Kindness in Marriage
To my shame, Sadie sometimes reminds me that I was much more sweet and kind to her while we were dating. Things change when you get married, don’t they? It shouldn’t, but for most of us, we treat our spouse different after we say, “I do.”
Marriage is hard. I think one reason why marriage is more demanding than dating is because the Bible teaches that one of the goals of marriage is for two people to become one. That’s not as easy as it sounds. You’re taking two different people, with two different backgrounds, two different wills and two different personalities and trying to make them become one! Not to mention that opposites attract, right? That makes it even more difficult!
So becoming one is no easy task. If you want to glorify God with your marriage, build a happy life together and see your children grow up in a secure home, you’re going to need more than just love! You’re going to need some tools to build the life you envision and desire.
The Bible offers these tools. It tells us how to build our lives on a sure, solid foundation so that when the storms of life come, you won’t get swept away (Matthew 7).
One advice the Bible offers to our marriage is to show kindness. Doesn’t that sound simple enough? Well, it’s not! You know how difficult it is to show your spouse kindness when life’s pressures are mounting. If you’re normal, you know exactly what I’m talking about…big stuff breaks that costs big money, one spouse loses a job putting huge stress on the family…you’re juggling groceries, kids, school, sports and other responsibilities and if there is one more thing that can go wrong…well, it does. You know what I’m talking about, right? You’ve had these experiences in your home life.
These are times your marriage needs kindness the most. There are many reasons to argue and many reasons to disagree, but there should never, ever be a reason to be unkind to one another. Kindness should be a priority in the life a Christ follower. Allow me to give you a few Biblical reasons why kindness should be valued in your life and home…
The Bible’s definition of Kindness may be different than yours
When I think of kindness I think of being pleasant or thoughtful, but do you know how the Bible defines kindness? The New Testament portion of the Bible was written in Greek, but the Old Testament portion was written in Hebrew. The Hebrew word for kindness is fascinating. It is Hesed. It’s such a deep and meaningful word that takes two English words to describe it, Loving Kindness, and it is mentioned over and over throughout the Old Testament, usually referring to God’s loving kindness over His people.
Ravi Zacharias breaks down this word in his wonderful book, I, Isaac, take thee, Rebekah. He says, “It is an attribute that puts the other (person) first and is defined by action rather than by emotion.” (I, Isaac, take thee, Rebekah, pg. 51).
So when we think of God’s kindness, Hesed, we know that it is not in just word or emotion. Instead, His kindness is in action! So how was God’s kindness shown in action?
The Sending of His Son
This week, we are celebrating Holy Week or Passion Week. We mark the events leading to the death of Christ on the cross and His triumphant resurrection. Listen to how the Bible describes God’s loving kindness in sending Christ, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8. This is God demonstrating His love for us. You and I justly deserve God’s wrath and instead, Christ absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf by suffering the death of the cross. This is God’s loving kindness in action toward us.
God’s Kindness led you to Salvation
Most people have the wrong view of God. They see Him as angry all the time. Now don’t misunderstand, the Bible does teach that God gets angry at sin. And it does teach that, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31. But the Bible doesn’t teach that God is always angry like so many think. God is joyful. He is love. He is kind! Romans 2:4 tells us, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”
Think of the magnitude of this verse. His loving kindness is what led us to repentance. Not guilt or anger or belittling. His loving kindness. If God has been so kind to me as to lead me to repentance, should I not be kind to every person I come in contact with?
Through His Kindness, He Saved Us
Read carefully Titus 3:4-6, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Now that we have Biblically linked our salvation to the kindness of God, aren’t the words of this particular verse even sweeter? So if your view of God is that He is angry, take note that it is the “goodness and loving kindness of God” that “saved us.” Those are truths we should glorify God for!
Where If God has given me kindness that has led to my repentance, allowed me to experience Christ’s sacrifice and has ultimately saved my soul, then I should be conscience and aware of the kindness I’m showing to others in my life. If I want to give the hesed type of kindness, then I’m going to understand that my kindness will not be in word or emotion only, it’s going to be in my actions.
Action #1: Producing this fruit in my life
Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit in our lives that the Holy Spirit should be producing (Galatians 5:22-23). I should have to struggle to be kind. It should be a part of the working God is doing in my life. I just need to be aware of it and make sure that I’m looking for opportunities to show kindness.
Action #2: I’m going to start with my spouse
1 Corinthians 13:4 is a tough verse…well, it’s a tough chapter. It tells us that “love is kind.” Am I treating my wife in a way that I’m loving her through my actions, not just words or emotions? If my loving kindness is going to mirror God’s, then I’m going to up my game in the way I treat her and my children.
Action #3: It’s going to carry over to others
Part of this loving kindness is being tenderhearted. Ephesians 4:32 instructs us, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, giving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Wow! Doesn’t that verse sum up everything we just discovered about kindness?
If God has shown me His kindness by sending His Son to forgive my sins, should the results of that action in my life be that I’m willing to be kind to others, forgiving them and being a tenderhearted person? Let kindness work in you and see the difference it will make in your life, your relationships and testimony.