By Joey and Carla Link
February 9, 2022
If you walked up to people the next time you go grocery shopping and asked them what love is, you are sure to get lots of different answers. The Bible, however, has just a few. The passage in the Bible most of us know that speaks about love is 1 Corinthians 13. It says:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,endures all things for love never fails.”
Before we talk about what love looks like, let’s talk about what love is NOT!
1. Never show your appreciation for anything your spouse does for you. “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
2. Nag and whine when things aren’t going your way. “A nagging wife annoys like constant dripping.” Proverbs 19:13
3. Never admit that you are wrong, but be sure and rub it in your spouse’s face when he/she makes a mistake. “Love forgets mistakes, nagging about them parts the best of friends.” Proverbs 17:9
Now let’s look at ways you can show your spouse you DO love him/her. 1. Be an encourager. When I (Carla) get discouraged, it is usually because I am overwhelmed with life. I need my spirit to be balanced with encouragement. I get so overwhelmed with my faults and/or busyness or other things that I lose confidence in my strengths. Charlie Shedd, in his book Letters to Karen states, “Tell your husband he is wonderful. You can only tell him he isn’t wonderful where he isn’t if you have already told him he is wonderful where he is!” “Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine,good things in others.” (Philippians 4:8)
2. Have realistic expectations. Much of the conflict we have experienced in our marriage has been a result of unrealistic, unspoken expectations. I expect Joey to know what I am thinking and feeling without having to express it and vice versa. We finally learned to set aside time to calmly share our expectations and at the same time express to each other how we need those expectations to be met.
- It has helped me a lot to have these thoughts to evaluate my expectations: Is there any way he can meet them? (Or am I demanding what he is unable to give?)
- Will he have to compromise too much of what he thinks and believes to meet me on this? (Is the price too high?)
- Am I being selfish?
3. An old saying goes, “Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet.” In other words, don’t rub your spouse’s mistakes in his face. Your spouse may have said something insensitive and although he/she apologized for it, you won’t let it go and your actions and attitude show it. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sin God will forgive it and cleanse us, meaning wipe the slate clean. Should we do no less for our spouses?
When you need to talk with your spouse about something you know he isn’t going to want to hear, ask yourself first, does he need to hear this? Is there a better time or way I could approach him with this? Joey and I will tell each other we have an agenda and to please let the other know when it would be a good time to talk about it.
“…Convince, rebuke, and encourage with the utmost patience…”2 Timothy 4:2
So, how can you communicate love to your spouse? As your perspective and your attitude move from negative to positive, what once seemed horrible and ugly to you will become beautiful and wonderful.
It would be well if our spouses could say of us,“I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love.” Philippians 1:7