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How To Show Kindness in Marriage

Do you think of yourself as a kind person?  I always did before marriage.  Somehow when marriage is hard or I am irritable after a long day I struggle to know how to show kindness to my husband.  1 Corinthians 13 can help us understand kindness in marriage from a practical standpoint.

Showing kindness in marriage means I have to choose to set aside my selfish tendencies and show love no matter what. Click To Tweet

What Is Kindness In Marriage

As we study 1 Corinthians 13 and apply it to marriage we are focused on the original meanings of the verbs describing godly love.  To see kindness in marriage we must understand what kindness means.  

Who Said Love is Patient and Kind?

For our study, we are looking at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act disrespectfully or unbecomingly; it does not seek it’s own, is not provoked to anger, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, enduring all thingsLove never fails.

Define Kindness

Love is kind means – Love does/speaks good when it can, even in the face of injuries.

I would be fine with this definition if it stopped before the comma.  Can I get an Amen?!?!?!?!

Doing and speaking good when I can is not a challenge.  The challenge being kind in the face of injuries or hardships.  That is not natural in my human self! 

The truth is, I am selfish.  When I am hurt or injured I am not loving the person who hurt me.  Or is that just me?  Showing kindness in marriage means I have to choose to set aside my selfish tendencies and show love no matter what.

A Special Note On Abuse

When I speak about love and kindness overlooking hurt and injury I am talking about the everyday carelessness, thoughtlessness, and forgetfulness of a non-abusive spouse.  

If you are being abused physically, mentally, or emotionally this post is not for you.  You can not be kind enough to stop the abuse.  You need to get out and get safe counsel.  

While I believe God can save any marriage, I believe He never intends for us to be in danger.  The fact that God hates divorce does not change the fact that God hates abuse.  Don’t believe the lie that you have to stay and be hurt.  Get help and be safe.

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What Is kindness In A Relationship?

Kindness in marriage is different than kindness in a relationship.  Because of the special nature of marriage – where the two become one flesh – things change.  It is easiest to hurt those we love most, who see us daily.  

So it stands to reason that it is harder to show kindness in marriage.  What is kindness in a relationship?  Kindness in any other relationship is fakeable.  Not what you expected I know, but that’s the truth.  

It’s hard to fake kindness in marriage.  You see this person so many hours each day.  Kindness has to be heart deep to shine through injury and hardship. 

What Makes A Strong Couple?

It stands to reason then that a strong couple needs God at the center of their relationship.  Strong couples look to Jesus for their strength.  

What if you are “unequally yoked”? 

  • If you are saved but your husband is lost you can still put Jesus at the center.  
  • Maybe you are both saved but not equally mature.  YOU can still put Jesus at the center.  
  • If one of you has fallen away, even turning from the faith, YOU can still put Jesus first.

The key is you.  You have a choice.  It will be harder if you are not equally yoked, but many relationships in the Bible were that way and God honored the wife who leaned into Him.  

Lean into HIM to stay strong!

Related: 5 Tips for a Stronger Marriage

How Can I Show Kindness to My Husband?

To apply the verb ” Love is kind” and show kindness in relationships, I have to do four things. 

  1. Choose
  2. Pray
  3. Act
  4. Talk when it’s calm

1. Choose Kindness

When your husband lashes out you have a choice. 

  1. React to the hurt and lash back out at him
  2. Respond to who he is and agree to come back to the hurt when you are both calm.

You can choose to set aside the hurt and respond rather than react. When you are both angry is not the time to talk through hard things.  A time out for one or both can go a long way to help my marriage.

2. Prayer

I can choose to respond in love even when my husband just hurt me.  To make that choice requires a lot of prayers. 

Prayer is a sort of buffer between my reaction and my love for my husband.  

Have you noticed a pattern? I simply can not do anything good in this marriage without God’s help. When I pray, God reminds me to show forgiveness in marriage the way He forgives.  

  • This can be a short prayer said as I walk the street. 
  • It could be a prayer said while escaping to my safe space (the bathroom).  
  • I find it helpful to pray scripture to calm me down and center my eyes back on God rather than obsess over the problem at hand.

Prayer allows you to process the hurt with God and then respond to hubby with a clear mind.  This is honestly how we saved our marriage.  Prayer works!

3. Show Kindness in Marriage Through Actions

Okay, so my husband did something to hurt my feelings.  Imagine it with me…

The day has been soooo long.  Kids were whining and bickering all day.  The pool is closed because of a global pandemic that just goes on and on.  We can’t get out of the house and we are all hot and ready to explode.  

I’ve played nurse and referee and teacher and counselor and housekeeper all day.  My email is overflowing with emails I need to reply to for my business.  Dinner just finished up – thank you Instant Pot – and I am ready to jump into my 2nd job.   

Hubby comes back from work in a funk because of some paperwork he couldn’t understand.  He walks in, looks at me sitting down at the desk and begins unloading about his day.  About two tirades in he realize I am not giving him my undivided attention.  

“What’s wrong with you?  Are you mad at me?  Why are you always on that computer?”

My fuse was already short.  He is implying I’ve done nothing else all day but sit at a computer.  Didn’t he smell the delicious dinner?  Hasn’t he realized his kids are still alive? What about the clean house and folded laundry?  Really?  

This is the perfect chance to practice showing kindness in marriage.  

How To Practice Kindness and Compassion

That situation or some variation can happen at any time and can lead to a big fight that neither of us really want.  When love is kind in marriage it requires one partner to be wise enough to see the oncoming fight and sidestep it.  

Sometimes I am a wise spouse, sometimes it’s him.  

  1. First, I am going to just stand up and walk away, to the bathroom.  
  2. Second, I am going to read over a verse and pray.  As I pray God reminds me of things that show my hubby love. 
  3. Next, I will excuse myself for a few minutes.  Sometimes that means a trip to the store to pick up something for dessert.  Other times it’s a quick walk around the block to cool off.  

Learning how to practice kindness and compassion requires learning how to get a cool head when you want to explode.  

How Can You Show Kindness At Home?

There are more than 100 ways to show kindness.  One way I show kindness to my husband is to find things that he likes and do them even when his words/actions (or lack of actions) have hurt me.  

It could be as simple as picking up a bag of Twizzlers while I’m out at the store. (The way to a man’s heart is often through his tummy right?!?!?!)

Kindness also means I need to swallow my critical response (of which I have many) until I have had time to cool off.

Related: 55 Free or Cheap Date Night Ideas at Home

4. Talk It Over Calmly

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 NASB)

Later on, when we have both cooled down we can talk about the incident.  Rest assured we WILL talk about this.  It’s just not always wise to have the talk in the heat of the moment.  

When I bring it back up… because he has usually forgotten about it completely or is terrified I haven’t forgotten about it and he is in trouble…  I lead with admiration and appreciation.    

It can take a moment to find something to praise him about (word of affirmation are a great gift for husbands) instead of my usual criticism, but it’s worth the time. 

Critical Words are often my first reaction.  That is a character trait God has to change in me – no amount of “Trying harder” will do it!  Ephesians 4:29 is one I have hung over the sink – to remind me.  Words of kindness are among the many characteristics of a godly wife.

Works of kindness are a way to show goodness to others.

Related: Marriage Communication Workshop: 10 Communication Exercises to Help Your Marriage

How Do You Show Goodness to Others?

In the midst of our talk, it is good to be prepared.  You know what kind of day you had that led to your quick fuse, but you don’t know what led to his.  I like to show goodness and kindness to my husband with a pivot.

My husband can be very critical of himself.  Recently he was having a conversation with me where he was upset about being late to work so often. He was really giving himself a hard time about it and he turned to me and said:

“wouldn’t you say I am just a late person”.  

Now, at that moment I had 2 options.

  1. I could have agreed with him.
    • He is late often and that does affect our family. That would have been true, but not kind or loving.
  2. Or I could pivot. 

How Do You Pivot to Show Kindness in Marriage?

I have had to practice ways to pivot our conversations.

In this case, I began questioning whether “late” is necessarily a character trait. Then I pivoted to listing things that are good and true about his character.

  • He is a great father
  • A hard worker
  • Very smart and intuitive
  • He shows love to use in an amazing way

In this way, the conversation was redirected and I was able to actively show love through kindness and goodness to my husband.  

Kindness and Mental Health

This is a sort of compassionate marriage.  Honesty is a good policy, but it’s critical to know when a truth will not come out lovingly and speak accordingly.  

Think of kindness as a way to help with mental health.  No one can handle having their flaws always thrown back at them.  Most of us know our flaws and obsessively think about them, beating ourselves up inside.  Assume that is what your husband lives with and what he needs from you is kindness.  

That is not to say we never point out a flaw, but we cover it in prayer first, then buffer it in love.  

Why is kindness important?  It shows love and care when done well.  We don’t ignore the problems, but we don’t have to deal with them when emotions are high.

Will You Learn How to Show Kindness in Marriage?

How can you specifically show kindness in marriage to your husband in the next few days?

If you are having a hard time thinking of a way to be kind -in the face of injury – try prayer.  Prayer is our weapon against an enemy who actively seeks to destroy our marriages.   Let’s fight back together!   Prayer ranks high on my list of random acts of kindness in marriage.  High! 

Will you learn how to show kindness?  Sometimes the kindest thing I can do when I am upset is to pray for my husband.   

Related: Saying ‘I Love You’ With Random Acts of Kindness

Do You Need To Go Deeper?

This is part of the 9-week Marriage Bible Study –Finding Hope & Joy in Marriage.  Through this course, we will explore the 9 Biblical foundations of having a successful marriage God’s way.  

This class will include:

  • 10 video lessons
    • You can watch live or when you have time
  • 9 weeks of personal study
    • 5 days each week that should take 10-15 minutes
  • A private Facebook Group to discuss the homework and talk through the weekly challenges
  • 45 Days of Prayer prompts

in HIM,

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Tiffany Montgomery

Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children.  Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.

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