“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Messiah Yeshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
As believers in Messiah, the easiest way to be a good testimony to your marriage partner is to live “under the influence” of the Fruit of the Spirit.
While that may be stating the obvious, it’s also important to understand the needs of each partner in order to help us practically to be a good testimony to our marriage partner.
What Women Need
Women, in general, seem to have a greater need for security, and part of that is knowing that their husband is the primary breadwinner. That knowledge gives them a sense of being taken care of which both mentally and emotionally frees them up to become mothers without also having to worry about how to financially provide for those children and pay the monthly bills.
For women, there is also the need to feel loved and appreciated, both for her femininity as well as her intellect and abilities. Since today’s world no longer relegates women to only being homemakers, a woman needs to feel that she brings no less to this partnership and is, therefore, valued for her unique contributions.
A woman also needs to feel that her husband is a leader, the dominant figure, without being domineering. He is, after all, called to be the “priest” of the home.
Finally, a woman needs to feel protected and defended by her husband.
What Men Need
Men, unlike women, have a greater need to feel respected and sense that their wives are willing to defer to them for advice and even making the final decision.
Men need to feel that they have their wife’s backing – that she is behind him, supports him, believes in him, will not undermine him and will not try to override his authority by becoming the dominant figure.
Men need to be built up, and the easiest way for this to happen is for a wife to verbally let him know how capable and important he is to both her and their children.
How the Fruit of the Spirit Comes Into Play
The first fruit – love – can more easily flow from both parties when each partner feels that the above needs are being met.
What Love Should Look Like
We’ve all heard the adage that “Love is a commitment and not a feeling”. This especially must be true for believers, because if it isn’t, then essentially the marriage commitment is conditional and can be broken when the feeling has changed or when things get too difficult. That is not the kind of commitment that will enhance the self-confidence of any mate.
True love is sacrificial. It’s more than a longing. It should include the desire to be a blessing to that person, and that is only possible on a daily basis by making a real effort to activate all the fruits of the Spirit in one’s life.
The next fruit is “Joy.” How is that practically worked out in one’s daily life? It might include doing our best to be in a good mood, being upbeat. Joy is contagious, and it’s hard to stay gloomy or depressed when you’re in the presence of a joyful person. It’s also much easier to be with someone who is happy and lighthearted.
Moving onto “Peace” – In today’s world, it’s not always easy to not succumb to being worried or shaken, because there are so many external circumstances which can cause us to lose our peace, but, to the extent that we can remember that someone bigger than us is concerning Himself with those external issues, we can fully trust that He will work out everything to our benefit. When you are living in a total state of peace, you can create a pleasant atmosphere, free of impending distress and anticipated uneasiness. “Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace Whose Mind is Stayed on Thee.” Isa. 26:3
It’s easy to group the next three fruits “Patience/Kindness/Gentleness” because they are often one in the same. One of the best ways to bless your partner is to relate to them using these three. Much of this manifests itself in the way we communicate with one another. Sometimes it can be as simple as having an edge in your voice which could lead to exasperation, being easily flustered or expressing full-throttle anger. Yet, don’t most of us want to be treated with gentleness and kindness? We somehow need to figure out the kindest, most tactful and gentlest way to say something. Just doing that simple thing will help to preserve a good spirit between a couple. Let’s face it, we don’t always consider our vocal delivery, but we really should, because we can’t expect to maintain good will among partners when communication is peppered with sarcasm, anger or frustration.
***To the extent that we can provide this for one another – we will be a good testimony to our partner and our children and friends who also hear how we talk to one another. It will do more to unify you as a couple than anything else.
Love is the Ability and Desire to want to preserve that initial feeling of caring, happiness and togetherness (unity).
Damage Done by a Lack of Love
A slow but accumulative state of damage definitely results when there is an unkind method of communication. Constant criticism will only break a person’s spirit and cause them to feel that they can’t do anything right in their partner’s eyes.
The scriptures teach that we are “living stones being built up as a spiritual house. “I. Pet. 2:5: God desires us to be built up, so why should we want to have a hand in tearing down anyone – especially the person we claim to love the most?
Who tears down? Only the enemy who comes “to kill, to steal and to destroy – John 10:10.
In fact, when there is a robbery of your joy, your peace and all the other good things, you can be sure that Satan has a hand in it and that we may be willingly cooperating with him.
According to I. Cor. 13:
“Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. It doesn’t have a swelled head. It doesn’t force itself on others. It isn’t always me first. It doesn’t fly off the handle. It doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, it’s not happy when others grovel. It always looks for the best, and it puts up with anything. It never looks back but keeps going to the end.” (Message Bible)
This is Where the Sacrifice Comes In
Real love is a chosen attitude that each one of us has to work on. There are two other fruits which can help us – “self-control and perseverance.”
Self- control is needed to help us remember what to say in the moment and how to say it. It may mean biting our tongue and choosing the more peaceable way to work through difficulties.
Perseverance is the decision to continue this better way all the time. It’s not a one-shot deal.
How Do We Get There:
- Agreement with each other to commit to employing the Fruit of the Spirit in our marriage relationship
- Abandon a quarrel – “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out. Prov. 17:14
- Being flexible and relaxed, and if our partner isn’t, we try to help them get there
- We must be in touch with our partner’s weaknesses – not to take advantage of them but to help strengthen them when those weaknesses are more pronounced.
Being a good testimony has to begin at home with our marriage partner. It is from that sense of well-being and gratification that we are able to walk out our faith in other relationships employing the same generosity, kindness, patience and all the other fruit of the spirit which blesses others and attests to a faith that is genuine and lived out through practical application.
This post is also available in: Hebrew