I am so grateful that Pete and I could share how to intentionally love your spouse to so many mothers of preschoolers (MOPS) this morning. I thought it might be nice to recap our talk for all of you who were not there and for the women in the group to share with their husbands
I Corinthians 13:4-7 (from the Message) Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
One of the many ways that we show our love to each other is by talking our spouse’s love language. Dr Gary Chapman wrote the book “The Five Love Languages” and it is a must read. If as a couple we are not talking the same language, then we will end up frustrated and stressed about our marriage. Just by learning how to speak your partner’s love language, you can start to communicate effectively.
Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch are the five different languages that each of us may speak. Pete and I have very different love languages and by learning which language we speak, it has allowed us to support and reaffirm each other in order to communicate more effectively.
Another way that we show love to our spouse is by how we saw our family of origin show love to each other. We like to call this genetics versus non-genetic traits.
We all understand genetics: how we look or appear and our health related issues all fall under genetics. However our non-genetic traits have a huge impact on our marriages.
Our family of origin (the family that raised us) affects our behavior, our personalities and how we handle situations. We learn from an early age how to communicate, walk and think from our family. How does this happen? It happens from watching, listening and directions from our family members. Day after day the repetition of watching our family results in an opinion of what we perceive as “normal.” This “normal” is based on our experience but it is important to note that our spouse will also have their own experience and may define “normal” quite differently.
Awareness, understanding and communication are key in dealing with the “disconnects” that arise as all of these behaviors will affect what we bring to our marriage.
What stops you from loving your spouse?
1) Financial Issues – being on the same page with decisions about money is extremely important with any relationship – whether you have no money or if you have an abundance of money, money will be an issue if you don’t communicate clearly to each other your goals.
2) “Keeping Up With The Joneses” – Never compare your relationship with another couple’s relationship. We are all unique individuals and together we make unique couples. What our friends or family members appear to have may not be the actual truth in their marriage. Concentrate on working on your own partnership and becoming the unique couple that God wants you to be.
3) Kids and Kids Activities – Never allow your kids lives or activities to rule over your marriage. Your time together is very important (especially time without kids). Your marriage should be top priority and it is a three way relationship between: you, your spouse and God. By placing God at the highest point in your life, then your marriage will follow then your kids.
4) Stress from work and home life. Always remember that on the job stress can put a huge strain on your relationship. Whether you work in or out of the home, stress can consume you. Always do your best to fill up your love tank.
- LOVE TANK – this is your relationship bank. When your tank is full (because you are speaking the same love language and you recognize your family of origin traits), then your relationship can withstand bouts of hardship and strife. When your tank is low, you will feel exhausted and overlooked, then little arguments become battles.
I once was at a weekend retreat and they left me with this thought: YOUR GOAL IN MARRIAGE SHOULD BE TO GET YOUR SPOUSE TO HEAVEN. You should inspire your spouse, help them become a better person, and love them unconditionally. Can you imagine how your arguments might change if you kept that thought in mind daily?
Intentionally loving your spouse takes effort, discipline and perseverance. It is work, but the payoff is well worth it!
Colossians 3:12-20 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord
Philippians 2:13-15 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
Matthew 6:31-34 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.others who want to bring home to their husbands information from the talk!