When I’m asked what keeps love alive, I don’t think any one thing does it. Rather, I think it takes a thousand acts of kindness done on an ongoing basis. What do you think of that advice for marriages?
I think it’s brilliant!
I was treated to one such act this evening. After sitting down to dinner, my wife, Christie, looked over at me with a mischievous smile and said, “We’re going to California in December.”
“Why is that?” I asked, wondering what was happening in California in December.
“We’re going to Kelsey’s wedding,” she said with a big grin. “I’ve called your office to ensure that you have the time off. It will mean the world to our niece for us to be there.”
“Well, I’m sure it will,” I said, starting to cry with warm affection. “But it also means the world to me that you would do something like this for her. You know how much I care for her and want to honor her marriage.”
I sat fumbling with my clam chowder and listened as Christie shared how she had felt moved by God to call my sister and ask how life was going. Hearing about the wedding, Christie felt a holy tug that we were supposed to go. A conversation with my sister this evening confirmed the decision.
Hours later, as I write this article, I’m reminded of the question pertaining to the wisdom of “a thousand acts of kindness.” I feel a warm glow over the fact Christie shows such love to others and to me. The reverberation of this love is powerful; it sustains us through the inevitable bumps that come our way.
Much has been written about the power of kindness. The apostle Paul intertwined love with kindness when he penned, “Love is patient, love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Certainly he knew how kindness binds people’s hearts together. Acts of kindness, practiced by both partners again and again, create a powerful bond between them.
Here are some additional considerations for “a thousand acts of kindness”:
Kindness is essential to a vibrant marriage. You can have a wonderful marriage, but if it lacks ongoing acts of kindness, it will be vulnerable to problems. A vibrant marriage is made up of two individuals who set their agendas aside in favor of pleasing their mate. A pleased mate is a happy mate.
Kindness is a way to express love. We all know love is both a noun and a verb. Kindness is a vehicle of expression for love. It’s never enough to simply tell your mate you love her, as important as that is. You must show her. You show her by reflecting on what is important to her and meeting needs. Whether that means placing a love note on the kitchen counter, running a bath, or giving a simple and unexpected gift, kindness is a verb.
Kindness strengthens your marriage. These expressions of love, done regularly, strengthen the bonds of your relationship. Acts of kindness speak loudly that your mate is genuinely cared for. Expressions of kindness, specific and meaningful, shout this affirmation: “I know what is important to you and care for your well-being.”
Kindness bounces back to you. When we perform acts of kindness, that love returns to the giver. Suddenly you have your own Mutual Admiration Society. Since you care enough about your spouse to do a thousand acts of kindness and she appreciates these acts, she’s more inclined to do them in return. Love, through acts of kindness, flows freely back and forth, sustaining the marriage.
Kindness softens hearts and lessens disagreements. Kindness melts away any tensions that might exist in the marriage. Where there is love and kindness, little irritations and petty arguments dissipate. There is simply no room for conflict in a relationship filled with kindness.
In summary, kindness is the elixir of life for a marriage. We act kindly not only because we feel love or because we want kindness to come back to us, but because God has shown us great kindness and he’s instructed us to show kindness to others. Try it and see if you too begin to form your own Mutual Admiration Society.