Lately, I keep running across posts (on this subreddit and beyond) by women who claim they're in good relationships with good men, but are "bored" and not feeling it anymore and are considering breaking up/divorcing and I just felt like I had to say something about it.
Basically, this post is about the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance, and how we can consciously use that to our advantage.
There are some studies that show assuming a straighter posture will make you feel more confident. This is because your brain is trying to avoid cognitive dissonance (confusion) by finding reasons for why your posture is so dominant. "Maybe it's because I'm a confident person," your brain thinks. There are studies that show that if you want an acquaintance to like you, you should ask them to do a favor for you, and not the other way around (you doing a favor for them). Their brain will try to avoid confusion by finding a reason for why they did a favor for you. "I must like that person," their brain thinks.
I think a great deal of this can be extended to love, and I've felt it extend to love.
Some of you probably heard that story of a husband who wanted a divorce. His wife agrees but on the condition that he carries her into bed every day for a month. After the month, he finds that he fell in love again. Whether it's a true story or not, it resonates with a lot of people because it captures some truth about how emotions work.
We don't have to be slaves to our emotions. We can gradually change and direct our emotions through conscious action. Our brains will find an emotional "excuse" for why we're performing certain actions.
My own example: I've been with my partner for almost two years and love him as much as ever. But recently, I had some stresses with work and I mostly neglected cooking and noticed we didn't have sex for 3 or 4 days. This was just a week or two but around that time, I noticed that my feelings were waning ever so slightly. I was slightly annoyed at him for no reason, since he was behaving the same as usual. But, I was behaving differently. Fortunately, I knew what was going on so I consciously decided to take some time to make a nice meal and get myself in the mood to be really submissive and giving during sex. After that night - really as the night was progressing - I felt my emotions come back with a vengeance. It almost felt like I had I crush on him! I was giddy and excited.
So it's slightly sad that when the wife is unhappy in a marriage, she seems to look first at her husband. What is he not doing for me? Can't he be better? Sometimes a conversation is had and the husband makes a bunch of improvements which tragically only makes him love her more. Her feelings remain unchanged. Her feelings probably changed in the first place because she was putting in less effort than before. Feeling slightly disrespectful, then behaving disrespectfully, then feeling more disrespectful can spiral out of control. The solution is for the wife to consciously act in a respectful and loving manner, and be patient for her emotions to come around.
Don't get me wrong, if the husband is abusive or something, obviously don't do this. This post is specifically for the common case of "my husband is such a great guy, I don't know why I'm so bored!" And of course this theory doesn't only apply to women. If a husband starts losing interest in his wife, it may just be because somewhere along the way, he got comfortable and stopped putting in the work to please her. This is why some relationship books suggest that the wife always share her hopes with her husband, so he can have a chance to fulfill them.
Edit: Whoa I got a star! That's so incredibly encouraging! I owe a lot of my current happiness to randomly finding this subreddit so I hope to show my gratitude by contributing/participating more in the future :)