In every wedding, you will hear the “Do you?” questions. Do you take this man…? Do you promise to…? Perhaps, if you are like me, you have heard them so many times you almost tune them out. However, these questions and our affirmative “I do” commitment are the substance of what marriage is made of and cannot survive without.
To love well, there are things we must do and don’t do in our marriage. The foundational list for how to love well originates in 1 Corinthians 13. It is often read at weddings and it is called the love chapter.
I want to love well in my marriage as I know you do in yours. So to refresh your memory on what that looks like here are a few of the Do’s and Don’ts for loving well:
Don’t be self-seeking.
Some of this can come up in unexpected ways. For example, I’m married to a competitive guy. Mark is an attorney and his father was an attorney, so I would say to him during arguments, “I feel like I’m on the witness stand!” It seemed that the whole point of him arguing was to win, even if he was wrong.
Whether you’re in an argument with your husband, or you just want your way in something else, remind yourself — this is my partner, not my opponent, and winning is not the goal.
Don’t be easily angered.
I’m kind of like a tea kettle. Things don’t bother me for the longest time and then I boil over and the whistle blows and I lose my temper. Being easily angered makes things unpredictable to your husband because he won’t know when you’ll be set off. He doesn’t realize that your anger has been building all day about something unrelated and because he’s the one who happens to walk in the room he’s going to catch your fury.
Talk about things as they come up so your anger doesn’t fester.
Don’t keep a record of wrongs.
The best way to do this one is to choose to forgive. We hold onto that list of our husband’s mistakes when we feel like we have not been treated fairly. To have peace and love well, choose to forgive your husband even when he’s wrong.
Learn how to forgive.
Do always protect.
Your marriage is going to come under fire in many ways. It can happen from within with demanding children; it can come from outside your marriage with the temptation to have an affair. There are lots of things that can attack your marriage and we have to be alert to those to protect it.
Do always believe the best.
When your husband does something you don’t like, try not to rush into thinking he did it intentionally to hurt you, to make you angry, or out of selfishness. Assume the best.
Do always hope.
There will be struggles in your marriage and in your life, but God is bigger than all of those. Getting through challenges hinges on hope. For me, my hope is in God and I know that he will give me the strength to push through.
Praying for my marriage has sustained my hope through many difficulties.
Do always persevere.
Believing the best, hope and commitment will help you persevere in your marriage. I have seen marriages that looked like they were done, but the couple refused to give up. In the end, after persevering, they found a depth of love that far exceeded what they started with.
Fight for your marriage.
As you look over these do’s and don’ts, try not to use them as a checklist for what your husband is doing right and wrong. You are only responsible for your choices. Regardless of how your husband acts, choose to love well.
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