They say that hindsight is 20/20. By and large, they are right. But there’s something to be said for learning from the mistakes of others. That sort of foresight is priceless as it can save a lot of heartache especially when it comes to relationships. As a case in point, I recently read an article in which divorced men reflected on the moment they knew it was over in their marriage. For some, the moment was years ahead of the actual parting of ways. For others, the decline was swift and certain. Ironically, they all had one thing in common. In each instance, a simple act of kindness toward their spouse could have served as a salve to heal many of the wounds that had been inflicted in their marriage. Am I for certain it would have prevented the inevitable? Of course not! But, who doesn’t love an act of kindness? They go viral on the internet all.the.time. If they can go viral on the internet, they can go viral in your relationship as well.
So, what does it mean to perform an act of kindness in your marriage? Isn’t it a given that you should be kind to your spouse? Yes, it’s a given. But if it was easy, divorce wouldn’t be a thing. You see, I am talking about the sorts of kind acts that require both strength and humility. Every marriage that hopes to last needs them. Here are just two to get you started.
The Kindness of Intentional Mercy
You know you did wrong. Your spouse knows you did wrong. As a result, they were hurt. But it is clear by your ensuing actions that whatever you did is not something you will ever do again. The Bible calls it “Godly sorrow” and it leads to a lasting change that leaves no regret.
Now, rather than drag you to the dog house and keep you there for weeks or even days, your spouse absolves you of your guilt by offering complete and irreversible mercy and grace. This act of kindness takes place within moments of your acknowledgment that you have hurt your mate. You are relieved. You are at peace. You are thankful. And, one thing is for certain. Should the roles ever be reversed, you will do the same.
Every marriage that hopes to last must involve individuals who have the humility to recognize that they can make some terrible mistakes in their marriage and may one day require the same swift and intentional kind of mercy. I know it won’t apply in every situation. But when it does, find the strength and the humility to offer it to your spouse.
The Kindness of Intentional Affirmation
I was sitting and talking with my friend recently when her husband walked into the room, walked over to her, and planted a quick but sincere kiss on her lips. As she and I continued our conversation after he left, she mentioned that she had told him he needed to step up his affection. It was clearly a need she had and by his actions at that moment, it was one he intended to fulfill. While that’s all well and good, she also talked about how important it was that she let him know how grateful she was that he listened to her needs and that he was doing a great job at meeting them.
The kindness of intentional affirmation gives life to a marriage because it helps you to prop someone up for something you think they should be doing all along. I mean, isn’t demonstrating affection towards your spouse a no-brainer in a relationship? But this is where strength and humility come into play. When you’re strong and humble enough to admit that kind of affirmation is something you would want, then it makes it that much easier to give it to your spouse.
Marriages are naturally filled with instances of mercy and affirmation. But lifelong marriages are filled with intentional mercy and intentional affirmation. It cuts both ways and no one keeps a record. It’s just a given in the relationships that want to do more than just stay afloat. So, if you intend for your marriage to last, then be intentional in your acts of kindness toward your spouse.
BMWK, are you being intentional kind to your spouse whether they deserve it or not?