In 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, Paul highlights the divided loyalties of the Christian husband and wife. They are to be concerned with both serving the Lord and pleasing their spouse. The word please in this context means to actively adapt to your spouse. It also suggests contentment with your spouse. It means that your heart has been softened toward your spouse. The desire to please your spouse shows up by behaving in a way that satisfies your spouse. It denotes a positive relationship. The word was used to express interest in accommodating others by meeting their needs.
Pleasing your spouse involves the sacrifice of self-interest (Philippians 2:3-7,14-15). Instead of focusing on what you aren’t getting, shift your attention to what you aren’t giving. Two of the most profound questions that you can ask yourself are, “What is it like living with me when I’m at my best?” and “What is it like living with me when I’m at my worst?”
Spouses must actively adapt to each other. Your behavior towards your spouse changes based upon his or her changing needs. With each child you have, adjustments in your marriage are necessary. As your spouse ages and goes through hormone changes and midlife crises, expectations should be adjusted. As the pounds and wrinkles increase and the libido decreases, your spouse may need to be complimented and reassured more often that you are still into him or her.
Having your heart softened towards your spouse means that your tone is not rough. You learn how to compromise and yield your will. You don’t push your spouse away when they seek to be affectionate. Think of ways to let your spouse know that you are thinking about him/her. Take an interest in meeting the needs of your spouse. It starts with me understanding those needs and then prioritizing those needs.
A Prayer for Husbands and Wives: “Father, help me to see me with all of my imperfections. Empower me to love my spouse with Your love, for Your love covers a multitude of flaws, faults, and failures. Let the me that I am be lost in the me that you want me to be. Amen.”
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