Mark: Our emotions are important–God gave them to us. However they don’t always tell us the truth.
Jill: Emotions can be like waves that toss us to and fro…that’s why we need the anchor of Jesus Christ to give us a peace that passes understanding. It also gives us hope.
Mark: When I look back on our dark year, I was being led by my emotions, not by Christ or His Word. Oh I was still reading the Bible and going to church, but I was lord of my life…I was in the driver’s seat…or rather, my emotions were in the drivers seat.
Jill: The strongest emotion Mark felt during our crisis was hopelessness. If you’re hopeful, you believe there are ways to overcome your challenges. If you’re hopeless, you aren’t open to solutions that really can solve your problems.
Mark: Our ultimate hope is that there is nothing impossible with God. But when our emotions are driving us, they often overshadow that Truth.
Jill: I tend to be a “glass half full” gal and Mark tends to be a “glass half empty” guy, however the steadier he’s become spiritually and emotionally, the more he’s been able to keep hope on the horizon even in difficult circumstances. As a thinker and a “glass half full” person, I have to be careful not to minimize Mark’s feelings and concerns, though. His feelings are valid and I need to validate his feelings before helping him sort through them.
Mark: Bottom line, how you think and how you feel has a huge impact on whether you’ll be successful or not…in marriage and in life. There’s a reason the Bible tells us to take our thoughts captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5. We have to determine if those thoughts are really telling us the truth.
Jill: What if it’s your spouse that’s hopeless? What can you do to help them foster hope again? While you cannot directly control how someone else thinks or feels, you can foster hope in your spouse. You can hear your spouse’s concerns and address them in your own life.
Mark: When I saw Jill making changes–particularly when I felt she stopped parenting me–I didn’t trust the changes at first, but over time I began to have hope that things could be different in the future.
Jill: Even in the toughest situations like having a spouse leave, you can still make a difference. Yes a spouse leaving is out of your control but sometimes some of the factors that fostered them leaving ARE within your control. Are you defensive? Insensitive? Minimizing? Are you highly critical? Do you parent your spouse? Are your expectations off the charts?
Mark: Even in those cases, as soon as the value of coming back into the marriage is much greater than the value in leaving the marriage, a spouse may be able to consider the relationship again because there is HOPE.
Jill: Of course emotions can do a number on even the healthiest of marriages. You don’t have to be in a crisis to evaluate if you’re being tossed around by emotion or solidly anchored in Truth. If you’ve never evaluated that, today’s a great day to do that!
What about you? Are you hopeless or hope-filled? Led by your emotions or led by Truth?
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