One of the great indulgences in life is good food, and that is true even in a servant marriage. What you “eat”—the fruit from your spouse’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and motivations—is the food you get served every day.
We offer these meals to our spouse for decades—their family, personality, choices, sins, levels of awareness, and their maturity. What they “eat” from our lives into theirs is a huge part of our service. Therefore, it is our responsibility to be aware of what our food says about who we are and what we love. The Holy Spirit in us bears fruit that, if nurtured in marriage, should serve our spouses so they can experience God’s fruit in their lives.
Because an intentionally well-fed spouse is in better condition than one not fed on a regular basis, believers should strive to regularly serve amazing fruit to their spouses in the following forms:
It is not a passive emotion, nor is for the faint of heart or the selfish. In fact, love is often inconvenient and costly, because you have to give it regularly. But it can also be life changing. Love heals and humbles. It energizes, and when we know our spouses desire to be loved, we need to take responsibility to meet the desire in a consistent manner.
Unlike happiness, joy has nothing to do with the circumstances. It is the great fruit of the Spirit, and it is a disposition in which you or I willfully choose to be grateful and optimistic. The cheerleader-like energy is contagious, and can really influence the environment and people around you.
God brings peace to our hearts even when our spouse, children, job or circumstances may be just a little bit stormy. It is about trusting the nature and decisions of God, because only He can give you calmness, faith, and most importantly, complete confidence in your spouse.
In making a marriage, God takes two different genders from two different backgrounds, with different personalities and preferences, families, and histories, and over the course of many decades, He transforms them into one. A marriage is the perfect situation to learn patience, which is more than tolerating those differences. You have to be gracious and understanding, and work to stay in the servant position in order to truly be patient.
Could you imagine living with someone who anticipated your needs on a regular basis? That is what it means to be kind, and it can be expressed and desired in many different ways, depending on the person. Kindness is intentionally and consistently letting the fruit of the Holy Spirit flow toward your spouse.
For me, goodness it hard to define, but clear to see when it is missing—it is to have no vile or selfishness motivating me toward you. To me, goodness is a condition of the heart.
At the heart of our God is faithfulness. In any area of our lives or marriages, faithfulness means our spouses can depend on us. They can guess how we will act or think because we are faithful to them. Faithfulness gives a sense of relaxation that comes from the truth.
To be gentle requires thoughtfulness and support of another person’s soul or circumstances. Gentleness is strength at the service of your spouse’s heart.
The self-control part is important—it is the fruit of God’s spirit through us, hopefully toward our spouse. Self-control involves sacrificing my own desires at the time when it is important for me to do so.
Human beings are hardwired to work harder, be happier, live better, with good cheer and full stomachs, and the best “food” will sustain you by bringing the Lord God into your life and your marriage.
Excerpt taken from: Servant Marriage.
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