Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Success in Marriage Key 2: Honor and Respect Your Spouse

Do you really value your spouse? Do you respect him or her as a human being made in the image of God? Notice God’s instruction regarding our relationship with others: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself" (Philippians 2:3).

Yes, you need to esteem—to value—your spouse better than yourself. To vain, self-indulgent individuals, that sounds awfully archaic, but it is a living law. So repent of selfish ambition and conceit. Turn your attitude around. Treasure your mate as a potential child of God. And, as the saying goes, "Don’t sweat the small stuff." Look for and appreciate the positive values you find in each other! And if you have been abusing your spouse, physically or verbally, you need to repent! You need to humble yourself before God and ask His forgiveness, and you need to apologize to your mate! I know it is sometimes difficult to say, "I’m sorry." But an apology can go a long way in healing and restoring a relationship!

How do you demonstrate honor and respect to your husband or wife? There are many ways, such as giving special gifts, listening carefully, expressing thanks and using common courtesy in your words and the tone of your voice.

How patient are you with your family? Patience is a way of expressing love, as we learn from 1 Corinthians 13, often called the "love chapter." We read: "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends" (1 Corinthians 13:4–8, NRSV). Read that chapter. Pray that God will give you the ability to live by those qualities and grow in those qualities.

You can improve your marriage by listening, by understanding, and by giving space to one another. You can improve your marriage by honoring and respecting your spouse! Notice this vital instruction God gives to husbands: "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7).

God instructs the husband to honor his wife. Keep in mind that you are "heirs together of the grace of life." Perhaps the most important key is to understand how God values every human being, and particularly your mate, regardless of your opinion of him or her. Every human being on earth has the potential of being born into the divine family of God as a glorified, immortal child of God. The Apostle Paul reminded us of God’s plan for us: "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:18).

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