5 Markers of a Healthy Relationship
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” I Peter 3:8-9
Would you say the relationships in your life display these things Peter references in his letter to persecuted believers? How about your marriage relationship? I’m sure we can all relate to times we felt as though there was heavy persecution in our marriage. We quickly realize that after all the romance we bring into marriage, we are faced with realities that have to be addressed every day. These realities can lead us down a slippery slope of disillusionment, discontentment, and a complete detachment from our spouse. Simply put, we have a high level of contempt in our marriage where our attitude, words, and actions are not blessing our spouse. The natural progression is that couples slide into a crazy cycle. The human response is to respond with the same defensiveness and contempt with which we are treated.
Someone has to decide to break the crazy cycle. In his letter, Peter is specifically addressing believers who are being persecuted and reminding them the need to be relationally healthy. If we are not able to describe our closest, most intimate human relationship in that way, how would we ever be able to relate to others in the way described in Peter’s letter?
7 Ways You Can Love Your Spouse
What if one person in your marriage decides to be a blessing? We are not saying you allow yourself to be mistreated or that you can mistreat your spouse. We are not advocating that issues not be addressed. What we are saying is, what if you consider the description Peter provides, and choose to bless your spouse?
Consider seven ways you can love your spouse:
1. Have unity of mind - Be on the same page
2. Sympathy - Try to see things from their perspective
3. Brotherly love - Treat each other with respect and kindness
4. Tender heart - Let your initial response be grace not judgment or criticism
5. Humble mind - Prioritize your spouse over yourself
6. Do not repay evil for evil - Even when you feel hurt, respond in love
7. Bless - Pray for them and speak words of encouragement to them
1 Enemy and it’s NOT Your Spouse
Attacks from the enemy, Satan, can cause challenges in your marriage. They are often masked as your spouse being the problem, and in their eyes it’s you. Don’t be deceived and fall into the crazy cycle of firing insults. If you find yourself in this cycle often, change the narrative. Choose today to move towards your spouse and initiate a cycle of blessing. Be the one!
You may be wondering, “But, what if my spouse never changes?” That part is not in your control. Thinking you can change your spouse through any way except loving them unconditionally is simply the illusion of control. The Lord loved you when you were unlovable with no expectations. Let this same mindset be in you that was in Jesus. Love your spouse with no expectations.
The list provided is a great place to start. No list we offer is ever exhaustive, but rather a guide. We want to help you identify specific ways you can interact with your spouse in a way God calls you to.
Our resource is another great place to start if you are looking to change the narrative in your marriage. You can find the book and 8-week study here.