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  • Heidi J. Smith

How to Love Your Spouse


September 2, 2000

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary.


We relaxed by riding bikes along Lily Lake, tasting homemade fudge, and shopping in a quaint town. After an early supper, we rode the train to Kinnick Stadium and watched Iowa defeat Miami.


Tired and excited, we retreated to a quiet bed n' breakfast where large yellow squashes grew in gardens, jigsaw puzzles waited to be completed, and smells of pecan french toast greeted you in the morning.


Outside brick homes resembled the past, while inside life rested and left time to reflect.


What is the secret to a great marriage?


As my husband and I journey through life together, we have learned some tips. We are not experts. In fact, our marriage battled some dark times and almost ended, but we are still together by God's grace.


Hard times are inevitable because we are two sinners living together, but the difficulties should leave us stronger and closer. How can we love our spouses?


First, LISTEN with UNDERSTANDING.


If you asked me if I listen to my spouse, I would say, "Of course!" But after receiving some wise counsel, I realized I listened with filters. Since I have scars from our relationship, I assume certain things are being said to me rather than actually listening with understanding.


To maintain a healthy relationship, I need to listen with clarifying questions. After the person tells me something, I should ask, "I think I heard you say...Is this correct?"


True listening is a skill and helps relieve unnecessary problems.


Second, SPEND QUALITY TIME with EACH OTHER.


In the hustle and bustle of life, we juggle our jobs, chores, church, and kids or grandkids. We squeeze God, friends, and our spouses into our calendars. At night, we fall exhausted into beds.


Everyone and everything wants a piece of our time. Yet, we only have 24 hours today and then it is gone.


In order to have a meaning full relationship, we need to spend quality time with our spouses doing things we both enjoy. It looks different for each couple, but we can be creative.


We need to say NO to good things in order to say YES to the best things.


We need to prioritize our relationship with God and then our spouse. It requires intentional planning, financial investing, and purposeful resting together.


Finally, LOVE YOUR SPOUSE LIKE CHRIST.


This is easier said than done. Loving someone like Christ requires an unselfishness commitment, forgiveness, and mercy.


"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." I Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV


Loving like Christ means denying my wants and putting the other person above myself. It doesn't mean that we aren't equal, but that I am choosing to honor him or her.


Christ knows all my sins that I have committed and will commit, and yet, He loves me! He forgives me continually and desires me! May we love our spouses like this.


Outside the world rushes by, but inside our homes may we fight for our marriages on our knees. May we cherish our spouses by intentionally listening, spending quality time, and loving like Christ.


Lord, please help protect our marriages and help us to love our spouses like You.

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Heidi J. Smith