“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.
When people stand before a judge, they call him, “Your Honor.” When talking with one’s doctor, we say “Yes, sir” or “Yes, ma’am.” When speaking with a member of the clergy, that individual is generally treated with a degree of honor and respect as well.
When a couple is dating they are very careful about showing honor to each other. But at some point after a couple gets married the level of care and respect starts to dissipate.
The apostle Paul wrote that Christians are to “honor one another above yourselves.” In the original Greek language, the word “honor” means, “to value, or to treat as valuable, or precious.” But how does that play out in marriage? How do we reinstill the concept of honoring our spouse?
Here are four ideas to keep in mind when seeking to honor your spouse:
1. See your spouse through God’s eyes.
Your spouse was “knit together….fearfully and wonderfully made” in their mother’s womb by God (Psalm 139:13-14). He created them with a purpose. They have value to him, just as you do. He loves your spouse like crazy and wants the best for them. That’s why he gave his best, his Son, for them and for you.
Remind yourself each day of this simple truth. Perhaps say a simple prayer like, “God, you love my spouse so much. Help me to see them through your eyes. Help me to love them with your love.”
2. Appreciate their unique qualities.
It can be easy to get frustrated with what our spouse doesn’t do well. In fact, we can create a running list in our mind of the things that we wish they would do better.
Instead, make the concerted effort to focus on what they do well. Tell them the good things that you see. Reaffirm to them what you believe they can do and accomplish. Recognize the things that they can do better than you. As you practice doing this, you will gain a renewed sense of awe in who God has given you as your spouse.
3. Treat them with care.
Through the years we’ve had the opportunity to handle rare books. We’ve seen signed copies of books by famous authors like Samuel Clemens, Longfellow, or Stevenson. When we have these works in our hands we hold them tenderly…carefully! We are cautious when turning the pages. We treat them like that because of how precious and valuable they are.
In a similar way, we are to treat our spouse tenderly. Tender in the way that we speak to them. Tender in the way that we look after them. Tender in the way that we speak about them to others. When we do so, we are showing honor to the one we value the most.
4. Defer to their interests.
In a dishonoring marriage, spouses look to their own interests. They’re fighting for control. They are maneuvering to have the best for themselves.
The Apostle Paul says that we are to honor one another above ourselves. That means having an attitude that seeks the best first for our spouse. A simple question to ask yourself is, “Am I looking out for myself in this situation, or am I considering what’s best for my spouse?” Over time, you will train yourself to defer gladly do your spouse’s best interest.
Try applying these ideas this week as you honor your spouse and build your marriage!