Kindness. It almost sounds childish, as in, “try a little kindness!,” or “just be kind to your sister.” Kindness as an action almost gets overlooked in fact, especially in marriages. But Kindness is a cornerstone of a successful, healthy marriage. Kindness – just plain good manners and consideration – is so important in marriage that its absence has been the cause of many divorces. I’ve seen many more relationships killed by a LACK of kindness than from adultery, drugs, or abuse!
Another name for kindness is Respect. If you have a genuine Respect for your mate, kindness will come almost naturally. I’m not talking about the kind of respect that might accompany jealousy or might be grudging, but Respect for the value of your spouse. Respect for the irreplaceable part your spouse plays in your life. This kind of Respect places your mate above all others in your life. It says that they are part of the reason you have life and any enjoyment. That without them, you would be empty.
It even calls up an old fashioned idea of Honor. It may have been awhile since you heard this tidbit tossed around, so let me refresh your memory. Honor means high regard, but more than that Honor acknowledges that a person deserves that high regard. You might even show respect to a boss, but Honor indicates that they have earned it. If you Honor your spouse, you are demonstrating (because Honor is always visible) not only how you feel about them, but their character.
When a marriage begins to lack Kindness, Respect, and Honor between the spouses, it begins to turn rude and surly. Each partner begins to feel slighted if they don’t get what they want, instead of making sure their loved one gets what they want first, which is the natural order of marriage. Spouses without Respect for each other are selfish; they are demanding; and they begin to look and act small.
Of course, all of these attributes, when properly included in a marriage equal Love. Unfortunately, the word Love has become trivialized when it is applied as often to some type of car or food as it is to your spouse. So I am breaking it down. Let me state it clearly: a good marriage, one that is balanced, right, and healthy, is one in which each partner gives generously to the other Kindness, Respect, and Honor.
Your mate deserves these blessings. If they haven’t out right earned them today, they deserve them for marrying you and becoming part of your body. Also, you promised them to your bride or groom at your wedding. And you know how big I am on keeping your promises and vows. Unless you were legally incompetent at the ceremony, you are morally bound to care for (that is, to be Kind to, to Respect and Honor) your spouse for all your life. And to do so blatantly and obviously, especially in front of your mutual children so that they will understand what a marriage is supposed to look like.
This week, how can you out loud, in your face, demonstrate that you Honor your spouse? How can you bestow Kindness on them? In what overt ways can you show your Respect for them?
Now, go bless each other!