Recently I [Debi Walter] was in the Starbucks drive thru waiting for my Christmas latte. Imagine my surprise when I got to the window to hear, “Your drink was paid for by the car in front of you, Merry Christmas!”?
What? I didn’t do anything to deserve such generosity, let alone from a stranger. Yet here I was basking in the glow of this unexpected kindness.
It made me think of how often we consider giving our spouse unexpected kindnesses. When was the last time you did something to help ease your spouse’s stress—a quick shoulder rub, pouring a favorite drink, baking a treat to fill your home with an aromatic hint? We have the ability no one else has—to give kindness when it’s needed most.
Maybe as you read this you’re thinking, “Why should I do that for them? They don’t do it for me! I work as hard…” blah blah blah!
This is where we must check our kindness against the kindness God, in Christ, has shown us.
He didn’t wait for us to appeal to Him with kindness. No! He gave us kindness while we were arrogantly throwing stones at His holiness. He looked beyond our behavior to give us what we couldn’t give ourselves—mercy and love!
So, how kind have you been to your spouse lately? Is it an “I’ll be kind to you when you’re kind to me” mentality? Or is it even worse where you’re mudslinging because of past conflicts that have gone unresolved?
I get it! It goes against our nature to be kind in the face of indifference.
But God! When He changes a heart, there is conviction where there used to be a self-justified anger. We can check our kindness against God’s kindness to us, and He fills in the gaps.
So, the challenge…look for ways to show unexpected kindness to your sweetie this week. If not you, who will do this? Ask God to help you do this well, for His glory.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV) (From The Romantic Vineyard blog, Kindness Check)
A KINDNESS CHECK FOR US:
After reading this blog, I/we both agreed; but I (we) also had to laugh after thinking about Debi’s kindness challenge. The following is a good example of overlapping attempts by both of us to be kind to each other. It’s comical, but it’s also sweet. Let me explain.
A little over a week ago, Steve had cataract surgery. His diabetes has taken a toll on his eyesight. So, he had surgery on one eye first (with the other eye surgery scheduled for the end of this month). All went well. He went through it like a champ. Yes, he was tired, and his eye felt dry all day, but thankfully, those “problems” were addressed easily with a nap, a good night’s sleep, and eye drops.
I had decided beforehand that for that day (and for whatever days were needed afterward) I would fully serve Steve. I would help him in whatever way he needed it and not put any expectations on him to help around the house, or with meals, etc. Sounds like a sensible and loving thing to do, right?
Serving in Kindness
Later in the day, I started preparing a dinner that would be easy on his stomach—given the fact that he had surgery earlier in the day. But Steve got up to help me. He said he wanted to help because he knew my week had been especially busy and taxing and he knew I was tired. He stated that he knew he could do at least a few things to make the prep work easier.
That was sweet; but it was totally unnecessary or expected. I told him, “I’ve got this; you just relax, and take this time to heal. Again, he protested and said he was fine and wanted to help. I protested again and said, “Let me serve you; you’ve had a rough day. This is my gift to you—a healing time with no expectations for giving me any type of help.” He said, “But you’ve had a rough week, so I want to help.”
We went back and forth like this several times. Both of us were perplexed as to why the other wouldn’t give in to our reasoning on this point. And then I realized how “funny” this was. We both wanted to be kind and help each other. The “funny” part is that it caused a small spark of contention between us until we realized the irony of it all. We then both gave in. He did less than he wanted, and I let him do more than I wanted. After all, why should we make the situation more stressful by arguing about being kind to one another? That would just be weird!
As I said, all that was humorous, but it was also sweet.
The Kindness Check
What about you? Are you quick to give your spouse kindness? Below are a few challenging thoughts on this matter:
“Pray that you can just be nice. Many marriages could be saved if the husband and wife would just be nice to one another. The Bible says, ‘Love edifies’ (1 Corinthians 8:1). Love builds up and makes stronger. Love doesn’t speak mean-spirited words that tear down. What we say and how we say it can either communicate love or total disregard.” (Stormie Omartian)
That’s important to note. And so is this:
“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.” (Mark Gungor)
God tells us in the Bible:
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
Here’s what Pastor Brad and Heidi Mitchell say about this scripture as it pertains to marriage:
“Kindness and compassion are often desired and forgotten in the dailyness of marriage. Life gets busy. We may answer our spouse sharply. We don’t have the time or patience for their burdens because we have enough of our own. ‘Just pull it together and keep moving!’ is what our attitude expresses. Instead of building our marriage in little ways each day, we slowly dismantle the relationship we’re to cherish the most. But the qualities of kindness and compassion are vital to the health of a marriage relationship. What the Apostle Paul wrote as a mandate to Christians in general applies especially to married couples.” (From their article, Being Kind and Compassionate in Marriage)
We agree! And more importantly, so does God.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
And to that we say, Amen! May God bless you abundantly as you clothe yourself with His compassion, and kindness in your interactions with your spouse!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
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