Welcome to DAY 24 of our online Bible study on Ephesians!
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Read: Ephesians 5:22-27
“What’s the most important thing for a successful marriage?” my newly-engaged friend asked.
Sitting at our favorite coffee shop, answers swirled in my head. The importance of shared faith. The value of communication. The necessity of giving marriage priority in our lives. Any of those would have been a great answer, one I could easily explain and support.
But another thought made its way to the forefront of my mind. I looked at her and said, “Be polite.”
Despite the shocked look on her face, I continued, “Right now that seems crazy, I know. Obviously you will be polite to each other. But the day will come, far more quickly than you can imagine, when it won’t be as easy. Marriage is hard work. Even the best marriages, the ones rooted in Christ and devoted to His plan, require effort to stay on solid footing. My best counsel is this, make it your daily ambition to be polite to each other.”
Paul’s words to the Ephesians point to this simple idea. In verse 21, he admonishes them to submit to one another “out of reverence for Christ.” Bu then he immediately he moves into a practical description of what that looks like. You’ve probably heard these verses preached and taught: Wives are to submit and respect their husbands, and husbands are to love and protect their wives.
I firmly believe these truths. But what if that starts with simply being polite?
Here are five ways I try to START with being polite:
SUPPORT: One of the most important gifts we give to our spouses is being on their team. Supporting what the other is doing is vital to a thriving marriage.
TIME: There are seasons when it’s hard to spend extended time just the two of us. But Scott and I make a priority of grabbing moments wherever and whenever we can.
ALLOW: I think the hardest thing for me to learn has been accepting that there were going to be times when Scott and I disagree — and it’s okay. Allow for the differences in your personalities, positions, and preferences. It makes a huge difference!
RESPECT: Treat each other with respect. Talk to and about each other with respect. Choose to believe the best about each other.
TRUST: I trust my husband. He trusts me. It doesn’t mean we haven’t asked each other hard questions or that we don’t have protective parameters established for other relationships. It does mean we give each other the benefit of the doubt. We believe the best about each other, not the worst.
My young friend will celebrate her tenth wedding anniversary this year. She sent me a text a few weeks ago and said, “Be polite is still the best advice anyone has given me. Thank you.”
~ Diving Deeper ~
In what ways might you express simple politeness to someone today?