“Little deeds of kindness, little words of love, Help to make earth happy like the heaven above.” Julia Fletcher Carney
When we first got married, we thought marriage would be easy and wonderful, but we soon discovered maintaining a marriage is hard work and we needed lots of help! The much needed marital fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control don’t come with the marriage license (Galatians 5:22-23). We must cultivate them!
Daily we make choices that affect our relationship. One mother corrected her young son when he told his little sister to “shut up.” She scolded him, “We don’t talk that way in our family.”
“It’s okay, Mom,” he said. “Only the family is here.”
What fruit of the spirit do you demonstrate when only the family or your partner are present? It’s usually not the big things that wreck a marriage. Instead it’s the accumulation of unhealthy patterns like being negative, sarcastic, neglectful, or having a critical spirit that ambush the heart of a relationship.
Our lives are a mosaic of little things and what we invest daily shape our relationship. Each day we can choose to be other-centered, to be patient, and to be kind. What little things are you doing today to cultivate the fruit of the spirit in your marriage?
We asked married couples their secret for keeping the sweetness in their marriages. Here are some of the best responses:
· “We never go to bed mad at each other. Kissing and saying good night keeps our marriage sweet.”
· “Pay attention to your appearance. It’s easy to get sloppy with someone who loves and accepts you, but being a sloppy slob just doesn’t communicate the right message to each other.”
· “Look for ways to compliment your spouse.”
· “Spend time talking together. Set a regular communication time and stick to it.”
· “We take a thirty-minute walk together each evening after dinner.”
· “Stay in contact with your friends. No mate can provide everything for a partner. We need to keep growing as a person if we want to continue to be an exciting and interesting spouse.”
To these comments, we would add, “Laugh together and just don’t take yourself so seriously.” Keep working on your marriage. Remember, a satisfying marriage is hard work, but the good fruit is there if we cultivate it!