Sometimes basic biblical teachings get pushed aside as if they apply to everyone else, except people who are married to each other. While we are rightly instructed from the pulpit to love both our neighbors and our enemies, sometimes little mention is given to the special love God wants husbands and wives to share. Worse yet, we seem to embrace the world’s view of marriage relationships that diminished affection and courtesy, waning desire for one another’s company, and tolerating each other out of habit are to be expected and subsequently that truly loving each other for a lifetime is an outdated fantasy that only happens for a few.
There is another thing that keeps us from obeying God’s commands to reflect His amazing love in our marriages. Unwittingly we may believe that marriage entitles us to lose our manners – that marital love understandably may settle into a half-hearted, lukewarm relationship with a spouse we are bound to stay with by duty. Further, we don’t need to bestow any compliments, smiles, flirtations or other nods to the femininity or masculinity of our spouses.
This person that wakes up with us every day, shares our sorrows and joys, and puts up with our faults, deserves less courtesy than other people who only have to tolerate us from time to time. Now, I would agree with you that common sense says that it is natural to eventually begin to take one another for granted and to stop putting our best foot forward once we have walked down the aisle. Might this be common sense? Yes. Scriptural? Not even a little bit.
3 Things God Commands for husbands and wives.
1. Be kind to one another.
Your husband or wife is a child of God. He or she is not only your spouse, but also your brother or sister in Christ. If we trust the Bible, we know that there is a minimum standard for how we are to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ. When it comes to our spouses most of us do not meet even the minimum standard. Sarcasm, unkind words, dismissiveness, lack of courtesy and rudeness are not acceptable towards strangers, neighbors, children, or our brothers and sisters in Christ, and therefore of course are not acceptable behavior towards our spouse. Certainly, being kind to one’s husband or wife is required to please God.
As Christians, why wouldn’t we automatically dial up the kindness towards the person we have promised to love, honor and cherish? Unfortunately, we often accept the world’s “common sense” standard for marriage instead of God’s standard. We’ve all met the brother in the church who always has something nice to say, is so encouraging with the kids he coaches, and is very considerate to everyone. Well, everyone except his wife – who must be very undeserving since he is so kind to everyone else! And let’s not forget, the sister in the church who seems to adore so many of the men who serve in ministry, yet rarely misses an opportunity to be dismissive of her own husband’s efforts. Unfortunately, it is not rare for people, even in the church to show more kindness, humor, attentiveness and consideration to strangers, co-workers and friends than they show to their husbands or wives.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Rom. 12:10
2. Reconcile problems in a loving way.
What if you and your spouse are angry with each other and can’t seem to resolve it? Remember that you love each other and act like it even when there is an issue to resolve. Being married does not mean God looks the other way when you degrade your husband or belittle your wife, or let issues go unresolved. Marriage is not so unimportant to God that He permits either person to treat the other one with less consideration than any other brother or sister in Christ. There is no scriptural basis to support such a view. God is love. He has standards for how we are to treat one another. When problems linger longer than they should, I encourage you to meditate on the following scriptures separately and together. There is no special exception for married couples. These scriptures apply to all of us.
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Eph. 4:26-27
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander, be put away from you along with all malice”. Eph. 4:31
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” II Cor. 13:11
3. Do not stop loving one another and being loving to one another.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
“and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,” 1 Thess. 3:12
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” Eph. 5:25
“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Eph. 5:33
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” I Cor. 13:4-8
Do not give in to unscriptural ideas that love is something you fall in and out of. Love purposely. And if you have given your spouse reason to feel as God spoke of the church in Rev. 2:4 that you have abandoned the love you had at first for him or her, the Bible has an answer for that. Remember the height from which you have fallen – or if you have never been as loving as you should have been, remember God’s standard. Then repent. Finally, the Bible says DO the things that you did at first. If you have always been lacking in making the effort – start doing the things you should have been doing all along.
Until you can find the Bible verse that says you don’t have to do what is right because of “insert your favorite excuse here“, don’t keep quoting it as if it is on par with the Word of God. Give in to God’s will and love your husband or wife with all your might.
The world says love diminishes, fades, and that we fall in and out of it. The Bible says, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it…” Song of Solomon 8:7a
The world says, this is the way I feel. I can’t help it. The Bible says, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Col. 3:19
The world says, I don’t know how to love that way. I didn’t experience it growing up. The Bible says, “and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,” Titus 2:4
The world says, it is only natural to lose interest. The Bible says, “Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” Prov. 5:17-19
The world says, it’s natural to cut back on the enthusiasm and favor that you once displayed towards your spouse.
The Bible says, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” Revelation 2:4-5a
Don’t accept the limits the world places on love. Choose to believe God when He says that your love can’t be quenched, that it will grow and deepen. Imagine the blessings that will result when we love our husbands and wives the way that God wants us to. Remembering to treat each other at least as nicely as we treat others is a wonderful place to start, but it is only the beginning. The depth of love between husbands and wives committed to serving God will produce the kind of love that is more satisfying than we can even imagine.
“You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!” Song of Solomon 4:9-10
“His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.” Song of Solomon 5:16
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