Not Too Late to Do What’s Right – Marriage Message #102

It’s never too late to do what’s right. We’ve heard that phrase before, but is it true? Yes, it’s true, but the caveat is that even though we might change our behavior to “do what is right” we might not obtain a certain desired result. Yet, that doesn’t mean that we should give up and continue to do things that we shouldn’t. Some things might not change as a result, but others will.

It’s important to make that change if for no other reason, you can look in the mirror and face God with a clearer conscience, plus your life can be a living testimony that could inspire others to do what it is right as well. A positive ripple effect for future generations can occur instead of a negative one.

If you could read the e-mails we receive each week from those who have gone through what most would call “insurmountable” problems (infidelity, out of control gambling, porn addiction, anger and communication issues, etc.), only to come out on the other side with a stronger marriage than they ever thought possible, it would reaffirm your belief (as it has ours) that doing what’s right —even if seems late, has it’s rewards.

To help you see this further, the following Crosswalk.com article gives support to what we’re saying. Please click onto the following article to read:

WHY NOT JUST GIVE UP ON A BAD MARRIAGE?

Remember, God’s word exhorts us to “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). It’s difficult to do what is right when we’re weary and we don’t feel like it and don’t see immediate positive results. But again, it’s the right thing to do and we’ll never see the good if we don’t do what it takes to eventually get there.

While the examples of this are endless, for the sake of space, we’ll focus on the example of feelings and doing what is right despite the feelings we may be experiencing to the contrary.

You say, “I don’t have feelings for my husband/wife any longer so even though I vowed to stay faithful, I don’t want to, nor should I, because I no longer love him/her. It’s being hypocritical to go through the motions.” If you feel that way and you no longer want to try to make the marriage work (doing what’s right and what you vowed to do), let me (Steve) share with you something I read in the book, The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity, (which is an excellent book for defending faith in Christ).

In it, the author Lee Strobel was interviewing Lynn Anderson about the difference between faith and feelings. Anderson shared a great story that applies to this example —it reads:

“A guy once told me, ‘I don’t like my wife anymore.’ My response was to tell him, ‘Go home and love her.’ He said, “But you don’t understand —I have no feelings for her anymore.’ I said, ‘I wasn’t asking how you felt.’ I was saying, “Go home and love her.” Then he said, ‘But it would be emotionally dishonest for me to treat my wife that way when I don’t feel it.’

“So I asked, ‘Does your mother love you?’ That seemed to insult him. He said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ I said, ‘About 3 weeks after she had brought you home from the hospital and you were screaming with dirty diapers and she had to wake up tired and put her bare feet on a cold floor, clean up your miserable diapers, and feed you a bottle —did you ever think she enjoyed that?’

“He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Well, then I think your mother was being emotionally dishonest.’ Here’s the point I was making: the measure of her love wasn’t that she felt good about changing diapers, but that she was willing to do it even when she wasn’t feeling particularly happy about it.’”

Just like we can’t base our faith on feelings, we can’t base our marriage on the premise that we’ll always “feel” in love with our spouse. I (Steve) can assure you that all of the years that I suffered from low blood sugar (diabetic) reactions in the middle of the night which forced Cindy to have to get up and get sugar for me so I would survive, she didn’t do it because she “felt” like it. She did it because she was committed to me, “No matter what!”

Scripture doesn’t say, “Love never fails as long as I have feelings for you.” It simply says, LOVE NEVER FAILS period.

Henry and Richard Blackaby in their book, “The Experience,” share a few thoughts on this subject as well:

“The world gives love a staggering amount of attention. Love is presented as something to be ‘fallen into’ and ‘fallen out of.’ There is no solution given for what to do when the emotion (a.k.a. feelings) fails you and the warm fuzzies are gone —other than bailing out and starting over with someone else. You can recognize worldly love by how unpredictable it is.

“The Bible offers a different kind of love. This love says I’m committed to act lovingly toward this person (husband/wife) regardless of how I feel. You’ll be able to recognize biblical love: It is patient, unselfish and loyal.”

They go on to say,

“If we’re not careful, Christians can begin to adopt the world’s way of loving instead of God’s. The world says, ‘Love is a feeling. When you stop feeling love for someone it means you no longer love them.’”

“We would all agree that as followers of Christ we’re supposed to follow His standard for loving people rather than the worlds, right? Can you imagine that when Jesus saw us hopelessly enslaved to sin, he would have said, “I don’t FEEL like dying on a cross for them. I think I’ll wait until the feeling comes.” He didn’t say, “I’ve tried and tried to love them, but they always reject me. I give up!”

This is how God wants us to love our spouses. Not with strings attached, as the world loves. Not just as long as they’re lovable. Not just as long as they appreciate it. God wants us to give our love freely and unconditionally —just as He has for us.

So, if you’ve become hung-up on feelings, remember this: “It’s easier to ACT your way into a better way of feeling than to FEEL your way into a better way of acting.” In other words, “Love isn’t a feeling; it’s attitude in action.”

A Todayschristianwoman.com article that might help you to better understand how to do this can be read by clicking onto:

ONE-WAY TURN AROUND

Remember that Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

From these verses in the Bible we can see that love is described as more of an action than a feeling. Feelings often come later after we love through our actions. If lately, you haven’t been displaying the love of God by how you’ve been acting —now would be a good time to begin because —it’s never too late to do what’s right.

The following are a couple of Growthtrac.com articles that might help you get “Un-stuck” from the loveless route you are experiencing, if you read them and apply the principles God puts upon your mind to start applying to your marriage:

LOVE AS A VERB

GETTING UN-STUCK

May God help us all enter into a deeper relationship with Him and with our marital partner!

Steve and Cindy Wright

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Comments

3 responses to “Not Too Late to Do What’s Right – Marriage Message #102

  1. (USA)  I think it’s often too late to do what’s right. When the unfaithful spouse will not recognize that the spouse they are abandoning, divorcing, etc is doing the right thing it really doesn’t matter what you do.

    So I have to say I’m skeptical that Love conquers all. After all, if this were true in an absolute sense, how could anyone reject the ultimate love demonstrated by Christ?

    I believe love CAN conquer all. But all it takes is for one spouse to reject that love for those efforts to be worthless.

  2. (SOUTH AFRICA)  Hi Cindy, it’s not always easy to do what is right. However, you know that as we keep on doing the right thing we stand blameless in front of God without any guilt or shame. There is a reward for doing good.

  3. (CANADA)  Hi This was an excellent article with very informative links. I am a Christian. I agree with Tony’s comments. I do believe that true Love does conquer all. But, and this is the important thing, trust, honesty, sincerity, compassion, empathy, sacrifice, respect and compromise must all be present, for true Love to exist. Jesus did not feel love, but acted lovingly, only to be killed by his non-followers. God/Jesus will only be accepted by those willing to open their hearts and minds.

    True love between partners is similar. Both partners must be totally receptive and demonstrative. Both partners must be willing to put their partner first and consider the relationship as the most important thing, if it is to survive a thrive. The best intentions will not be realized by someone, who is not receptive.

    I hope that all people who are genuine lovers of people, find this love reciprocated. Phil