Love is…kind. We’ve all seen it: when one spouse takes a verbal swipe at their partner with others around. Or when it’s obvious that a person is more about being served than serving in their marriage. The lack of kindness in a marriage can quickly dissolve the ties that bind.
For some, the unkindness shown in marriage cannot be undone. Many an unkind spouse has been served divorce papers and had to live alone because they chose not to right the wrongs of their behavior. Others have stood beside the casket or by the grave of the one who bore the brunt of their unkindness. Either outcome is filled with regret.
Og Mandino wrote, “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” We agree, and believe that should be lived out first and foremost in our marriages.
In the “love” chapter of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13), the Apostle Paul writes that “love is kind.” Here are five keys to keep in mind as you seek to bring kindness each day to your spouse as though it may be your last.
1. Kindness Is A Choice
It’s easy to be kind when we feel like it. When we’ve had a good day, our endorphins are pumping, the sun is shining and life is good we can easily feel and act kind to our spouse. But if the boss has growled, we feel sluggish, the kids have whined, and it’s poured rain we feel bad for ourselves and therefore we don’t feel or act kind.
But kindness isn’t based on how we feel. It is an act of love toward our spouse. Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross, but acted out of love for us. Make the decision to build your marriage by choosing to be kind regardless of how you feel.
2. Kindness Is Proactive
Kindness is not contingent on how our spouse has treated us. That would be conditional love. Instead, kindness is something that you initiate on behalf of your spouse.
Ask yourself: what would my husband/wife enjoy? What would they appreciate? Whatever it is, simply do it to practice kindness.
What is their love language? (touch, words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, acts of service) How can you “speak” their love language? For us, one of us desires quality time which entails eye-to-eye conversations. Kindness is shown by providing that as much and as often as possible. The other enjoys physical touch so a mindful squeeze of the hand, hug or spontaneous kiss is an act of love. You get the idea.
3. Kindness Is Still Honest
We have seen spouses that have refused to be honest in their marriage in the name of being “kind.” It is OK to speak the truth in marriage and do so with kindness and love. Part of practicing truth with kindness is choosing the best timing for your spouse to hear what you have to say. It also includes framing the conversation so that the focus is on the issue, and not name-calling or demeaning your partner.
4. Kindness May Require Sacrifice
Sacrifice means doing things that you personally don’t enjoy. If your spouse loves having their feet rubbed and you dislike touching feet, proactively offering a foot rub can be a loving act of kindness. You may want to ignore this point because you know what it means for you! But step up and serve your spouse the way Jesus served you.
5. Kindness Doesn’t Keep Score
Lastly, telling your spouse all the kind things you’ve done for them erases all of the kind things you’ve done for them. Just as love keeps no record of wrongs, it also keeps no record of rights. Lovingly show kindness without expecting commendation or recognition. Your kindness should be a regular and normal part of your marriage.
What have you or your spouse done to show kindness in marriage? Share them below and lets help each other as you build your marriage!