I’m often asked about romance, kindness and passion—all good subjects.
Sometimes the questions are very personal, like this one from a friend.
“Don, I know that you and Gwen had a special relationship, but that kind of love isn’t easy for everyone and you make it sound as if it is. You even imply that God expects it and even demands it. The problem is that some people can’t even fake kindness, and others won’t receive it—especially my wife.”
This comment made me realize that there is something I’ve not made clear. Gwen and I did not always have a wonderful, romantic relationship. Over the years (especially early on) we had a number of problems that got in our way and made life (and marriage) extremely difficult.
At one point, something happened and we decided we were going to change that. I don’t recall what started the argument, but it ended in a silence that lasted all evening. We each knew that the first one to speak was the loser—right? So the silence lasted all evening.
It came time for bed and we crawled in. I almost said something, but I didn’t because I was “in the right”. I wasn’t about to give in. I say that sarcastically because neither of us was in the right. We went to bed without speaking for the first time in the year we had been married.
In the morning we each got ready for work without speaking, and that night went to bed again without speaking. We continued this foolishness for three days before coming to our senses. We had wasted three days of our lives and were filled with regret.
We decided to take the day off from work and spend it together, promising to never give each other the “silent treatment” again. We made a change in our marriage, but it didn’t happen over night. It didn’t even happen in a month or a year—it took a long time with a few setbacks along the way, but never, ever the silent treatment again.
The critical point here is that even though it took persistent effort, the reward was beyond our wildest imaginations. Our romance grew exponentially because we had chosen it over demanding our “rights”.
So where does kindness come from and how do we nurture it into romance? When God displays His character, kindness is the dominant theme in all that He does. Romans 11:22 states,
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
God displays His kindness because it is His character. It’s not a flaw or a weakness to be kind, it is a trait we are to passionately seek. We know from Galatians 5:22 that it is a fruit of the Spirit, and in Ephesians 2:4-7, Paul makes it clear that we are beneficiaries of God’s kindness in Christ.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Kindness, therefore comes directly from God. In our own human nature we are not innately kind, but when Christ is in us and we are a new creation through Him, kindness dwells within us.
Colossians 3:12 states,
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
The call to us is to forgive. There is no ten point, detailed plan of forgiveness. It simply tells us to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us. Once we forgive, we no longer have a reason to be unkind.
Especially in marriage, we are not to hold grudges or tally up lists of perceived wrongs. We are to forgive others and display Jesus’ kindness to our spouses and watch our marriages flourish. Romance is inevitable. Let’s not waste time arguing. Instead, whisper something sexy in your spouse’s ear today—just do it.