Friday, January 12, 2018

Saving Your Marriage: You Can't Derive 'Ought' From Feeling

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In moments of marital crisis it is not unusual for one person to say, "I have no feeling left for my marriage." Sadly, that's normal. But if one uses this fact as a premise in the following argument, they are misguided.

1) I have no feeling for my marriage.

2) Therefore, I will not work to save my marriage.

That conclusion does not follow, morally. Feelings cannot determine 'oughtness,' what is right to do. The real question is: What does God want me to do? 

The answer to this question trumps feelings every time. Do the right thing, irregardless of feelings. This is a matter of duty, not emotion.

This applies to everyone who wants to succeed at something. The athlete who only trains when they feel like falls short of their potential. The graduate student who only studies when they have positive feelings will fail. The parent who only parents when they feel like it is irresponsible. When it comes to doing the right thing, or doing what is needed to succeed, the lack of feeling or negative feelings are irrelevant.

If you do what God wants irregardless of how you feel about it, feelings will eventually come. The resultant feelings will be deeper and more profound than feelings of mere aversion or attraction. They include gratefulness, fulfillment, and satisfaction.

God wants you to partner with him in saving your failing marriage. This is what every marital partner ought to do, regardless of negative or neutral feelings.