Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. — Colossians 3:12–13
Have you ever wondered where the saying “a dog is a man’s best friend” originated? We don’t have space to address this history here, but let’s just say it included a feud, a court case, and a passionate speech from a lawyer. Our family had the privilege of having one special dog for thirteen years. Nugget, our golden retriever, had a special relationship with my hubby. Watching these two interact led me to some truths from Colossians 3 that helped me better love my husband and let my children see that Mom was Dad’s best friend.
Colossians 3 gives us principles of putting off our former man and putting on qualities that make us more like Christ. These qualities can apply to all our relationships, but our home lives (where the real us shows up in all its glory) is ground zero for developing Christlikeness. Let’s look at a few of these qualities and how they can apply to our relationships with our husbands.
Colossians 3:12: “bowels of mercies [compassion], kindness.” Our sweet dog could sense when my man was down. Nugget never passed up an opportunity to cheer him up with a lick or a rub against his leg. Compassion is sensing a need and having empathy for a person. Kindness carries the idea of acting on that need—it results in a deliberate action. Are you kind to your husband? Do you intentionally practice deliberate acts of kindness toward him? Do you know when he is feeling down? Our dog knew and did his best (limited by his dog status) to do kind things for my husband.
Colossians 3:12: “humbleness of mind, meekness.” Do you make your husband look big in others’ eyes? Or are you critical of him? Complaining? Belittling? Do you want to take the credit for something good that happens in your family or church? Nugget never took the credit. He was always in a supportive role, quietly “listening” to my hubby’s great ideas. It didn’t matter to Nugget that his part was just to listen! I am quick to critique or take credit for something good that involves my husband. “Hey, that was actually my idea” or “I finished that project” is hard to keep to ourselves. Do it anyway! Find opportunities to praise your hubby and give him credit for a success. This will do wonders for him!
Colossians 3:12–13: “longsuffering; forbearing one another.” Nugget endured endless hours of “abuse” from us without ever biting or snapping back. He was truly patient with everyone. How long should a dog have to endure dressing up and giving rides to little ones? The idea in these verses is to put up with, endure, and suffer (for a long time if needed). Sometimes we can be so patient with our friends and others in our circles but not with our spouses. The insignificant last straw just sets us off! Dear wife, make it a point to be more longsuffering with your husband. This quality will grow us to be more like Christ.
Colossians 3:13: “forgiving one another [not holding a grudge; freely granting pardon].” Occasionally my husband accidentally inflicted pain on Nugget, like when he stepped on his tail or cut a paw nail too closely. My husband always felt horrible and petted Nugget and offered him comfort. In just a few minutes, however, it seemed that Nugget forgot. He moved on; he forgave. Everything went back to normal with a tail wag. Do you hold things over the head of your husband after he has wronged you and asked forgiveness? Do you give him the cold shoulder, offer the silent treatment, or withhold physical intimacy? Scriptures gives us just two options when we feel we are wronged: cover or confront. We are to either cover the wrong with love or confront our spouses if we feel we have been sinned against. With both options, we forgive. Period.
Ladies, don’t let the dog be your man’s best friend! Let it be you.
- Do you build your man up with your words and actions, or are you critical? Are you short in the area of patience? Do you easily get frustrated with your spouse? Who is the first to ask for forgiveness in your marriage—him or you?
- In what ways can you be kinder to your husband?
- Take time now to ask the Lord to grow you in these areas.
This chapter was written by Sheri Privett.
The chapter is taken from The Extraordinary Mother, CLICK HERE for more information on the book.