Today we’re talking about kindness. Everyone knows what kindness is. It is the one trait that sends us into our day with a smile on our face. It is the one trait missing when we’ve been cut off in traffic. Our roads are certainly lacking this fruit of kindness by the drivers we pass day after day. But what about our marriages?
Do you treat your spouse with kindness, or more with an “I expect you to be this way,” attitude? Many a quarrel has been averted by exercising this one fruit of the Spirit.
Here’s an example. Imagine a Mom having her hands full all day of disobedient children who have accidents, fights and tempers flaring seemingly non-stop since the rooster crowed. In walks her husband who drops everything to help her finish her day well. Exhausted they both plop on the couch very aware of each others need for kindness. Her husband demonstrated a great kindness to her. Rather than place high expectations of what he needed from her, he stooped to show kindness. How like Christ, who came to us not to be served, but to serve. He stooped to show us kindness so we would go and do likewise.
Another example, a father spends an entire day at work being criticized for a job he thought he did well. The discouragement is compounded when his sister calls reprimanding him for missing their lunch appointment. He had completely forgotten lunch, but he assured her he never forgets her! She wasn’t convinced and ended the conversation abrubtly. Finally this dad heads to his car where he discovers the entire driver’s side has been keyed. That’s the final blow – he becomes angry. Driving home only adds to his frustration. As he walks in the door, his wife has no idea of the struggles he’s faced. There has been no time to communicate. Had she known she may have been prepared to treat him kindly, but she knows him! She knows him better than anyone else, but the question is – will she judge him based on what she knows of him or based on what she’s expecting from him?
These are real life snippets. Each of us face challenging days where trouble piles upon trouble. It can become a real mess with no real answers. But kindness provides a soft pillow where the weary can rest their head as they wait for answers.
Are you practicing kindness with your spouse, even when you don’t understand what’s going on? This is one fruit of the Spirit which we know how to cultivate, but the question remains – are we?
I challenge every couple interested in attaining a deeper relationship with one another to take just these two passages, Galatians 5:22-23, and 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7, and mediate upon them. Decide as a couple to “digest these fruits,” to embrace these ideals and ask God to shine his light of wisdom and insight upon you both as you delve deeper into the meanings behind these enduring truths.
Make a pledge to one another that these are the standards by which you are measuring your relationship. Take them one by one and embrace them without reservation, until you fully understand them and can more easily put them into practice. Be patient with one another, as enlightenment, comprehension and mastery will be attained at your own individual pace (remember that patience and kindness are two of the cornerstones of this formula)!
The quote above is from an excellent article we found on Crosswalk.com by Deborah J. Thompson. She makes it clear that the formula for having an enduring marriage is found in two sections of Scripture. They just happen to be the two passages we’ve been studying for the good part of this year; 1 Corinthians 13 and Galatians 5.
So this week let’s look for opportunities to CHOOSE to be kind to one another. It may just be the cornerstone of the firm foundation needed in your marriage to make it last a lifetime.