Have you been there? In that moment with your spouse when you know exactly what they need– what the situation needs– but you withhold. The kiss they need, never given. The apology they deserve, never spoken. Everything in you knows what you should do, but you don’t do it. You keep it to yourself and justify your actions.

I’m too busy.

I’ll apologize later.

The kids need me.

They wouldn’t want to kiss me anyway… I haven’t brushed my teeth since…um…who’s counting?

And the list goes on…

And so does the day. It keeps moving right along. One opportunity after another passes for you to step up and go out of your way to love your spouse well. But in your pride you withhold. You keep silent. You’re not fighting, but you’re also not thriving.

You just are. Stagnant. Surviving.

We all desire to be seen, to feel committed to, cherished and respected. But often we wait to give this honor until we receive it– living with a “you first” mentality. Waiting for our spouse to make the first move– to apologize first, smile first, call first or take the first step toward reconciliation.

Marriage requires a selflessness we can’t conjure up on our own.

Marriage requires Jesus.

Marriage requires we lay our lives — our needs, and wants and what we think we deserve — down to love our spouse well. Jesus modeled this perfectly, and while loving our spouse like Jesus loves us is a lofty goal, we can turn to Him to give us the strength and wisdom and perseverance we need to try. He will provide.

{Try memorizing an encouraging scripture to recite to yourself in moments where your pride starts to kick in. How about 1 Cor 13:4-5 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.}

Whatever it is your spouse needs today– do it. Go out of your way to be sure they know you see them and know them. If you don’t know what they need– ask: How can I love you better today? No, you don’t need to ignore your own needs, but for a few minutes, put them aside and listen to theirs.

Make the first move. Smile. Hold their hand. Ask how their day was and LISTEN without looking at your phone (I’m guilty of this…). Take care of something on their to-do list. Watch their show tonight (without complaining). Make their favorite meal without them asking. Do something kind without expecting anything in return.

Just do it.