How are you doing in the area of kindness towards your spouse? These have been trying times for everyone and none are affected more by our discontent than our spouse. I have noticed this in my own heart, which has led me to consider how much I need the kindness born by the Spirit of God.
I can choose to be kind in my own strength, but it won’t last when the pressure mounts. The only kindness that lasts is from God. He modeled perfect kindness when He stooped to our level in order to restore us to the Father. His kindness made a way for mercy.
Consider these words written by Paul to the church in Colossae:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
This scripture holds enough truth for us to practice for a lifetime. It commands us to put on 8 things in our dealings with others. Let’s consider our spouse and honestly evaluate how we are doing in each area in regards to how we are treating the love of our life.
1. Compassionate Hearts – How do you handle it when your spouse is hurting either physically, emotionally or circumstantially? Are you kind? Or are you tempted to be angry with the inconvenience to your schedule? These are hard questions, but ones we must consider if we are to accurately assess the condition of our heart. Being compassionate is putting ourselves in the place of another and doing whatever we can to help alleviate the suffering.
Let’s be compassionate towards our spouse.
2. Kindness – This is likened to mercy in the Bible. Mercy is God’s willingness to not give us what we deserve. Instead He shows mercy and draws us close to Him. How do we treat our spouse when they’ve wronged us, whether intentional or not? Do we take time to explain our hurt? Or do we lash back because in our eyes they deserve it? Do we draw near to them or push them away?
Let’s be kind towards our spouse.
3. Humility – This isn’t thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. I’m afraid this is one in which I often stumble. I am tempted to think too much of what Tom is or isn’t doing. This is simply pride manifesting itself in my heart, mind and actions. If I catch it I can remember that God gives grace to the humble. I can repent and ask Him to forgive me of my pride. How I need His help to overcome this one. How about you? Do you struggle in this area?
Let’s be humble towards our spouse.
4. Meekness – Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines this as mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked. I wish I could say that I excel in meekness, but without the Lord’s help continually I would stumble often in this regard. It seems the older I get the more I struggle too. I’d like to blame it on hormones, but that would be just an excuse. Certainly hormones can effect moods, but the Lord is sovereign over these as well. We must submit ourselves to His rule and reign to grow in this area.
Let’s be meek towards our spouse.
5. Patience – many joke that they would never pray for patience because the Lord would send trying situations to help us learn it the hard way. But God doesn’t treat us this way. He wants us to pursue patience because it is a fruit of His Spirit at work in our hearts. We draw near to Him and He causes the fruit to mature for His glory. Are you finding yourself impatient with your husband/wife? Do you resent having to forgive them again? Repent and ask God to fill you afresh with ahis Holy Spirit.
Let’s be patient towards our spouse.
6. Bearing with one another – Tom and I have been nipping at each other recently and it has caused us both to wonder why. We realized we aren’t bearing with each other. If we misunderstand something we tend to react instead of overlooking it. In fact this was the motivation for finding this scripture and diving into what it means. How are you handling misunderstandings lately. Don’t be surprised if you need to give this area some attention. These days have been trying for everyone. You and your spouse are no exception.
Let’s bear with our spouse.
7. Forgiveness – I love that this one follows all the ones previous. At this point I’m sensing a gratefulness for the forgiveness God has extended to me. With this fresh realization it makes it easier to pursue growth in these areas. Forgiveness opens the door for God’s grace to help me do and be what I couldn’t be in my own strength. God isn’t seeking me to be a perfect spouse. He wants to be all this through me, so He gets the glory and our marriage benefits. It stands as a testimony to what God can do in a marriage surrendered to Him.
Let’s be forgiving towards our spouse.
8. Love – 1 Peter 4:8 says that love covers a multitude of sins. What great news! Marriage is so much more than choosing to love one another. It is this and all the others mentioned above. The best news is love is what binds us together in perfect harmony.
Let’s be loving towards our spouse.
Tom and I enjoy watching The Voice. My favorite part is when they do the knockout rounds and singers are paired together to sing in harmony. One thing you can tell though, is when one sings off key the whole performance suffers. Even if the other singer is on pitch. It is the same in marriage. If you or your spouse stumbles in one or more of these areas, know that your marriage is off key. It needs to be tuned with love by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let Him have His full way with you. Even if your spouse isn’t on board just yet. It is amazing what God can do with one heart who is willing to embrace this kindness that binds together in perfect harmony.