a.k.a. “How to Have a Great Marriage (part five)”
If You Love Me, You’ll Be Nice to Me
Love is kind (I Corinthians 13:4).
Kindness is one of those things that can be hard to define, but you know it when you see it. It’s being friendly. It’s smiling. It’s showing someone that you are interested in them as a person. It’s taking time to be there for them and lending a helping hand. It’s taking the time to listen to what they have to say. Not just sitting there while they’re talking, but actually listening.
Kindness is not these things:
- yelling at someone.
- being mean.
- treating them like they’re worthless.
In order to have a great marriage, a God-honoring marriage, you must be kind to your spouse. You want your spouse to be nice to you, right? You don’t want a mean husband or a cantankerous wife. So, you be the kind spouse YOU are supposed to be.
You have no right to tell your wife to be kind to you if you’re a jerk to her. And vice versa.
Some husbands ignore their wives–not paying attention to what they say, not paying attention to what they need. In short, they aren’t being kind to their wives, and they need to repent.
Kindness means you give your spouse a smile. Kindness means you stop what you’re doing and listen to her when she needs to talk. Kindness means you listen to him talk about sports, even if it’s more boring than reading stereo instructions. Again, it’s not just being quiet; it’s actually listening to them.
You have to show your spouse that you care.
Get out your steel-toed boots, because it’s toe-stomping time! Let’s notice how God put this together. Love is patient and is kind (I Corinthians 13:4). He connected these two.
When your spouse does something you don’t like, you’re supposed to be patient with them. And you’re supposed to be kind to them.
Do you realize what this means? This means, even when you’re mad at your husband, you don’t yell at him. You don’t scream at him. You don’t ignore him. You don’t treat him like he’s scum. You don’t make out like he’s the most horrible thing since moldy bread. You don’t decide it’s a good time to bring up all of his past mistakes.
This means when you’re upset with your wife, you don’t insult her. You don’t yell at her. You don’t throw things. You don’t berate her. You don’t say things like “you never do this,” or “you ALWAYS do that.” You don’t start bossing her around.
And—whether you’re the husband or the wife—DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT say, “If you REALLY loved me, you wouldn’t do that.” That’s an emotional attack and an insult to them, and it is NOT showing love or kindness or patience when you say it.
Instead, you treat your spouse with kindness—even when they’ve messed up.
The question now comes up, what if your spouse has stopped trying? What if your spouse has shown over a period of time WITHOUT QUESTION that he/she doesn’t care? That they think you’re unimportant? That they think you’re not worth trying for? Are you still expected to be patient and kind to them then?
And the answer is this: the Bible says to love one another. It’s a command. It doesn’t say, “Love one another so long as it’s convenient.” It doesn’t say “love one another so long as that person is trying”. It says “Love one another” PERIOD.
So, since we are commanded to love one another, we must be patient with our spouse. Since we’re commanded to love one another, we must be kind to our spouse. ALL the time, not just when it suits us.
Because, let’s be honest. Yelling and being mean isn’t going to get anyone to change.
If you want your spouse to change, I guarantee you that yelling, screaming, berating, or being mean is NOT going to get it done. But patience and kindness can. They are much more powerful than anger. “God has called us to peace. For what do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, oh man, whether you will save your wife?” (I Corinthians 7:15-16).
If you REALLY love me, you’ll be kind. Because love is kind.
Putting It Into Practice
Now if you put your boots away, get ’em back out because here is where it REALLY starts to hurt.
You’re in the middle of a head-butting session with your spouse. They’re being unreasonable. They’re being hard-headed. And you’re ready to just put them in their place, Bible-style! So, you open up your mouth and say, “Hey, the Bible says that if you love me, you’ll be kind!”
And you know that will completely fix things immediately. Your spouse will stop and look at you and with a bright sincere smile on their face say, “you’re right. I’m sorry. I should never have been fighting with you.” I hope you’ve caught the sarcasm there.
No, that’s nothing more than using your own bad attitude to attack someone else.
Instead, you need to talk to yourself (you’re the only one you can control) and say, If I really love her/him, I’ll be kind. If I really love her/him, I’ll be patient.
See, they’ll have to answer for their own attitude problems. You have to control what YOU are doing.
If you REALLY love me, you’d be patient and kind to me. That is 100% true. But you must first start with the log sticking out of your own eye and admit, “If I REALLY love you, I’ll be patient and kind to you.”
YOU need to be the one to start. YOU need to be the one to take the first step. YOU need to be the one who shows patience and kindness—because if you don’t, it means you don’t really love them.
Love is patient. Love is kind.
Think about it. It’s worth the effort.