Taking on a marriage partner is a bit like going on a long bush walk with a heavy, uncomfortable pack on your back full of essential supplies. At times you’d like to dump it but you know you’d be worse off if you did. Marriage is a particularly difficult relationship because it is an incredibly intimate one.
Learning to live within a marriage is amazing training for heaven because heaven is a place of such intense intimacy that without understanding the fundamentals of relationships you might as well sign up for the other place. If you don’t like being with people, the other place would suit you better because there are no relationships to burden you there.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are, when examined closely, nothing more than the things you need to live in harmony with your brothers and sisters and if you married a human being then those gifts will also help you to live in harmony with the human you married.
One might summarise these fruits under three headings:loyalty, kindness and forgiveness.
To be loyal is to throw your lot in with your partner for better or worse against all temptation to stray and against the criticism of the world around you. Those that publically denigrate their partner are in fact denigrating themselves – they are indicating two things: firstly that they have made an incredibly unwise choice of partner and secondly, that their influence in the partnership has done little to improve that choice.
Loyalty is about dependability and a commitment not only to one’s partner but also to the quality of the relationship that holds the partnership together. It is hard to walk away from a relationship that has experienced years of loyalty, especially when that loyalty has been at some cost, as it usually is.
It has been trendy of recent times for people to do random acts of kindness. It’s a cute idea but kindness is meant to be more than an occasional random act it’s meant to be an intentional way of life. One will never be successful in relationships unless they have a kind nature. Even in times of tension when we find ourselves saying negative things, kindness is incredibly important. Verbal abuse is as bad as physical abuse when it comes to destroying trust and love in a relationship. Words are like arrows once fired they can never be retrieved. They will go forth and do their work for good or for evil depending on what kind of words they are. Your partner may annoy you, frustrate you and disappoint you but nothing can justify unkindness.
Since perfect loyalty and kindness are impossible for us to achieve we need forgiveness and we need to be forgiving.
I might get the idea that you love me if you are loyal and kind but I am even more convinced when you forgive me when I have failed to show loyalty and kindness to you.
So no matter how difficult your marriage may be at times keep being loyal, kind and forgiving because that is how God is to you.