“Be kind and compassionate to one another….” Ephesians 4:32
Kindness and compassion are often desired and forgotten in the dailyness of marriage. Life gets busy. We may answer our spouse sharply. We don’t have the time or patience for their burdens because we have enough of our own. “Just pull it together and keep moving!” is what our attitude expresses. Instead of building our marriage in little ways each day, we slowly dismantle the relationship we’re to cherish the most.
“…stop passing judgment on one another.” Romans 14:13
“Stop judging me!” Judging, along with criticism, can be one of the greatest killers to marital unity. While criticism looks at words, actions and results–people who judge are condemning the person who does those things. A critic may say,” That’s a terrible idea!” But a judger would say, “Whoever came up with that idea is an idiot!”
Couple Working in Homeless Shelter — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
“…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24
We are introducing a new angle of motivation for most couples in their marriage. One of the roles each person has is to encourage their spouse to become the best person they possibly can be. This can take many forms including professionally, parentally, and spiritually.
The writer to the Hebrews in the Bible gives another approach to encourage people to be their best. He writes, “…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” (Hebrews 10:24).
Holidays can be stressful on a marriage. We WANT peace and joy, but often end up with tension and frustration. How can we navigate the holidays as a marital team so that we can embrace the celebration of the season?
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7
Acceptance in marriage is a key to feeling relationally safe. When we learn to communicate acceptance of our spouse we create an environment where understanding can flourish.
But acceptance can be hard. Unless this is learned early in a relationship, we can allow negativity toward our spouse to accumulate. We end up consciously and subconsciously conveying a message of rejection. Criticism becomes the norm. Defensiveness flares up quickly. Tempers can be short. Misunderstandings are frequent.
“Live in harmony with one another.” Romans 12:16
It’s no secret when there’s a lack of harmony in your marriage. You know it. Your spouse knows it. And probably the people around you know as well.
You didn’t get married and come together as one in order to live in a disconnected relationship. Your heart’s desire is to join with your spouse and be in a connected, harmonious, and loving relationship.
In his letter to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul admonished them to, “Live in harmony with one another.” But how do we live this out in the context of marriage? What are some things that we can do to lay the foundation for harmony with our spouse?
“Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10b
Over the past two years we’ve had the privilege of speaking for the Christian Law Enforcement Fellowship of San Diego’s marriage retreat. We love these men and women. We are so thankful for the sacrifice that these officers and their families make for their community’s protection. Being with them has given us an even greater respect for what these officers lay on the line every day.
Whenever we are in the presence of people who are in law-enforcement—at home or when traveling—we make it a point to try and tell them that we appreciate their work and service. It is our effort to honor these men and women.
“…just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34b-35
We wish that we could report that we always feel loving toward one another. After all, we have a ministry called “Build Your Marriage.” But the truth is, sometimes sin and selfishness creep in. We can get under each other’s skin. And while we are committed to and love each other, we don’t always feel loving.
It’s at moments like that when the Holy Spirit reminds us afresh of Jesus’ words about loving each other as he has loved us. Our faith in Christ has to work at home and in our marriage first.