This is an Insight that is ingrained deep in our hearts. We wish we could shout it from the housetops. This is our message: Be nice —be kind in marriage. Be kind in your marriage, in particular. Why is it that we can be kind to everyone else that enters into our home, but we aren’t as kind to our own spouse? Too often we give ourselves permission to be anything but “kindhearted” with our spouse. But it’s like what the Apostle Paul said, “This should not be so!”
We’re told in the Bible in Ephesians 4:32:
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.“
In 1 Peter 3:8-9 we’re told:
“All of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were CALLED, that you may obtain a blessing.“
Be Kind in Marriage
These scriptures don’t sound like suggestions given to us from God. We’re “called” to act in tenderhearted ways—not reviling, but to bless. It’s important for all of us, including Steve and me, to keep in mind. “Kind words don’t cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips.” (Blaise Pascal) But unkind words can sure cause damage in our relationships.
We wholeheartedly agree with something that Mark Gungor says on this subject. Here’s a portion of what he writes:
“The vast majority of marriages could be greatly improved if couples would follow this simple advice: BE NICE. Oddly enough, many people believe that because they are married, they do not have to be nice. It is as if they think that their marriage license is a license to be mean and nasty. Oh, they would never say that. But that is certainly how they act.
“Some of the nicest people in the world—people who would not hurt a fly, those who would brake and swerve for squirrels in the road, guys who would help an old lady cross the road, women who would be thankful and considerate to the pimply-faced kid that bags their groceries, couples who sit together in church smiling, singing and gently nodding their heads to the encouragement of the pastor—these same sweet people…get them home and watch the fireworks. They bark, yell, and throw insults at each other. It’s as if they believe a marriage license grants them permission to be however mean they deem necessary. They can be as short and impatient as the moment calls for. They think that somehow a marriage license allows them not to live out their Christian faith. ‘I don’t have to be nice—I’m married!’”
No License to Be Unkind
Again, I’ve said this same thing so many times to those we’ve mentored. A marriage license does not give us a license to be mean. We need to restrain ourselves when we’re inclined to act in ways that Mark describes above. It’s important to remember what we’re told in James 1:26: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
You can read the rest of what Mark Gungor says on this issue by going to the link provided below. You truly do want to read it. It’s funny, convicting, and truly sensible.
And then, here is a humorous YouTube video interview of Mark explaining this a bit more:
Steve and I have lived through, and in the past have done too much of this type of behavior. We used to scream at each other in ways that no two people should—especially those who are supposed to be marriage partners. Thankfully, when our sons were quite small the Lord grabbed our attention to STOP IT! We then made it a rule to make our home a no-scream zone. Sometimes we would violate this, but we continued to lean forward. It has been a blessing. There was and is to be no screaming, name-calling, and such allowed. We’ve been trying to pass this onto our grandkids when they’re in our home too.
We’re trying to be mindful NOT to be stingy in exchanging kind words and actions. And we’re mindful NOT to throw unkind words like grenades, and push unkind actions upon each other. That is the message we hope to spread everywhere.
Be Nice, Be Kind in Marriage
So, in closing, here are two pieces of advice we hope you will put to practice in your marriage:
• “Show kindness. It’s hard to be kind when our spouse has been critical or unkind. It’s human nature to be less kind in return. But kindness is catching. Your kind words and actions can bring out kindness in your spouse. Try doing unselfish things for your spouse such as listening with patience, helping with a task when they’re busy, avoiding an angry reply, or apologizing for something you said.” (Thomas R. Lee, Ph.D.)
• “Be sweet to your sweetie. When do you use your best manners? When you’re with coworkers, church members and friends —or with your spouse? Talk to your husband or wife more sweetly and respectfully than you talk to anyone else.” (Tip from Focus on the Family Canada)
And then here is one last tip with a link to another article after it (and ones linked below that one, once you read it):
• “Remember what love does: Love gently wipes vomit from a loved one’s face. Love trusts God always and looks for goodness over and over in a person you don’t recognize, remembering the person you love. Love educates itself about what your loved one is going through.” (Melody Harrison Hanson) “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
May the Lord bless you as you bless your spouse and treat him or her with kindness!