Marital Emotions

God created marriage in the Garden of Eden, not in Hollywood, California. If marriage was about internal chemistry and external appearance, Hollywood marriages would last longer. Even our dictionaries define love in terms of emotions. The media has distorted God’s concept of love. God’s love (agape) is emotionless. Agape is a word that bespeaks commitment, rather than endearment. God Himself is defined in terms of love, for God is agape (I Jn.4:16). God loves us with His will, not His emotions. Marriage vows which include “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer” bespeak the absolute commitment of agape.

Satan says we must find the right person to be happy. God says we must be the right person. Christian singles today often spend so much time trying to find ‘the right one’, they spend too little time on personal spiritual development. Neither mate can magically solve the emotional issues in marriage.

Whereas agape love builds trust, emotional love builds distrust. Marital love is often like a thermostat. Each partner tries to set the temperature. Ideally, both should pre-determine the setting. Either deliberately or inadvertently, both toy with their thermostat. Emotional pressures cause couples to fight for control of the dial. “If you hurt my feelings, I’ll make it colder. If you bring me a gift, I turn up the heat.” Many factors can change the climate without warning. Issues such as children, money, and in-laws affect emotions. It’s too easy to let moods dictate the temperature of your home.

The top emotion abused is anger. Depression is anger turned inward. Anger often results from unforgiveness and unrealistic expectations. False expectations are your fault; not your mates fault. You will take comments wrong if you are emotionally unhealthy. Biting at each other results in being consumed by each other (Gal.5:15). The works of the flesh (in contrast to the Fruit of the Spirit) are all emotion-based (Gal.5:19-21). Marriages founded on feelings cannot endure. But making “peace-at-any-price”, without settling issues, ensures perpetual conflict. Yesterday’s anger is more destructive than today’s anger, for it festers. Never go to bed mad. “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath” (Eph.4:26). Only as you take responsibility for old wounds can you perform an honest self-evaluation. Allowing the Holy Spirit into your home begins the process of proactive love for your spouse.

Love is like manna. It must be gathered early and daily. You cannot store up a years supply. Stale manna breeds worms and stinks (Ex.16:20). Your marriage will ‘smell funny’ without daily gathering your love and sharing it with your spouse. As we ask God for our daily bread, so we must ask for patience and understanding on a daily basis (Mt.6:11). Every Believer must pick up their cross daily (Lk.9:23). Marital relationships also require daily effort. Marriage is the most important and significant work you’ll ever do. A couple must love this work to do it right.

You were designed by God to walk in the Spirit (Gal.5:16). With the Holy Spirit in control, emotions cannot rule and ruin your marriage. Those led by emotions let the flesh control them – and the results are always negative. The Fruit of the Spirit grows – and growth is always positive (Gal.5:22-23). We move from an emotion-based marriage to a commitment-based marriage by spending quality time together and having open and honest conversations.

Like fresh oil in a motor, allow the Holy Spirit to permeate every part of your marriage and keep it running smoothly.

Maxim of the Moment

Marry for money and you’ll starve for love.