How Should Christians Treat Their Spouse? + 5 Things to Change in Your Marriage Today

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Marriage is meant to reflect God, his design, and his love. This means that our marriages need to be a place of love and respect. Contrary to popular belief, choosing to love and respect your spouse doesn't require having a perfect marriage. How should Christians treat their spouse? Today I'm answering that question and sharing 5 things to change in your marriage today.

I recently saw a post where a woman was making a gratitude list about her husband and the ways he loves her well. I kind of get tired of the phrase "let's normalize ______", but if we are going to "normalize" something, let's normalize praising our spouse in this way. Not because everything is perfect - because let's be real, no one is claiming marriage is perfect. Two imperfect people can't make up one perfect marriage. But what we can do is choose to build up our spouse and choose to be thankful for their good and godly qualities.

Related: The Do's and Don't's of Respecting Your Husband | What Does It Mean to Respect Your Spouse?

I will readily admit that I am blessed tremendously with a loving husband with whom I get along with and truly enjoy his company. I understand that not everyone has that, and I understand that for people who's marriages are rocky, it is harder to show love and respect. I really do understand. However, the Bible is full of verses that instruct husbands and wives on how to treat one another, and they are NOT conditional upon how you are feeling towards your spouse in the moment. They are not conditional upon whether or not they give you the love and respect you desire. 

Related: 4 Keys to Creating a Great Marriage 

How Should Christians Treat Their Spouse?

This isn't because God doesn't care about the husband or wife who feels neglected by their spouse. Instead, it's because God created marriage to reflect Jesus. Think about it. Jesus came to earth to serve those who did not want him or care about him. He humbled himself for the good of the world. He loved and served even when those around him didn't recognize his work.

We are not Jesus, but we are called to reflect him. A healthy marriage will have both husband and wife loving, respecting, and serving one another out of love for Jesus and each other. But if your love for Jesus and dedication to serving as Christ did is one-sided, you are still called to that love, respect, and service. 

But what better mission field is there? What better declaration of Christ's love and care is there a believing spouse loving, respecting, and serving their unbelieving spouse in a way that declares Christ to them day-in-and-day-out.

So for those with a stubborn spouse, an un-attentive spouse, an unbelieving spouse, a snarky spouse, or a spouse who has rejected the faith, be encouraged that your love, respect, and service is a beautiful and needed testimony for Jesus to to your spouse. Do all that you can to reject the feelings of bitterness, anger, and hurt that may try to overtake you, and keep remaining faithful in your kindness, love, respect, and service to the one you have made a vow to.

And for the spouse that is in a marriage with a believing husband, yet you find yourself stuck in the sinful pattern of nagging or anger or snappiness (because we all struggle with something, even when we have wonderful marriages), remember the selflessness of Jesus. Remember the patience and kindness he shows to you daily. Remember how he doesn't keep record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13:5). Remember how he tosses your sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

Marriage is not easy, even for those who have it "easy" in marriage, but as Christians, there are things we can do to make sure we are loving our spouse the way that God indented for us to.

So, here are 5 things I constantly work to remove from my marriage, and 5 things I try to do instead.

Things to get rid of in marriage:

  • Nagging (see Proverbs 21:9, Proverbs 21:19, and Proverbs 27:15...ouch)
  • Keeping record of wrongs (quit bringing up things I've supposedly forgiven)
  • Assuming my spouse doesn't care
  • Expecting my spouse to do things exactly how I do them
  • Having higher standard for my spouse than for myself

Things to do in my marriage instead:

  • Speak words of encouragement (notice what is being done right)
  • Forgive and let go (remember how Jesus does this for me)
  • Give grace and assume the best (my spouse has a finite amount of energy and capacity and just because things go unnoticed sometimes doesn't mean that he doesn't care)
  • Understand that my way of doing things isn't the only way, and therefore it's okay for my spouse to do things differently (i.e. folding clothes, doing the dishes, etc.)
  • Expect just as much of myself as I do of my spouse, and giving grace to us both when we fall short.
I'm not very good at these, but I strive to improve by the grace and help of God. He is patient when I fall short and gracious to convict my heart and help me do better.

*Disclaimer: If you are being abused, get out and seek help. The Bible does not in any way condone abuse by a spouse and that is not the type of relationship I am referring to.

Stay peculiar,


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