I was lying in bed the other morning as my husband Ben was beginning to get ready for work.
From the hallway he said something really nice. It was as simple as, “How are you doing? You know I just love you so much.”
Saying something warm is not unlike my husband, but my response was a little unlike me.
The next thought in my head as I lay there smiling was–I wonder if there are any errands I can run for him today.
This is not a huge shocker of a story, ladies and gentleman, but let me finish. When I had this thought enter my head about offering to do errands, I was extremely aware that the thought happened because he had acted lovingly to me first.
We tend to fall into cycles in relationships, and this is especially so in marriages. We are reactive in nature, and one person’s kindness naturally fuels something positive from the other. One person’s respect tends to fuel something positive from the other.
Trouble comes when we show love or respect hoping to get a nice gesture in return. That isn’t really love…that’s something selfish. We also run into problems when the cycle we’re on isn’t one of treating each other well, but instead we feel we were treated poorly so we respond by treating the other poorly.
In our reactive nature, it’s counterintuitive to respond to what we perceive as unkindness….with kindness. Yet, it is this choice to love and respect someone when we feel wronged than can change…well…everything.
Ugly cycles of mean behavior fueling mean behavior can suddenly morph into beautiful cycles of redemption and forgiveness when one person recognizes what’s happening and chooses kindness although kindness may not be deserved. Of course we tend to hope our partner will be the first to break the nasty cycle, when Christ actually asks kindness of us, no matter what our circumstance, for one short, sweet, simple reason:
What a lovely verse!
Making the choice to love is powerful because it is Christ-like. It can turn cycles of bitterness upside down. It can be the light in someone’s dark patch. It can change someone’s day or world–maybe your own.
These ideas are much better explained in the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs; I am thrilled to be giving away a copy.
This blog post only scratches the surface at the type of insight you’ll gain from Love and Respect which does a pretty brilliant job of outlining what men and women want and need in marriage. Win it for yourself or gift it to your engaged or married friends.
The winner will be notified March 23rd. Good luck!