Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O That Will Be Glory"1 (Lyrics)
Ephesians 5:21 – And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (NLT)
"I remember when you used to…"
Any time I hear my wife say these words, I know that they will be followed by something that I once did but don't do anymore — things like opening the door for her when she's getting in the car or entering a store, or coming up behind her and putting my arms around her neck while we're shopping.
My wife has a memory like an elephant, and she recalls many things that I've long since forgotten, among them, how our relationship was when we were first married. I tell her that our relationship has matured. She thinks, Now that you've got me, you think that you don't need to do those things anymore. We're probably both right to a degree, but healthy relationships must be maintained.
Paul gives a list of instructions for husbands and wives. Some women don't like the submission part, while some husbands take issue with loving their wives enough to die for them. But Paul prefaces the instructions with a command for mutual submission. Doing this requires building blocks.
Mutual love and submission entail intentionality. If I'm not intentional or determined to love my wife as Christ loved the church or to submit to her as I desire her to submit to me, it won't happen. Anything important requires my undivided attention.
Thoughtful words and actions are important. My wife loves to hear me tell her that I love her, but she wants to see the love in action: holding her hand, opening a car door, giving her a card, kissing her first thing in the morning — little things that mean a lot.
Honesty is also critical. Dishonesty will wreck any marriage or relationship. I know. I've been on the receiving end of dishonesty, and it leads to a dead end. Trust is built in small ways over the course of many years. One wrong move can destroy what took years to build.
Faithfulness is a must for healthy relationships. It follows on the heels of honesty. In the marriage ceremony, I promised faithfulness to my one wife until death parts us. No good reason exists to break that promise as long as I'm in the relationship.
More important than any other block is including God. Relationships that exclude Him are headed for failure from the start.
Let's use the correct building blocks to erect healthy relationships in our lives.
Prayer: Father, give us wisdom to build healthy relationships with those You send into our lives. Amen.