And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 AMPC)
Today’s scripture instructs us to be kind, understanding, and forgiving. Today I want to focus on being tenderhearted or understanding. To be understood is a desire that most all humans crave but seem to have less intentionality in providing it to the others we interact with or have relationship with. One of our greatest challenges for pursuing understanding is with our spouses and children.
Most of us have very little understanding of other people including our mates. It has been said that it takes a huge amount of understanding to make a marriage successful. Yet many of us, despite relational difficulties, have not made a concerted effort to truly understand those we say we love.
Our marriages require accepting a life-long project and commitment to learn to understand each other. It is only in coming to understand the other that true love can exist and thrive. If we can invest our time and energy into understanding our mates, the rest of life’s complexity will seem easy in comparison. In order to understand and really know your spouse, you must study them.
Studying our mates is to observe them as the unique and complicated being they are. There are no two of us who are exactly the same because God has created us as unique individuals who are ever changing as life happens. We need to note habits, likes and dislikes, humor, what pleases or upsets. We need to know when encouragement, affection, admiration, confirmation, or calming support is necessary. Simply put, we must know what makes our spouses tick.
By making our spouses the center of our attention, we will begin to understand them with their and God’s help. We started with the directive to be kind, understanding, and forgiving. In coming to know our spouses, we will know the thoughts and acts of kindness we can provide for them. Understanding one another reduces the conflict caused by misinterpreted motives, and actions. When we understand, we can realistically love and forgive each other just as God does.
Make understanding those you love a priority so that true love can be expressed in kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Give your spouse the gift of being able to say, “I get you”. (Adrian)