As a pastor, I’ve heard these sad words off the lips of more men than I can recall. Face after face, relationship after relationship suffers at the hands of this game of emotions.
My first response (once the guy’s done talking) is usually the Tina Turner song title: “What’s love got to do with it?”
While I certainly don’t mean the concept of the song, I often talk about the utter worthlessness of the statement of “I don’t love her.” Often what’s happened is a lack of good fertilizer in the mind and heart of those men that has resulted in a dying “yard.”
My counsel often further comes at the wisdom of Proverbs 5, which opens in verses 1 and 2 with this:
My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.
These opening phrases begin a lengthy section about marital faithfulness. Yet, here in these verses we find no direct mention of marriage. Strange for an introduction, huh?
Or is it…
There’s a powerful warning embedded in these little verse. We’re cautioned to listen careful to the words of our teacher so we can maintain “discretion.” We hear this word and we immediately think of issues of privacy or being “discreet.” We might even think about this verse is talking about modesty. But it isn’t.
In Hebrew (the original language of most of the Old Testament), the word translated “discretion” refers to our ability to discern truth from error—right from wrong. At the least, it refers to our consciences but at its heart this word refers to our heart’s ability to maintain synchronization with the Lord’s commandments and wisdom for a blessed life.
The beginning of our ability to have a healthy relationship of any sort—and certainly a marriage, is our Biblically empowered “discretion.” As disciples of Jesus, we need to cultivate the ability to know right from wrong in all circumstances when it comes to our marriages.
And this “discretion”—this ability to know the truth from a lie also is accompanied by the desire that our “lips may preserve knowledge.” When we embrace the Biblical definition of right and wrong, wise and foolish, beneficial and harmful, our lifestyles reflect it. How many times have we been tempted (in any number of circumstances) with the lie of “the grass is greener on the other side”?
But it isn’t. It just has different fertilizer.
When we are Biblically discreet and our mouths—even our lifestyles—reflect the knowledge of the Bible’s commands for righteous, healthy, good, whole, and blessed living, our primary human relationship (our marriage) is the model of it.
The reason this section of Proverbs opens its discussion about marital faithfulness is because adultery doesn’t begin with our bodies. Read this slowly: adultery always starts with our minds.
Feed your mind with Biblical-based fertilizer. Let your life be a model of this saturation. And watch the fruit of your marriage begin to reflect the life Jesus has given you.