Thank you for your willingness to forgo the “churchy” answers and open the “gritty book” (Bible) and “be authentic”. We have covered a lot of ground and gotten “off script”… and we LOVE IT!!!
This Sunday Danny Bivens will be filling in for us as I am in northern Washington County Kansas (next to Nebraska) with my son trying to help him get his first buck! I prayed for each of you by name this morning…in 16 degree weather… in the deer blind… in the dark! (might should have prayed for a buck cuz we are empty-handed heading into day three). :-)
Hope this helps,
Hixon and Margie
1 Corinthians 13
4 Love is patient, love is KIND. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails… 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Maybe you have only heard the following passage at weddings and on greeting cards etc…. Maybe it is so familiar to you that you don’t hear it anymore. (Like our spouses. We can be so familiar that we stop hearing their cries for help, their need for time with you, their preferences, their voids etc….)
LOVE IS KIND: I sat working on what eventually became this blog post, when I noticed a couple in their late 50’s or 60’s come into the warm coffee shop from the chilly snowy Saturday morning. They looked like every other couple in their late 50’s or 60’s. Both were trim for their age and dressed in the male and female versions of the same outfit. Jeans, winter boots, thick 1/4 zips, hooded coats, and hats. He wore a K-State purple baseball hat and she a beret… a rather stylish one in fact. As they entered, he took her beret, scarf and heavy winter jacket, and casually helped her sit comfortably in the booth next to my table. Then going straight for the counter he ordered drinks, paid, waited a moment then returned to their table, drinks in hand. After settling in he realized he’d not gotten napkins, spoons or anything else to go with their drinks. Rising to go back to the counter, she stopped him and insisted on being the one to get what they needed. She did and returned moments later. Now I was fully engaged while trying not to stare. They laughed and then seemed to be in a serious discussion. He was fully engaged and so was she. Their words had gentleness to them, familiarity and effort.
As a pastor and a guy interested in helping marriage “survive and thrive” I thought that “this is how it is done”……. and then it started. My bent towards critical thinking (hopefully a critical mind and not a critical heart) told me that there must be some reason they acting like they are on their first or second date….is he in trouble? Is this an affair? are they newly wed after both spouses died? Why so much deference? so much…well reverence for each other?
So when I started a conversation with them (their booth was only a few feet from my table) and the details of their relationship began to unfold, I was pleasantly surprised. They met in 1975 in High School though they did not marry till years later. (late 1981) He went to the local Community College (Cloud County Community College, Home of the “Fighting T-Birds” by the way) where he stayed and became assistant professor then finally a professor in his own right. After 20 years he started two business that failed, until he was able to make a business flourish in this Northern Kansas agricultural town of 6,000. (crop insurance I think). She moved away after High School and came back home after 7 years living a “nomad’s life”. Not sure if that means “hippie”, gypsy” or just moved a lot. (It was the 70’s so could be anything)
They asked what I did and I obliged talking mostly about marriage, the family and the importance of a marriage that honors Jesus. Both perked up and explained that before they married both came from rough homes where abuse and alcoholism was rampant. Didn’t give many details but then she did something amazing. She started bragging on her husband of 35 years! She said that “He (husband) saved her from all that”. When I pressed for details she explain as he sat a little uncomfortably. She said that he told her in the Summer of 1981 that “if we were to get married, then I do not want a marriage like my parents or your parents have. I want a marriage that is comfortable and KIND.” He actually use the word KIND. When I told her that word is used to describe love in the Bible he chimed in and said enthusiastically, “Thats where I got it!”. He proceeded to take off his wedding ring and show me the engraving on the inside of the band. “1 Cor 13 …Love is kind…”. Everyone knows you are supposed to be kind but they actually were kind to each other.
They went on to tell more … both are believers … their kids are grown (one in Manhattan, Kansas, and one in Kansas City. Neither married though both are “close”) … both are involved in a local church…his dad passed recently… “life hasn’t always been easy but we have always tried to be kind to each other and it has made all the difference in the world”
Folks, Everyone is kind while dating and a few months into a marriage but …. 35 years of marriage and still KIND? Thats how I want my marriage to be…so I better commit to being kind to my spouse.
3 PRACTICAL WAYS TO BE KIND TO YOUR SPOUSE…
- AVOID SARCASM … even if you think it is funny (because sometimes it is) The reason SARCASM is so destructive is that there is always an element of truth to it. It allows the person who is sarcastic to say what they want to say without being held accountable for it. In fact, try to confront someone about their sarcasm and you will be called “too sensitive” or “touchy”. You will be made to feel (not that anyone can make you feel anything without your permission) like you shouldn’t mind. Nothing could be further from the truth.
- FULLY ENGAGE “so many distractions…so little time”. Cell phones, the game, work, exhaustion. So much tears at our time together. At some point you have to be completely focused on your spouse. What are her needs? What does he wrestle with? How can you comfort and encourage your spouse? Sometimes it is as easy as making eye-contact and putting your smart phone away. As they say “When you are here…be here!”
- LITTLE THINGS – “I got these for you on the way home” (flowers, coffee, etc) “You stay here I’ll take care of the baby this time”. “I made the bed for ya so you can relax”. “We are doing takeout tonight so don’t worry about dinner.”. “I took care of it for you”. ALL of these are little things that add up big in a marriage.
Additional thoughts: Sometimes kindness is:
- … keeping your word to your spouse at a cost to you or your ego.
- … cancelling something that means a lot to you to be with your spouse.
- … making hard calls for the good of your spouse
- … speaking truth with grace and gentleness
- … bragging to others about your spouse
- … telling your spouse before you tell anyone else
- … defending your spouse to his/her family
- … making your home safe for your spouse to relax
- … being flexible to accommodate your spouse
- … making hard decisions win a gentle way.
Most of the time it is just doing the things you would do if you were dating and you had to “win” him/her. Because you do!
Like the couple in the story….commit to being KIND to ONE ANOTHER. It is the difference between surviving your marriage and THRIVING!