It sounds great—“If you want a good marriage, make sure God is in the center of it.” Yeah? What on earth does that mean—to place God in the center? It makes sense that you build a good marriage that way, but how … exactly?
I’m the first to admit that marriage is hard work—as are most things of true value. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that little is more important in a marriage than ten things—the first two of which are kindness to one another (unprecedented and over-the-top) and placing God in the center. I’ll talk about the rest in upcoming posts.
My very wise father once said that kindness was an ingredient missing from all failing marriages, and most could benefit greatly from adding it back—even those enduring extreme circumstances. Although this may seem somewhat obvious, it isn’t easy if a couple is floundering. Kindness, or more accurately the lack of it, can be used as a weapon that we may feel is justified under certain circumstances. But scripture does not support such a view. In fact, it contradicts it.
In 1 Corinthians 13, we read in verses 4-7,
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.
The love is patient part we have all heard many times and understand that patience is an important but elusive goal, a path fraught with obstacles. But we know it’s a course we need to pursue. Patience in marriage is achieved only by hard work and determination. Some will find this easier than others, but it’s important for all.
But we don’t want to skip over the and kind that comes immediately after. We’re told that love is kind—a statement of fact. In order to show love to one another (especially in marriage) kindness is a key ingredient. Unkindness, however, appears for a variety of reasons. We may feel that the harsh attitude of our spouse in a given situation justifies our harsh (unkind) response … but it doesn’t because scripture says it doesn’t.
That’s why in the following verses we see that love is not only kind, it also doesn’t envy, boast or insist on getting it’s own way. It isn’t rude or arrogant, irritable or resentful. It doesn’t celebrate in wrong but rejoices with truth. It bears all things … all things! Bearing all things means there is obviously a burden of some kind. You don’t bear something that requires no action. Bearing is the action—again, it’s work. But what exactly do we have to bear out of love for our spouse? Everything.
At the end of the verse we see that love also endures all things … more hard work. Enduring means … enduring! This may also require a degree of suffering—maybe a significant amount of suffering. But we are expected to do so if we are to have the best of the best in our marriages—to have a romantic, godly marriage.
Kindness may indeed begin as a sacrifice, but it’s addicting. As you practice kindness toward your spouse and turn your back on resentment and using unkindness as a weapon, you will see the difference. It’s major, it’s from God, and it is worth the effort.
Next time—placing God in the center of our marriages. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a Comment Here.