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Love One Another Even When You’re Hitched

You know how our parents’ generation will say the closest they came to divorce was by hanging wallpaper together?

Well, it’s not divorce-ready by any stretch of the imagination, but if Chris Acuff and I are trouble-shooting on the computer together, IT IS GOING DOWN IN OUR HOUSE!

We recently had an “incident” right before bed that led to this “good-night.”

Me: I’m sorry you made me mad.

Chris: I’m sorry you made me mad.

Me: I’m sorry you yelled at me.

Chris: I’m sorry you yelled at me.

Hand-in-hand, we fell fast asleep.

Chris and I love each other.  We really do.  We have great affection and cozy feelings for one another.  But, separate of the emotion, the highs and lows as evidenced, we are also called to action.  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) “Husbands should love their wives.” (Ephesians 5:28)  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)

Love is a command.

It is a mistake to think that you must feel love to give it… Our culture says that feelings of love are the basis for actions of love.  And of course that can be true.  But it is truer to say that actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love.  Love between two people must not, in the end, be identified simply with emotion or merely with dutiful action.  Married love is a symbiotic, complex mixture of both. Having said this, it is important to observe that of the two — emotion and action — it is the latter that we have the most control over.  It is the action of love that we can promise to maintain every day. –Tim Keller

We have more control over our actions than our emotions.

In moments of knock-down-drag-outs, little scuffles or even regular ol’ life, we may not always feel love in our marriages.  It’s in those times that we must remember our marriage covenant, binding promise, oath. Tim Keller also says, “Why do we say that marriage is the most deeply covenantal relationship?  It is because marriage has both strong horizontal and vertical aspects to it… What they are really doing is making a vow to God before they turn and make vows to one another.”

Emotions can catch up with behavior.

This may be the most difficult pill to swallow.  How can I possibly show love when I don’t feel love?  Only by the grace of God are any of us capable of displaying the fruit that our flesh so strongly fights.  He provides strength.  In showing, acting, doing love, we begin to feel love. Our emotions will catch up with our behavior.  Tim Keller speaks of his feelings changing toward a couple in his church by saying, “I had been loving them even when I didn’t like them, and the result was that, slowly but surely, my emotions were catching up with my behavior.  If you do not give up , but proceed to love the unlovely in a sustained way, they will eventually become lovely to you.”

The verses commanding certain treatment of our brothers and sisters in Christ apply to the brother or sister in Christ sleeping next to us.  Let’s see to it that we treat them accordingly.

What event causes things to “go down” in your house?

How are you doing in regards to your remembering your marriage covenant?

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