True Love Is Not a Feeling

“I just don’t feel like I love him anymore.”

“The feeling isn’t there.”

“I’ve fallen out of love with her.”

Sad and unfortunate statements like this happen frequently in marriage counseling sessions the world over. But the problem with words like this is that they reveal a very wrong perspective about love. You see, whatever you feel or don’t feel about your spouse (or any other person) has very little to do with love. Why? Because love is not a feeling.

Whatever you feel or don’t feel about your spouse has very little to do with love.

So, if love is not a feeling, then what is it? That’s a good question. God calls every Christian husband to love his wife (Eph. 5:25). But that’s not all. He actually calls all believers to love one another (Jn. 13:34). Now, nestled within both of these commands is an essential explanation of true love, the way God intends it to be. John describes this love as the kind that Christ exhibited towards his disciples (“as I have loved you”). Then Paul describes it as the kind that Christ exhibited towards the church (“as Christ loved the church”). And Paul describes this further when he says “and gave himself for it.”

True love is an action, not a feeling. It is choosing to act in the best interest of another person, at the expense of your own interests and regardless of your own feelings. That’s how Christ gave himself for his disciples and the church. Do you recall his agony in the olive grove prior to his betrayal and arrest? He prayed with great sorrow and emotion if there was any way to avoid the judgment of God on the cross (Mark 14:32-42). Even the divine Son of God wrestled with contrary feelings prior to his greatest, ultimate act of love on our behalf.

True love is an action, not a feeling.

Marriage gets real and goes long when one spouse or both determines to love the other regardless of feelings, and regardless of what they offer you in return. True love chooses to meet the needs of your spouse, or your fellow believer, at your own expense. This is the kind of love that wins. It conquers you first, then it captures the heart of others. Jesus died on the cross and did not back away, despite contrary feelings. Will you depend on him to love your spouse and your fellow believers the same way?

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