Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Our family is in a place where we are able to settle back into a normal schedule. But what is normal? We have been moving so much and have been living so fast paced, in survival mode, that we had forgotten how to spend quality time with each other. Through multiple military separations, we were so used to focusing on surviving and not pursuing each other. I mean, it’s been 7 years since we met, surely, we got this pursuing thing down. Not even close. Many of us have heard the analogy that we are always studying our spouse, learning more about them. First, we graduate from kindergarten, then middle school, high school, and we keep on learning. There is always more to learn. However, HOW do we pursue our spouse after a season of craziness and when life slows down? I wanted to offer some helpful, God-centered ways to pursue our spouse.
Throughout the New Testament there are almost 60 specific commands teaching us how to and how not to relate to one another: the One Another’s. This is a great study to delve into if you have more time. We will highlight five. Here is a link that has them all for your reference.
First, be devoted to one another (Rom. 12:10). Practically put, we are to serve our spouse. How can you serve and honor your spouse today? For me, it means putting away his laundry and having the coffee maker pre-programmed for the morning.
Second, accept one another (Romans 15:7). I’ll admit this is a hard one. Everyone changes during separation. Choose to listen to your spouse as James 1:19 reminds us, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” While your spouse is talking, listen, don’t prepare your answer or solution. Then, when your spouse is done talking, ask them if they need you to listen or if they are wanting help. Honor their request.
Third, encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Lift your spouse up with encouraging words or actions. As you are learning to live with each other again (even if it’s been a week apart), it is so easy to fall into a rut of finding the wrong in our spouse and not instances we can encourage and uplift. How can you encourage your spouse today?
Fourth, submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21, 1 Peter 5:5). You will disagree on decisions you were used to making yourself. For example: I love hanging pictures, but they aren’t always even. Well, they are rarely even. It drives Seth nuts. Seth asked me to hand over the baton of picture hanging and let him hang wall décor. That meant that some things were going to take longer to be hung as I waited for him to have time. But now, they are all perfectly straight. Submitting to his request, though small, was a decision to love him over my desires for crooked photos.
Fifth and final, confess your faults to one another (James 5:16). This is the hardest one, personally. I was angry at Seth because he wasn’t folding the laundry or putting dishes away while the kids happily played with magna tiles. What I didn’t see was that they were watching him and giving him “cookies” and “food.” I had to ask for his forgiveness for getting angry, internally, that he wasn’t doing more, even though he was. Asking your spouse for forgiveness brings you closer together. You are choosing to keep Christ at the center, and not yourself or your spouse.
The focus of the One Another’s is one another, not ourselves. I challenge you to read through the list one of One Another’s and choose a couple that you can start applying to your marriage. Journal about it. Observe your spouse, be a constant student of your spouse so that you know how to best help, serve, encourage, and love them.