Mercy from a "Feeling" Heart
[I am] one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 7:25
"My husband has as much feeling as a machine." "She makes love to me with as much passion as a cardboard box."
These are common complaints from married people in today's world. Couples want to "feel" love but have no idea what those feelings really are.
Our world emphasizes achievement and performance to the exclusion of emotional development. Young children learn to tie shoes and count to ten, but how do they learn how to identify their feelings? Older children begin the treadmill of endless activities, but how do they learn to deal with normal fears and disappointments? Adolescents focus on athletics, academics, or popularity, but how do they learn to heal hurts from normal teen life? Most don't learn these things; instead they get married.
Scripture reveals the Lord as a God who "feels." His heart is touched with grief (Genesis 6:6), disappointment (Matthew 26:40-41), and compassion (Psalm 103:13). How could the God who "is love" not be one who longs to relate to us with love from the heart? And how could this God not want us to relate to one another in the same way?
Our work with couples often has to start with the emotional basics, starting with this one: Feelings are not opinions. For example, "I feel like you're not handling the kids right" is an opinion. But "I feel lonely when we've not had quality private time together" is a feeling. We help couples learn to name their feelings and work on healing unresolved feelings from the past. That way, anger is put away (Ephesians 4:31), fear is cast out (1 John 4:18-19), and mourning is comforted (Matthew 5:4).
When couples take these steps, they can enter into the love of marriage with a merciful heart, just as God intended.
What can you and your spouse do to better verbalize your feelings?
Thanks, Father, that You've created me to feel.