Marriage is a gym where we workout our faith. If you’re in a husband/wife relationship, we face sets of circumstances making it hard to obey. We’re asked to push through repetitions of godly choices. Is it realistic? Does God really expect us to show fruit of His Spirit in response to the flesh of our husband? How does God expect us to do our part?
On my recent flight from West to East, I found myself in seat 10B across the aisle from an elderly couple with hair the color of desert dust. Before I buckled my seat-belt, Husband shuffled up and down in his seat, loudly narrating his concern about being seated in the right place and the possibility of moving. Behind his bobbing bottom, his wife spoke softly, calmly reassuring him his seat was good. PATIENCE.
Every sound of the doors and movement of the crew created comments and questions from Husband. The engine roar produced a loud, “Oooooh!” accompanied by comments about those Wright brothers. His wife responded to his amazement, agreeing with his conclusions about Orville and Wilbur. GENTLENESS.
As we lifted off, the stream of narration became louder; I wondered if this season of their marriage came with labels like “Dementia” or “Alzheimer’s.” His talking diffused his tension like a lid on a boiling pot. Wife let him know she hoped to read, and Husband said he would not say a word or talk about the Wright brothers. KINDNESS.
The service cart reignited the narration flow, stirring up Husband’s insatiable desire to read and discuss the in-flight magazine. He had questions about every page, wanting to know what Wife thought. She put away her book and read the fine print, pointing out details in photographs. He compared a male model to the Wright brothers. She said Orville Wright might’ve actually looked like that. GOODNESS.
The magazine had a close up of a watch. “Fascinating,” he muttered. “Let’s talk about the small numbers,” he begged. As he flagged down flight attendants to examine their watches and ask about their origin, I accepted the fact my ear buds were not sound deafening. Husband got to the end of Sky magazine. Wife said she needed just a little more room, if he could try to stay in his own seat. SELF-CONTROL.
What does it look like to show the fruit of the Spirit to our husband? Fruit looks like a body of small choices throughout the day and night, allowing God’s Spirit to direct our response over our natural response. Fruit looks like yielding to the ways of Christ, instead of the ways of woman. It looks like:
- Obedience to God’s commands from His word
- Empowering by God’s Holy Spirit through Jesus
- Progress under God’s supervision for our good and His glory
It’s not only possible to demonstrate fruit in the marriage journey, it’s what God expects, because it hinges on His Spirit. It’s not a result of our intelligence, but of God’s gift of all we need for life and godliness. It’s a gift given with salvation, for all areas of life. It’s essential in a covenant relationship as your partner changes and life changes. We won’t be perfect, but with God’s Spirit, we can extend love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, and self-control as a pattern in life together.
“Are we renting a car?” Husband asked. “We are. I’ve told you about a dozen times, dear,” Wife softly responded. “How many hours from … the place this plane lands to … the place we’re going?” He wanted to see the time on her watch. She slowly repeated the miles, the hotels, the days, and the family reunion. It was going to be a long trip. FAITHFULNESS.
Like he blurted out, “Pretzels!” to the flight attendant, “Honey, I want to thank you for all of your planning for this trip!” slipped out like a sneeze. “I was glad to do it,” she smiled. THANKFULNESS.
He looked back to a magazine ad promising to make you sharper. “Why would you want a sharp brain?” Husband asked. “You would cut yourself every time you scratch your head!” He said. I snickered. JOY.
“I think you might have time to take a nap,” Wife said. LOVE.
“Oh, yeah?” Husband said. “Let me see your watch.”
Without the Holy Spirit in us, it WOULD be impossible to respond with godly habits. Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us hanging as newlyweds, in little kids years, in empty nest years, or in later years. He doesn’t leave us on the ground or at 10,000 feet. PEACE.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control …” (Galatians 5:22-23)