Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;in honour preferring one another.
I've written about the Golden Rule and how it applies to marriage. Many marriages could benefit from just a little common courtesy. You know, the kind we give to strangers or our church family? It's easy to skip over verses like the one above when thinking about our husbands, because we don't think they apply to marriage. However, if anyone needs to be treated with brotherly love, it should be our husbands! After all, if he is a Christian, he is a brother in Christ as well.
Here are just three of many ways that I believe husbands and wives can put the other spouse ahead of themselves:
1. Respect their need for time to recharge.
One of the best gifts my husband gives me is a night off. I love my job as keeper of our home and chief caretaker of our children including their education. However, although I don't need time away from the people in my life, a little quiet from the chaos and responsibility is a great way to recharge my "batteries". I do the grocery shopping alone one night a week and often stop for a cup of coffee alone with a book or with friends on my way to the store. Of course, I do my best to return the favor. My husband has hobbies that he enjoys as well. Classic marriage fights over the other person's hobbies need not occur if both spouses are thinking of the other person.
2. Respect their need to be themselves.
So many times we expect our husbands to think just like we do. We think that since we enjoy certain things or receive affection in certain ways that our husbands must surely have similar interests. The truth is that men and women are very different, and individuals are very different. If I have a problem, I talk it to death. When my husband needs to solve something, he keeps quiet and takes time to mull it over. We have learned that when I need to resolve an issue, he needs to listen. When he needs to resolve something, I need to be quiet and wait.
3. Respect their desires over yours.
This is a very general statement, and it can have many applications. It pains me to see Christian women so caught up in the feminist movement that they say things like, "I'm not going to be a slave to any man!" Whatever your beliefs about Biblical submission in marriage, the simple truth is that Christ came to serve, and He asks us to do the same for our Christian brothers and sisters. Why should we not learn what our husband likes---to eat, to do, to have---and do all in our power to make it happen? This is not the message of women suppressed by a patriarchal society. It is the message of the Cross!
In Titus 2, the older women are instructed to teach the younger women to love their husbands. The ironic thing is that the word for "love" is the word used for brotherly or friendship love. Even though the romance of Valentine's Day is around the corner, let's not forget to love our husbands as brothers in Christ as well!