EMBRACE A COVENANT DRIVEN MARRIAGE, NOT A FEELINGS DRIVEN ONE

Written By Owen Strachan

One of the most disastrous ideas we face is this: love is a feeling. Survey says: nope.

You may well feel powerful positive emotions toward your spouse. I hope you do! But love in biblical terms NEVER reduces to feelings. True marital love is a commitment; it’s a covenant borne of the gospel of Christ.

Here are some truths about your feelings and your marriage, friend:

–You could EASILY feel drawn to folks who aren’t your spouse.

–Your feelings toward anyone wax and wane.

–Biblical marriage includes many feelings.

–But marriage is in no way based on your feelings.

–Marriage is based in God’s truth, God’s grace, and God’s ways.

The idea that the person you marry is the only person you could ever feel powerfully about is frankly ridiculous, honestly. It’s just not true. There are many members of the opposite sex who you could connect with, laugh with, build a life with, and so on. It’s just not the case that there is only one person on this planet who could elicit your affection. No way.

It is true, surely, that the person we marry is ideally a good match for us in lots of respects. That’s no bad thing at all. It’s good to think through how much we line up, what our differences are, where we complement one another, and much more like this. It’s also great if you feel surging love and attraction for your spouse. That’s wonderful! It’s very likely that as your marriage strengthens, you will indeed be consistently delighting in your spouse. But never make the very common mistake of thinking that those feelings are the BASIS of your marriage. As a Christian, the basis of your marriage is God’s will, God’s ways, God’s truth, and God’s grace.

Feelings-driven marriage is no doubt responsible for the breakdown of many homes in our time. It sounds harmless, and Hollywood sells this vision to us like crazy, but it is not harmless at all. Feelings ebb and flow. Feelings rise and fall. Feelings come and go. Feelings are given us by God, but nowhere in Scripture are we called to base anything in our life–including our commitment to our spouse–on our feelings. That is a disastrously bad foundation, to cut it straight.

Let me put it this way: if your marriage is a feelings-driven marriage, you’re in trouble. Those high feelings just will not sustain themselves. And when they don’t, you’ll be strongly tempted to think you’ve “fallen out of love.” No you haven’t. You’re just going through the normal swings and twists of life in a fallen world that features your own regular battle with the flesh (and your spouse’s). Don’t embrace or promote a feelings-driven marriage, friend. For the good of your marriage, your kids, and your walk with God, enjoy the good, but base your commitment to your spouse in God.

Embrace a covenant-driven marriage, not a feelings-driven one. Pray continually to stay faithful and committed. Ask God to make your heart a forgiving heart. Cry out to God when you are in the low places as all of us will be at some time. Petition the Lord for more tenderness between you, more closeness, more unity, more togetherness, more joy, more love, and more delight. God loves such prayers, and God will answer such prayers in his perfect wisdom. And yes, celebrate God’s great kindness when God really does forge a strong marriage between you and your spouse. Don’t give God a little bit of muted praise; give God exultant worship for his great work in your life.

Remember, marriage is ultimately not about you. Marriage is about God. God is the one who loves your marriage; God loves your marriage infinitely more than you do, I assure you. You are not the one who is going to keep yourself married; God is the one who is going to keep you married.

Marriage, as with all of life (single or married alike) is about God and God’s grace. Take serious comfort in that.

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Matthew 19:6

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