Wednesday, August 29

Kindness in Marriage

I love being married to Kenny.  When people say, "Opposites attract", I think we are the best definition of that cliche.  When we met, I was the honor roll, top 10, academia all-star in my high school.  College-prep classes, a part time job, semi-athlete, I wanted to do it all and do it well.  Girl meets boy.  Kenny left Verona High School because he didn't want to go there anymore, skipped school on occasion, had his fair share of in-school-suspensions and detentions, never brought so much as a pencil to class, and ended up taking an extra year to complete his high school courses at home.  God leaned in and whispered in my ear that I was supposed to marry this boy. God has transformed both of us into one unit that has many complimenting parts.  He has knocked my perfectionism off course and has taught me many lessons in humility.  He has brought Kenny to a place of integrity and leadership.  God has many more lessons to teach us, but I believe He has given us much wisdom for a great marriage.  The first thing I thought to share was on kindness.

How do behave if you were to knock into a stranger in a store and make them spill a drink on themself?  You would abound with apologies and ensure the entire situation was resolved before moving on.  I find that we often treat strangers with more hospitality and kindness than our own husbands.  We talk about them to friends, scold them when they want something expensive, make demands, and get mad when unsaid expectations are not fulfilled.  I get the feeling that many a wife would scold her husband for being in the way if, indeed, she she bumped into him and made him knock over a plate of spaghetti.  Are you kinder to strangers than to your spouse?  If so, something should change.

A thought I had many years ago was, "Why would I speak the worst to someone I claim to love the most?"  I was guilty of bringing up past mistakes and basically reserving any outbursts of the day for my husband.  He was the person I was least patient with instead of most.  Kenny's words have almost never been an issue, but he has had to work on his sarcasm- I joke that it's his love language.  If Kenny is teasing you, you know he likes you.  We still love to tease each other and make each other laugh, but there is a different kind of sarcasm that has no place in marriage.  Are you sarcastic in way that puts your spouse down and strips him of any respect?  If so, something should change.

So instead of saving your worst for your husband, save your best.  Give him kindness and respect.  I want our home to be a place Kenny loves coming home to, not a place he dreads because of my sharp tongue.  When kinds words are always spoken to each other, it makes a fight fair- you know you both will be heard.  It makes your home a place of joy, laughter, and inside jokes between just the two of you.  It sets an example of treating others the way you want to be treated for your children.  It makes it easy to forgive when you, inevitably, say something harsh and undeserved.  I'm thinking of James 3:8 "but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison."

 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32  When wives are one-upping each other about the inadequacies of their husbands, don't engage.  Think of some way you can show kindness to your husband tonight.  Last night I took June downstairs and let Kenny have some quiet time of browsing pedal board arrangements on the internet after a loooong day at work.  He loved it, I'm sure. Tonight it will be all of my effort to make a meal instead of demanding take-out.  But I know it will bless Kenny- and June.

How do you try to show kindness to your spouse?


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