February 21, 2023

Actions of Love, Feelings of Love

Written by Shana Schutte

Loving feelings come when we choose to do the actions of love.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 21, 2023

You yourselves have been taught by God to love one another. 1 Thessalonians 4:9

In an article titled, “I Didn’t Love My Wife When We Got Married,” Elad Nehorai shares how passionate he was about his beloved when they first met. 

I’m a ridiculous, emotional, over-sentimental sap. I guess that’s why I told my wife I loved her on our second date. 

I had tried really hard up to that point to hold it back, honestly. I wanted to tell her on the first date, but I knew that would probably be weird.

I still remember her reaction. She kind of gave me this half-shy, half-amused smile. Then she nodded and looked off into the sky.

I wasn’t heartbroken by the response. I think part of me recognized that she was much smarter and more modest than me.

And that whole time I was swooning. This fire was burning in me . . .I was in love.

But after marriage everything changed for Elad. The “fire of emotion” that initially motivated him to show his wife he cared slipped away—and marriage felt like work. But then he discovered something powerful: Whenever he offered to help around the house “there would be this look she would give me. This look of absolute love. One that was soft and so beautiful.” 

Over time it became clear to Elad that through serving his wife that the fire of emotion that he so desperately sought to hold onto naturally bloomed once more. “It wasn’t something I could force, just something that would come about as a result of my giving,” he writes. 

During the courtship phase of romance, perhaps you had butterflies. Maybe you experienced the “fire” Elad describes. Perhaps you couldn’t wait to see your beloved and your every thought was about spending time together. 

These feelings are delightful and can be a powerful motivator to do good to your loved one. But deep—and real—love comes when we choose to do the actions of love and our relationship will not be tossed about by fickle feelings. 

In his book, The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller writes: 

The feeling of affection, of course, is a natural part of love, and it can enable us to perform the actions of love. We are never more satisfied and fulfilled than when affection and action are joined in us, when we are serving someone we delight in. Nevertheless, if we don’t distinguish between feelings and actions, it can put huge barriers in the way of loving people. 

One reason we need to make this distinction is because of the sheer, inconsistency of our feelings . . .our emotions are not under our control, but our actions are. What matters is what we do with [our feelings]. If we only feel that actions of love are ‘authentic’ if there are strong feelings of love present—we will inevitably be bad . . . spouses.

To choose to do the actions of love and to serve another is one of the highest honors of life. This is the kind of love Jesus has for us . . .consistent, sacrificial, and filled with grace.

Will you choose to serve your beloved today?


Lord, help me to sacrificially serve. In doing so, I will create good feelings of love and I will model your example of giving. Amen.


Put what you learned today into action.

Related Reading

Ecclesiastes 4:12; John 15:12-13; 1 Peter 4:8

Worship Resource

The Belonging Company: Love Like This


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