterflies in your stomach,"Lewandowski says. "It's an intense feeling of joy, that can also feel a bit unsure because it feels so strong."

How do I know if its love or convenience? ›

Love couples look forward to being together

On the other hand, couples in it for convenience live parallel lives; the time they spend together is not joyful and may not be a mutual experience. When they are apart, they feel relieved, and they rarely think about their significant other.

What does it mean by love is not enough? ›

Sometimes love is not enough meaning is that love may be enough to bring two people together but not quite in carrying them through the journey of life. Love is an emotional process, compatibility a logical one. Both are needed in equal measure to build a balanced partnership.

What happens when a person doesn't get enough love? ›

Specifically, compared to people with less skin hunger, people who feel more affection-deprived: are less happy; more lonely; more likely to experience depression and stress; and, in general, in worse health. They have less social support and lower relationship satisfaction.

How do you know if you don't love yourself enough? ›

You beat yourself up for past failings. You think you have no gifts or talents or you play them down. You're self-critical, only seeing your flaws and feeling unworthy. You lack self-confidence, so you never try anything that feels risky.

When to stop in love? ›

If either you or your partner is seeking emotional or physical fulfillment from people outside of your relationship, Wadley says it's a clear indication that it's probably time to end the relationship.

What is needed more than love in a relationship? ›

Trust. One of the most important parts of a relationship is to trust one another completely. You have to be able to trust that they won't stray and you trust them with your feelings. You have to trust each other enough to be vulnerable on an emotional and physical level, too.

Why do I barely feel love? ›

Not wanting to fall in love can sometimes signify a problem with esteem, attachment, anxiety, or another issue. You might feel anxious about becoming attached to someone and potentially losing them. Or you might have low self-esteem and struggle with feeling that you are unloveable.

Why am I so desperate for someone to love me? ›

In many ways, this is an understandable response. We feel alone, insecure or vulnerable, and being with others feel makes us less so. This urge towards relatedness fulfills not just our need for protection and security but also for purpose and direction in life.

How do you realize you are enough? ›

How to know that you are good enough
  1. Step 1: Face your fears. When you start asking yourself the right questions about why you're not feeling good enough, you'll find it's related to fear and anxiety. ...
  2. Step 2: Become accountable. ...
  3. Step 3: Re-focus on your goals. ...
  4. Step 4: Create a personalized plan.

How do you know if your love is strong enough? ›

30 Signs Your Relationship Is Strong Enough to Last Forever
  • You can have fun together doing absolutely nothing.
  • You get along with each other's friends.
  • You're able to work through your problems constructively.
  • You have a strong friendship with each other.
  • Their family likes you and vice versa.
Apr 12, 2017

At what point is a relationship over? ›

There's No Emotional Connection

One of the key signs your relationship is ending is that you are no longer vulnerable and open with your partner. A cornerstone of happy, healthy ​relationships is that both partners feel comfortable being truly open to sharing thoughts and opinions with one another.

What are the red flags in a relationship? ›

Red flags in a relationship include excessive jealousy and frequent lying. You should also be wary of a partner who frequently criticizes you or puts you down. Another major red flag is an unwillingness to compromise — relationships shouldn't be one-sided.

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