Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is not meant to be complicated!
I am someone who has to have rules, guidelines or some sort of list to follow in order to feel I am succeeding at something. Thankfully, God made it very easy for us to love others because he laid out the guidelines for us. Sometimes I think we complicate our marriage so much and that in turn makes it near impossible to love our spouse properly. Following God’s rules makes simply loving your spouse not only possible, but enjoyable.
Any relationship that you have with another person is going to be difficult if you lack patience. We are all sinners and we are all born selfish. Some of us learn how to become less selfish, but maybe your spouse is not there yet. You must display patience in times of strife with your husband. It not only is good for you soul and emotional health, but it is what God has asked of you.
When you display your patience during confrontation with your spouse, you are making God visible to him. He may not recognize it as God, but over time he will. You are being a living example of Christ every time you hold your tongue, stop yourself from rolling your eyes or speak calmly instead of hashing out insults. Plus, it is showing him respect.
No, I am not saying you should allow yourself to be a doormat. I am saying that allowing your husband his feelings and opinions, while responding through the spirit and not with your emotions, is being respectful of him and his views.
This should honestly be the easiest one. I mean how hard can it be to show kindness in your marriage, right? Well surprisingly it is incredibly hard. I think if you jotted down every time in a 24-hour period that you thought negatively, spoke with anything other than love, or acted rudely towards your husband, that you would be well surprised how many notes you take throughout that day.
It is hard to not roll your eyes or get annoyed with your spouse. We should show kindness though, instead of letting our emotions get the best of us. Stop thinking negatively about him, replace these bad thoughts with positive ones. Do you think Jesus enjoyed the insults thrown at him during his ministry? I am sure he didn’t, but he still showed kindness in those difficult moments.
Jesus prays for his enemies and loves those who persecute him. No, your husband is not an enemy or persecuting you, but he does things that can cause resentment or bitterness to build up in your heart and make you unkind. Be like Jesus and show kindness and love, pray for him and continue striving to see him through our Father’s eyes when he is difficult.
Do Not Be Envious
Okay so I am sure this part of the verse can be interpreted differently for each person. I am interpreting it how I think it applies to most marriages though. In a marriage, or any partnership really, there are specific roles we have been given. For you it may be that your husband works, while you stay home with the kids.
If this is your situation then you have at some point probably felt jealous that your husband has adult conversation all day, while you have baby talk. Your husband has vacations, several breaks throughout the day, and days off. You have none of that. Sometimes we feel our given role is worse than our partners, but God gives us the role he needs us to fill at any given time in our lives.
Do not be jealous of your husband’s role and do not hackle him about these “luxuries” he has. Could he do what you do as well as you do it? Probably not, vice versa you probably could not do his job either. Respect his sacrifice and I hope he respects yours. I have done both working outside of the home and staying at home and I can say in all honesty both were equally as hard for me. I put in just as much time either way.
Working moms do not have days off and vacations either, so yes your husband isn’t still “working” when he is off work, but God did not give men the same strengths as women. And maybe if you start looking at your own strengths–time management, energy to keep things constantly running smoothly, and maternal instinct–then you will not have as much time to be jealous of what you think your husband has, that you don’t.
Do Not Boast or Be Proud
I cannot tell you the number of times I have witnessed a wife criticizing her husband for what he cannot do, that she can. No, he may not be as patient with the children or as good at keeping the house clean if he is there all day, but he IS good at other things, that you fail at. God does not want us to break our spouses down for what we can do that they cannot, he calls us to encourage and build up others with our words.
Are you building your spouse up or are you breaking him down and making him feel inadequate? Again this is a form of disrespect. Do not place yourselves above others, instead live as Jesus did and place yourself in a humble position always. Praise your husband for what he can do and DO NOT make a point of showing what you can do to him. Let him notice what you do well in his own time. Until then, building him up will hopefully encourage him to start building you up as well.
How is the 31 Day Marriage Challenge going for you? Let me know in the comments below!
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