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Thursday, January 10, 2013

What is the best kind of kindness?

We’ve been talking about your new wardrobe for 2013. New clothes for the new you!

No, not pants, shirts and skirts. We are talking about the actions and attitudes that God calls us to “put on” in Colossians 3 in light of our new nature in Christ.

It just so happens that it is a great list of things to wear for your marriage!
You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with…kindness
Col 3:9-12 (NIV)
How to Put on Kindness

Do me a favor. Think to yourself. What are the first five or so words that come to your mind when you think of kindness? Go ahead, take the ten seconds you need to do this.

Now, think again. (I know I’m asking a lot of you to make you think twice in a single blog post). Think of your daily interactions with your husband or wife. What are the five (or so) words that best describe how you engage with your spouse?

Now compare these two lists of words. Find any similarities?

In case you are stuck (or lazy) here are some dictionary words to consider:
  • sympathetic
  • affectionate
  • loving
  • gentle
  • forbearing
  • giving pleasure or relief

What I’m trying to get you to think about is whether kindness is part of the daily routine in your marriage. Is it?

You see, the best kind of kindness is the kind you wear daily.

My challenge to you is to deliberately do something kind every day for your husband or wife. Each day, think of at least one act of kindness (action or spoken) you can do for your spouse. Plan it and do it. If it helps, scan through my dictionary list above or write down your own list. It will help give you ideas.

Hint: I especially like that last idea. Each day, simply think of something that would give your spouse pleasure or relief/help. (PS for men: there is such a thing as pleasure that doesn’t involve sex!)

Here are a few examples of little kindnesses to get you thinking (there I go again with the thinking - strike three).
  • Bring them a cup of tea or coffee while they are getting ready for their day.
  • Offer a short neck or foot rub while you are watching TV together
  • Prepare their favorite meal (even if it isn’t your favorite)
  • Stop in and get their favorite treat or snack next time you get gas
  • Lend an unprompted hand with a daily chore (dishes, dinner, laundry, yard work, kid’s bath or bedtime).
  • Ask before you leave for work, “How can I pray for you today?” (then do it!)
  • Pay a specific, honest compliment to one of the physical feature you most admire about them (or their chosen outfit or perfume/cologne).
You see kindness doesn’t have to involve big things. Much better are small things done with great  consistency.

You may be reluctant to give kindness to your spouse because they don’t typically give it back. To you, let me say that the more kindness you give, the more likely you are to see it in return. It’s a reaping and sewing thing. Withholding kindness will reap more unkindness.  But regular acts of kindness will change the atmosphere of your marriage. It is the best way to produce more kindness.

So, are you ready to commit to daily kindness?

Let’s hear it! What is the last kind thing (big or small) that your spouse did for you? What is the last kind thing you did for your spouse? Leave a comment.

photo credit:  yeko / 123rf.com

Next in the series: Put on Compassion


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3 comments:

upwithmarriage said...

This was great, I especially loved the "lazy" bit LOL.

To this (I'm quoting you): "You may be reluctant to give kindness to your spouse because they don’t typically give it back." What I've heard from women is partial to it: They are reluctant to give extra measures of kindness because they only get kindness as reciprocity. aka - they must always, "go first." (I'm learning that many women define this as a real problem in their marriages. Some have said it feels like it's 'scripted' and some say it makes them seem like the leaders in the marriage) It might sound trite, but I tell them to do the kindness as if for Christ.

The other day I forgot laundry in the dryer AND the washer, when I woke up the following morning both loads were folded and set on top of the dryer. ~he rocks!

Kindness, unfortunately is not the most natural gene for me so I keep a running journal of likes and dislikes for my hubby. I refer to it on a regular basis to help me to, put on love. I know it doesn't sound super spiritual does it? LOL - but it works.

Scott said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment Robyn -

I don't think of going first with kindness or respect or love as "leading" but I guess I can see how one could feel that way. I tend to think of it much more as "serving." And yes, we want to be served first, but that isn't the way Jesus did and it's now how we should either. Besides, waiting until you get what you want from the other before you give back is self-defeating! It doesn't work and puts things in a downward spiral.

As for your running journal, I say do whatever works! It shows that you are purposeful about it.
Scott

Lori @ EncourageYourSpouse.com said...

Love your challenge. It isn't difficult, it just takes intentionality! (don't think that's a word, but you get the idea)

"Small things done with great consistency."

So - last kind thing Rob did for me? He emptied the dishwasher!

And I cut up some cheese, and gave him a platter of cheese & crackers to snack on.

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