As Christians, we all proudly say stuff like, “I’d die for my spouse. I’d do anything for my spouse.” Really? Then why we don’t we do devotions, watch our diet, or workout regularly, memorize Scripture or stop listening to smooth jazz?
Most people will think, “Yeah yeah, the problem is I love myself more than my spouse.” So the solution is to love my spouse more. But that’s actually wrong.
The problem is we love ourselves more than God, and our lack of love for our spouse is a symptom of that problem.
If we truly love God, then we’ll love what he loves. And what does God love? Us. “If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).
So the more you love God, the more you love what he loves (your spouse). And it is impossible to love God more unless you’re trying to be more like Christ.
So what practical things can we do to love God more in order to love our spouse more?
1. SEE THINGS AS GOD DOES
It is impossible to love God more unless you are learning more about who he is, what he’s done and what he’s commanded – so doing devotions is the absolute minimum that shows your love for God and your spouse.
Doing devotions helps you see things from God’s perspective. First, from an eternal perspective which helps you worry less about the temporal and helps you focus on what God wants. Secondly, it helps us see ourselves and our spouse as God does – as sinners who need to be more like Christ.
I personally use this app as part of my devotions. It’s quick and insightful.
2. THE LITTLE THINGS
We are commanded to love God and love others and if we can’t show love in small things, how much does that magnify how much we love ourselves more than God and our spouse?
I hate vegetables and love bacon. I know I need to eat better if I am to properly take care of the body with which I am to love God and my spouse. Eating more veggies seems like such a small thing, but in my selfishness, I’d risk worse health than trade chips for carrots. It’s not really a small thing is it?
Are the little things like packing lunch instead of eating out? Taking a minute to encourage your spouse every day? Getting off your phone for two seconds as they talk about what happened at work?
And a lot of times doing the little things isn’t doing more but less. Less time on the TV, on our phones, the internet, sports, politics, eating less food.
Love in the little things isn’t little love.
News flash: Your spouse is a sinner, and so are you (Rom 3:23). And remember how in Step 1 we do devotions so we can see things from God’s perspective? That includes your spouse.
Your spouse has certain sins they keep falling into. Each sin deals with a lack being Christ-like, a lack of one of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).
Hating their boss is a lack of love. Angry in traffic is a lack of patience. Not exercising or eating healthy is a lack of self-control.
Out of love, it is your job to grow whatever fruit of the Spirit they’re lacking in that situation. Help them work through it. Talk about it, pray about it, come up with a wise plan. But when you do, you also have to display the fruit of the spirit. Be loving, patient, kind and gentle with them.
If they can’t remove themselves from a situation that causes them to sin, then deal with it by helping them grow the fruit of the Spirit they’re lacking.
If the situation can be helped, like if you notice they always get angry at the kids for being late in the morning, what can you do to make the kids on time as you’re helping your spouse work on patience?
And sometimes the situations are just silly, like they get upset when you load the dishwasher a certain way. Well, you know what? Just do it their weird way so as to remove a temptation for them to sin (Rom 14:1-23). Ministry takes on all forms. And after you help them with their patience and helping them see things from God’s perspective, maybe soon the dishes won’t be an issue.
Ministry is helping them be more like Christ in all situations.
Imagine a triangle with God, you and your spouse as the points of a triangle. The closer you both get to God, the closer you get to each other.
Having a proper relationship with your spouse starts with a proper relationship with God.
Do you want a better marriage?
Then love God more and help your spouse to love God more. Show love through daily devotions, by doing the little things, and by patiently ministering to their faults. And only then can you load the dishes however you want.
1. Related Articles:
What Do I Do When My Spouse and I Fight? (article)
What God ultimately wants you and your spouse to do in life (article)
2. Vegetables are gross.