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What happens when people just "fall out of love"?

When this happens, one or both spouses claim that they cannot remember what it was like to be in love, and not infrequently, one or the other will say their partner seems mean.

Dear Abby once said, "All marriages are happy; it’s the living together afterward that’s the hard part."

People don’t just fall out of love. "If love dwindles, it’s because the marriage was not a priority. Love is a living thing. If you nurture it, it grows. If you neglect it, it dies," writes Ms. Davis. "[L]ove isn’t just a feeling, it’s a decision. Happily married people understand if they engage in activities that bring love into the marriage, they will feel loving." Writer D.H. Lawrence touched on this when he said that a man learns more about all women by staying with one woman than he does from an endless string of casual relationships with many women.

And for this reason, the death of marriage so often occasions ineffable sadness and pain. When anger, fear, or bitterness replace love, respect, or admiration -- a process not unlike ossification -- a couple knows their marriage is in trouble.