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Have you ever noticed that when a group of the same sex gets together and starts talking about spouses, the majority of the time it turns to criticism.  A group of women gets together, and they start criticizing what their husbands do, or don’t do, they are frustrated because, “They never help out, ” “They don’t do anything”, “If he would pay attention to me as much as he does foot ball.”, “He only has one thing on his mind.”.  And, in fairness, it is the same way when men start talking about their wives, their “ball and chain”, or “all she ever does is nag, nag, nag”.

Now, if we are honest, and after all, that’s what this site is about is taking off the mask, there is a lot of truth in all of these statements.  Guys, seriously, couldn’t you do a little more to help out?  And, what if you did show as much passion for your wife as you do for your favorite hobby?  And, wives, in truth, don’t you sometimes nag your kids and turn right to your husband and nag him?  Plus, when you complain a lot, can’t you see how marriage can feel more like a ball and chain than a joy to come home to?  I’m just trying to be honest, not mean, not hurtful, just honest about who we are sometimes.  I am not justifying griping and complaining to others, but I do want us to be honest and realize that, sometimes, there is truth to the complaining.

Now, here is my challenge.  What if, next time you have the opportunity to gripe and complain about your spouse, even legitimately, you don’t.  I challenge you, next time your spouse has bugged you, and you are with the guys, or hanging out with your girlfriends, don’t grip.  More than that, I challenge you, find something kind to say about your spouse.  Find something nice.  Find a reason to compliment something they do.

Here’s what got me to thinking about this.  I was reading in Romans the other day, and ran across a few verses.  You see Paul is describing what a Christian should look like.  He has talked about how we have been saved, he has described what God has done for us, he has explained grace, and now he is telling us what a Christian should look like.  We all know that we don’t do this perfectly, but in general, this should be a good description.  Paul says (Romans 8:9-13 ESV)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[a] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

As I was reading this, I thought, “What if our marriages looked like this?”  What if we as husbands and wives truly loved each other, wanting to not only do good, but see the good in each other.  What if we tried to outdo each other in showing honor.  What if, when given the opportunity, publically or privately, instead of criticizing what he/she did or didn’t do, what if we honored them?  What if we served them?   What if, every chance we got, and even if we created a chance or two, we found a way to publically honor our spouse, especially when the world is criticizing theirs?  What if we privately honored our spouse?  What if we just said thank you?  For going to work, for cooking dinner, for watching the kids, for taking out the trash, for loving us?  What if we kept trying to outdo each other in honoring each other?  What if we showed zeal in our marriage, not just a quickly uttered, “I love you”, but an action that that took time and dedication and showed love, listening when you are tired, giving a hug when you are busy, smiling when you feel like frowning, complimenting when you feel like criticizing,

This is a powerful passage of what a Christian should look like, and it could change the world, but rather than keeping it ethereal, and out there, I challenge you to bring it home.  Make it yours.  Today, let this be a part of your marriage.

Let your love toward her, because of what Christ did for you, be real, Don’t be hateful or mean, or evil toward her, but hold fast to the work Christ is doing in her that is good.  Love her with actions, and affection, not just words.  Do everything you can do show her honor.  If she honors you, make it your goal to outdo her and show her even more honor.  Don’t get lazy, but zealously love her and do it passionately.  When you love her, your are loving the Lord.  Rejoice in the hope of what God is making her.  God is working and he is creating a masterpiece.  He will complete it, rejoice in His work.  Be patient when life gets stressful, don’t take it out on her, and when she is part of the problem, be even more patient.  You can do this by bringing everything to Christ in prayer.  Do whatever she needs, little or big, and find ways to take care of her.  Let your love reflect the love of Christ.

What if this was the kind of love we showed our spouses, a love that depended, not on how we felt toward them, but on how Christ feels toward us.  That could change the world!!!!

 

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