If you have spent any time at all listening to Joe on the radio you know he loves sharing stories about the power of kindness. How one simple act of kindness can change the whole trajectory of someone’s day. And how it can inspire others to do the same!
But we can forget about kindness with the people right in front of us, the people we share a home with. The people we love the most. Home is the place we can let our hair down a bit. Our husband or wife understands why we’re cranky so we don’t have to go out of our way to be kind to them, they love us anyway, right?
Simple, every day kindness also has to power the change the world inside your home.
4 Ways To Practice Kindness in your Marriage
1. Start with humility.
It’s almost impossible to show kindness without humility because humility says that you are more important than me. Being kind means being willing to get messy for the sake of someone else. Not considering ourselves too important or too busy to help in the least of tasks.
Phillipians 2:3-4 explains it best: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. As we think more highly of others than ourselves, kindness will flow out.
2. Watch your tone.
It doesn’t even matter what you’re saying, speaking kindly can change the culture of your home. A kind tone sets the stage for better communication and reduces the chances of being misunderstood. In our family sometimes we don’t even realize our tone is off until someone calls us on it. (Can you try that again?) Especially when you have to ask for a favor or offer criticism, keeping your tone of voice laced with gentleness shows respect and fosters cooperation. Joe and I also struggle with hearing the wrong tone where there is none. Being kind includes not assuming negative intent.
Dr. Eggerichs from Love and Respect talks about being right, but wrong at the top of your voice. It’s not what you say but how you say it!
3. Be compassionate.
There is a famous quote that says, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle.” Our spouses also fight battles. Some of them we know about. But some of them we don’t know about. If we haven’t been vulnerable with each other it becomes easy to hide those struggles.
What if I assumed this about my husband? If my first thought when I saw him was: he might have had a really tough day. I could respond with compassion and kindness. Less likely to jump down his throat for the smallest things. More willing to serve and help him.
4. Serve in the small ways.
Joe and I talk a lot about service because of how we have seen how it has transformed our marriage. A few years ago Joe had asked God -how I can better love my wife, how can I get closer to her. Where do I even start? And the simple answer he received was, “Serve her.” He told me that at first he wasn’t sure how or where, but then suddenly those opportunities were everywhere. A few minutes after that prayer I came home with a van full of groceries:) So he started there.
Or start with just asking your spouse the simple question, “How can I help you?” Even when there’s nothing Joe can do to help me, just being asked that shows kindness. And as I saw his heart to serve me, it motivated me to do the same and serve him! Especially on the days that we may not be “feeling it”, or we’re cranky or distracted- those small acts of service keep resentment from growing in our marriage.
How can you show kindness in your marriage?
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32