Regulating the Thermostat


In your house, I’m sure you have a thermostat that controls the heating and/or air conditioning. On that thermostat there is also a thermometer that shows the actual temperature. Of course, the thermostat is the more important of the two, because it actually controls the environment. The thermometer merely reflects the work of the thermostat.

In marriage, you must determine what the thermostat of your relationship is going to be—emotion or decision. In other words, how are you going to control the atmosphere of your relationship? Is it going to be determined by how you feel or by deciding to do the right thing regardless of how you feel?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

When you build your marriage upon the thermostat of decision, it doesn’t mean that emotions aren’t important. It simply means that both of you are willing to act above your emotions if they are negative or passive. Because you act in a positive and proactive manner on a consistent basis, your emotions become the thermometer of the marriage that reflects a stable and passionate relationship.

But when emotions are the thermostat of your marriage, you’re in for a rough ride. The dangerous thing about living based on emotion is the inconsistency of it. You simply cannot predict your emotions. You never know when you are going to feel up or down. But even worse than that is the fact that the more you act upon your emotions, the more unsuccessful life becomes, which produces even more negative emotions—and then more negative behavior.

You’ve probably heard me say this before, but love is a decision, not an emotion. True love is the choice to do the right thing for the object of your affection regardless of negative circumstances or the other person’s behavior. It also includes the decision to be committed through every phase, challenge, and season of marriage without wavering.

Don’t worship your emotions. They will lead you to a rollercoaster ride of frustration and failure. Worship God and let His love be the standard for your own. God’s love is stable and consistent. Through the ups and downs of life, His love for you never changes.

Talk It Out

Is it time for a new thermostat in your marriage? Think of a situation when your emotions caused you to respond negatively to each other. What choices could you make to be proactive in changing that behavior before your emotions take control?

Walk It Out

Go on a lunch date this week, just the two of you. Try out a special restaurant you wouldn’t normally go to, and choose a day when your schedule isn’t rushed so that you can spend a little extra time just relaxing and talking about the events of your week.


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