What do you do when you don’t feel like being married anymore? One of the strangest things about marriage is how two people who love each other on their wedding day can become the bitterest of enemies. How does this happen? Marriage can be difficult, but the way many of us think about marriage doesn’t make it any easier; in fact, this one mistake we make when it comes to thinking about marriage has the potential to destroy a marriage. (I heard my friend Matt Tuggle say the following last night in conversation, and I thought it was so good that I decided to share it with you.)
Marriage Vows Aren’t About How You Feel
Have you ever noticed that marriage vows contain nothing about how a person will feel over the course of a marriage? The reason marriage vows aren’t about feelings is because we cannot promise how we will feel in the future. If your feelings and emotions are like mine, they’re liable to change as quickly and as violently as the Texas weather in spring. It’s ridiculous to make a promise about future feelings, but fortunately the marriage vows don’t require us to make that promise.
Marriage Vows Are About How You’ll Act
Here are the vows I’ve used in every wedding I’ve ever officiated (over 100 at this point):
In the name of God,
I, John, take you, Jane, to be my wife
To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
Until we are parted by death:
This is my solemn vow.
Notice how the vows are all about promising to live a certain way and have nothing to do with feeling a certain way? Feelings are hard to control, but you control your actions. In marriage, we don’t promise how we’ll feel, we promise how we’ll live. (And, with God’s help, faithfulness is possible.)
And here’s the good news to everyone currently struggling to love a spouse: actions lead and emotions follow. If you act with love, love is what you’ll eventually feel.
P.S. More from Matt
Check out Matt’s sermons here. Lots more good stuff where the above came from.
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