Our emotions are a warning system God graciously gave us to attract attention to the sin in our hearts. When we’re not experiencing loving feelings toward our husbands, that’s an alarm going off: ding, ding, ding. There may be sin that needs attention. I keep one of Jonathan Edwards resolutions in front of my devotional notebook and seek to make it my personal resolution. He said, "Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination.”Whenever our “sin alarm” (unloving feelings) goes off, we must examine our hearts and repent of any sin we find there. This is how we maintain a tender love toward our husbands. (bolding mine)-from Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn MahaneyAre you loving your closest neighbors?
My dear husband has often said that we can't really love our next door neighbor (Galatians 5:14) until we first love our closest neighbor - our spouse. He has told me that the order should be something like this: God, husband/wife (our closest and dearest neighbor), children, world.
Voddie Baucham writes this in Family Driven Faith, "It is my relationship with my wife and children that gives my walk with Christ legitimacy....If my wife does not qualify as my neighbor, who does? How could I possibly make an argument for the integrity of my walk with Christ if I can't love my closest neighbors?"