One of the strongest pieces of scripture comes to us from Paul, The Apostle, in the book of Galatians 5:22-26. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he shares nine attributes of a Christian life, called the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
These verses, which remind us of what’s most important in our Christian walk, also provides an excellent lesson for married couples. Let’s examine a little closer how the fruit of the spirit can be applied to your marriage starting today.
Love is the greatest of these and is necessary in any relationship. It controls our actions, causes us to make sacrifices and to put our spouse before ourselves. Love is so powerful that couples must allow it to rule in their homes.
Let love be evident in how you speak to your spouse. It should be felt with every touch and in every behavior. It’s more than a word, it’s an action. So even if you rarely say “I love you,” your spouse should experience it in how you make them feel.
Joy is a goal that most individuals I know are searching for. It is an emotion and a state of happiness, which should dwell within you. In your marriage seek joy. Count your blessings and look for things that bring you joy every day. It could be something as small as the way your spouse smiles or that special dish your spouse makes that brings you joy. The more you seek it, the more often you will find things to be joyful about.
Peace, well striving for it at least, causes us to make the best choices in certain situations. Our marriages need a goal of peace. Peace reminds us to watch our mouths and keeps us from being disrespectful to our spouse. Peace helps us do what’s needed to stay calm and reject conflict in our marriages.
Forbearance is about acceptance and tolerance. What a gift this is in a marriage. Each of us enters our marriage with imperfections. And those imperfections can cause chaos in our homes. Forbearance reminds us to accept our spouse as they are. Forbearance helps us abstain from the judgments that might come once we realize they don’t do things our way.
Kindness is such an interesting Fruit of the Spirit because we can give it to everyone else, but find it difficult to consistently give to our spouse. It is the easiest and most basic of them all. Being kind simply means consider your spouse, his/her feelings as well as their needs. Once we are aware of those things, it becomes easier to avoid those behaviors that don’t honor them.
Goodness is simply about being good and generous to someone else. How often are you “good” to your spouse? If goodness dwells in your home can you imagine what your marriage could become. Couples can demonstrate goodness by listening, being attentive and doing the little things that make your spouse smile.
Faithfulness is about being true to your word and the promises you made to your spouse. It should be the ultimate goal in every relationship. Honoring your marriage begins with being faithful to your spouse. Remember your vows and the commitment you made? If you promised to never hurt your spouse, be faithful in putting their needs before your own whenever you feel tempted. Your spouse should be able to trust your words and rely on your loyalty, always.
Gentleness is a great way to ensure your spouse feels safe within your relationship. The best ways to demonstrate gentleness in your marriage is by being thoughtful in your words, sensitive to your spouse’s emotions and especially tender in your touch.
Self-Control reminds us we have power over ourselves. This one allows us to deliver on each of the other Fruits of the Spirit. You are in control of you…all day and every day. Self-control means you can choose to take a step back when you feel yourself going “there” with your spouse. Marriages are also stronger when couples use self-discipline when handling disagreements. You are in charge of how you respond, no matter what comes your way.
The Fruit of the Spirit is excellent for our Christian journey, but it can also give us a blueprint to a happy marriage.
LOVE – It’s more than a word, it’s an action. Your spouse should experience it in how you make them feel.
JOY – Count your blessings and look for small things that bring you joy in your marriage every day.
PEACE – Stay calm and reject conflict in your marriage.
FORBEARANCE – Accept your spouse as they are and abstain from the judgments.
KINDNESS – Be considerate of your spouse’s feelings as well as their needs.
GOODNESS – Demonstrate goodness by listening, being attentive and doing the little things that make your spouse smile.
FAITHFULNESS – Be true to your word and the promises you made to your spouse.
GENTLENESS – Be thoughtful with your words, sensitive to your spouse’s emotions and especially tender in your touch.
SELF-CONTROL – Control your actions. Take a step back when you feel yourself going “there” with your spouse.