Last Boxing Day, my wife and I were playing one of those Mr and Mrs card games with our wider family. The kind of card game that comes out at most Christmas times. Each card we turned over revealed the usual suspects – What is your partner’s favourite meal? What is your partner’s most annoying habit? Who is your partner’s favourite celebrity? Your answers must be what you think your spouse will say.
After crying with laughter and new stories about people surfacing, the next card was What do you value most in your partner? Us blokes had to guess our what our wives would say. We all started down the same path of practical answers.
“It’s probably my great DIY skills.”
“I guess it’s that you find me really funny.”
“Maybe my cooking? Or my usefulness?”
None of those were right. All the women looked at each other and almost collectively said, “We just really appreciate that you are kind to us.”
That speaks volumes. Kindness must be cherished within marriage. Kindness must be the norm within marriage. And it must always be practiced.
We must not be kind within our marriages for the sake of kindness, but for the sake of our spouse. It is them that we have chosen to love. Our desire for our own happiness in marriage must give way to making our spouse happy, and one way of doing that is by being unceasingly kind.
We must be kind to our spouse when we don’t feel like it. We must be kind to our spouse when we have a great evening planned but they come in from work with awful baggage from their day and can’t face doing anything. We must be kind to our spouse when we’re tired. We must be kind to our spouse even when it’ll have a physical or emotional cost to ourselves.
That level of kindness is a choice. Believing that kindness is a choice goes against the cultural grain. Culture holds that we must only be kind to those who are kind to us. That we must only be kind if it increases our personal happiness. We must only be kind if we can gain from it or when we feel like it.
If we were only kind when we felt like it, then we wouldn’t show much kindness at all! It is something that we must decide to do daily. I remember my friend preached at my wedding on chapter 3 of a book of the Bible called Colossians. Verse 12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” That verse has become precious to me in my marriage. In the same way that we put on our clothes every day, we must put on kindness every day. That doesn’t mean that you have to fake being kind, or pretend to be kind, but that you choose to be kind.
It’s a conscious decision to be kind in your marriage. Thankfully, the more you decide to be kind, the more natural it will become. And your marriage will be the stronger for it.
So be kind to your husband. Be kind to your wife. Wash the dishes when they don’t expect it. Take them out for a meal. Compliment them. Hold them. Put the washing out. Do some of their duties so that they can put their feet up for the night. Listen to them. Block out time to spend with just the two of you. Ask them how you can be kinder to them. Speak well of your spouse to your friends. Speak well of your spouse when they’re not around. In fact, speak well of your spouse all the time!
Strengthen your marriage. Be kind.
By Ben Daniel