I once wrote to a friend thanking him for a comment he made when I visited him shortly after the death of his wife. Reminiscing over their years together, he explained the reason for their successful marriage in one simple yet profound expression of love. "We were good to each other," he said.
There had been nothing complicated about their relationship; no psychobabble was needed to explain what parental or societal pressures in their past had made their marriage work. I doubt that they ever consulted a marriage counselor and at the time they were married few ministers gave much attention to premarital advice. Still, they enjoyed many happy years together because they were good to each other.
According to the Bible, love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4), so being good to each other is what love is all about.
Imagine your home being a castle of kindness; a place where kind words are spoken, kind looks communicate love and where random acts of kindness are a way of life; a place where giving is more important than receiving.
"Sounds wonderful," you say, "but how can a couple create such a climate of kindness?"
Surprisingly, it requires a third party in your home: the Lord: "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it" said the Psalmist. (Psalm 127: 1)
My friend and his wife had discovered how to welcome God into their marriage and He made their mutual kindness possible. They were faithful in the services of their church, prayed together and were eager to help others. The love of God flowed through their marriage and brought an atmosphere of love to their home.
In his book "Love Is the Greatest," Dr. George Sweeting wrote: "One man who began to allow God's love to come through in his daily contacts with people said, 'I have found that the world is filled with interesting people. I just never realized it before.'"
Some have had their eyes opened to the value of people they meet but are blind to the treasure they have in those closest to them. Many treat work and business associates better than those they say they love, but when God is made the head of a home, family members find new joy in pleasing one another.
Dr. Sweeting also provides the following list of things to do if you prefer to continue living in your selfish, loveless, way:
Expect to be appreciated.
Never forgive a criticism.
Trust nobody but yourself.
Demand agreement with your own views on everything.
Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them.
Shirk duties if you can.
Do as little as possible for others.
Love yourself supremely.
Many learn too late that givers gain and keepers lose. Those who invest love reap lifelong rewards. Acts of kindness keep returning to them, making life an adventure in giving. Let's be good to those we love and get in on that kind of romantic and adventurous living every day.
Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. An anthology containing over one hundred of his best columns, “Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” is now available at your local or online bookseller. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook @YOURFAITHADVENTURE.