Marriage is a lifelong commitment that is a blessing in the eyes of the Lord. A strong marriage, however, takes effort on behalf of both parties––both in thought and in action.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. —Ephesians 5:28-33
It can be hard to always love and honor our significant others as well as we love ourselves––humans can be selfish creatures by nature. And it can be particularly difficult to honor one another if there has been an argument.
It is much easier to hold onto frustrations with another person than it is to hold on to those negative feelings about ourselves, and it is much easier to hold onto anger than it is to forgive. But Christians are called to forgive and to love one another, and there is no better relationship in which to practice forgiveness than within a marriage.
Honoring our spouses consists of more than supporting them in their work and hobbies; it also means showing support for our loved ones to others. It means treating the other person as we would treat ourselves in action, word and thought.
Just as we honor the Lord in our thoughts, so should we honor our spouses. Changing habits in our thought process can take time, so it’s foolish to expect to get rid of all negativity at a moment’s notice. An honest and thoughtful effort is the best approach, and can help our relationships grow steadily stronger over time.
There are positive implications of changing the thought process as well; the power of positive thinking is on our side! Once we stop dwelling on negative aspects of a relationship in our thoughts, they become less bothersome.
Another way to let go of anger, frustration or negativity in relationships is to communicate. Communication is key to improving any relationship, but especially a marriage, and by talking with each other and growing closer in one another’s thoughts, it’s possible to strengthen bonds as we strengthen our love for God.
Of course, all couples will have disagreements from time to time – we are all human, after all. The important thing to remember in these times is to focus on the love for your husband or wife and not on what little thing caused the disagreement in the first place. By refocusing our energies on loving, caring for and nourishing our spouses, we honor them in our thoughts, which leads to honoring them in our actions.
Love is central to the Church’s teachings and a strong marriage is a great sign of your love for each other and for the Church. This indisposable tenet of found in the Bible is recognized by most Christian leaders across the globe as they expound on God’s Word. This goes from Protestant denominations to the Catholic Church.
In Pope Paul VI’s papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae, he writes of marriage that: “Marriage is not, then, the effect of chance or the product of evolution of unconscious natural forces; it is the wise institution of the Creator to realize in mankind His design of love.”
How will you honor your spouse through your thoughts and show the world God’s love? Share your thoughts in the comments.