While writing this series, I tried to think of which characteristic describes my husband the best. Out of all the attributes of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13, my husband is mostly kind. He has a sweet demeanor about him, and everything he does for me exudes love. He wakes me up every morning with a kiss. He makes me lunch and thanks me for cleaning the house. Before leaving for work, he always gives me a kiss and tells me he loves me. If there’s an accident on the way to work, he lets me know where there’s heavy traffic and which roads to avoid. Throughout the day, he’ll text me just to tell me he’s thinking of me. When he comes home, we’ll eat dinner together, pray for each other, and kiss each other goodnight. There is no doubt that my husband loves me. These may seem like little things to some people, but that’s what kindness is: finding ways to actively display your love.
Based on a combination of definitions from dictionary.com, kindness flows from a desire to do good to others. Kindness is an action. While patience invokes an image of sitting quietly, waiting for a wish to be fulfilled, kindness stirs up the image of holding the door open for someone or presenting a gift. Even a smile, the act of contorting one’s face to a pleasing and attractive expression, involves an action. Kindness is not meant to sit still, but to move. Kindness is not meant to be kept within, but to be shown.
As the wonderful band dc Talk taught us back in the 90’s, “luv is a verb.” The way love is displayed is through kindness. You cannot be kind without love, and you cannot show love without kindness. We all know how to show kindness, but it’s not always easy. After a long day of work, you may be short tempered. Instead of showing love to your spouse, you are unkind. You snap, you insult, you make a rude comment, or you explode. By being unkind, you are withholding love from your spouse.
With that in mind, when you are interacting with your spouse, consider how you can best show love to him/her. Go out of your way to make dinner, give him a kiss, or bring home a special surprise. If you are like me and your fatigue makes you grumpy, be honest with your spouse. “Hey, sweetie, I had a long day at work. I’m sorry if I’m not myself tonight. I love you and appreciate you!”
You don’t have to spend a lot of time, money, or energy to show kindness to your spouse. While I’m sure they would appreciate a surprise vacation, a massage, or a fancy dinner, your spouse will also appreciate a home-cooked meal, a hand-written love note, or a simple compliment. I even consider it kindness when my husband listens to me vent without interrupting. I show kindness to him by speaking highly of him in front of others and writing him notes (as a writer, what better way to show my affection to my husband than to do what I love?).
The Bible says that God is love. God is the only one who can be infinitely and perfectly kind (see Titus 3:4-6). When we want to argue with or act selfish toward our spouses, we can rely on God to give us the grace we need to be kind. When we’re tired and don’t have an ounce of energy to do for our spouses, we can rely on God to fill us with love for our spouses and empower us to show kindness to them. May our desire for love ultimately lead us to the Savior, who loves us with an everlasting love.