Spoken kindness is expressed also in the tone of speech we employ. It's possible to never say a wrong thing yet communicate an unkind attitude when we speak. Next to God, you are the loudest and most consistent voice your spouse hears. It's your choice to use a kind voice that supports and encourages your spouse, or a gruff voice that discourages, degrades and minimizes.
Speaking thoughtful, gentle words to your spouse in front of your friends and your children is yet another expression of spoken kindness. Always thank your spouse when he or she is serving you in some manner. But instead of just saying, “Thanks, Honey,” be specific. Saying “Thank you, Honey, for getting the butter; that was kind of you,” communicates that you actually notice your spouse's acts of kindness.
The words you speak and the kind way in which they are spoken will soon become the heart of your everyday lifestyle. As your heart becomes kind, so your words will also, and your spouse's heart will be motivated by your example to do the same.
A Kind Touch
Sometimes a touch can communicate kindness more loudly than words. Holding your spouse's hand, gently caressing his back or even giving him a private foot massage can express volumes of kindness.
There is a kind of touching that is expressly meant to communicate kindness without any hint of sexuality or need for reciprocation. This soothing, unselfish, gentle type of touch is a great way to plant kindness in your spouse's heart. Although verbal expressions may be deflected or discounted, a touch is rarely rejected.
The Expression of “Teamfulness”
I use the word “teamfulness” as a means of defining the way a husband and wife operate in unity. They anticipate each other's actions and, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each other, capitalize on these strengths for the good of the team.
Here is how teamfulness works: When you see the laundry, you do the laundry because you're part of the team. If you see a situation that must be dealt with regarding one of your children, you handle it without passing it on to your spouse. You know your husband's schedule, and you cover for him without an attitude.
In the same way, your spouse—the other team member—is so in touch with your world that often he sees a need before you do. In this way your spouse throws you the ball, so to speak, and you both score.
Kindness is something you can offer your spouse freely every day. It should be both intentional and spontaneous.
Intentional kindness means purposefully releasing the kindness you possess on a regular basis. Along these lines, one piece of advice I offer husbands is to give their wives a night away from home once a week. This should be a time for her to spend as she chooses. I explain to them that their wives need time to relax or play, when she does not have to be a mom, a wife, a cook, the clean-up crew and the leader of bedtime rituals.
Similarly, a wife can plan intentional acts of kindness for her husband based on his interests. Some wives who are gifted cooks may want to select one day a week to prepare a gourmet meal for the family.
We also need to recognize the importance of spontaneous kindness. Don't become so mechanical in your plans that you fail to capitalize on those great daily opportunities that arise to be kind to your mate.
My wife, Lisa, is regularly kind to me. When I come home on a warm day, I first like to spend about 15 minutes on the hammock in our backyard. It's magical the way both my soul and body become relaxed and refreshed. Lisa usually protects this time, so I am not interrupted. This is a much appreciated, spontaneous act of kindness she gives to me.
Commit to Kindness
Just as a seed in the natural realm contains the nature of the fruit it will become, so, too, within that seed of the Spirit planted in you is the very DNA of God: His heart, His mind, His will and His nature. The seed in you desires to be respectful and kind.
The first step in making kindness a greater reality in your home is to break previous agreements you may have made with unkindness. Confess your sins against God and your spouse. Seek forgiveness for any actions, attitudes or beliefs that have fueled unkind habits in your marriage. And in the name of Jesus, break any spirit, soul or body agreements with meanness. Eliminate all traces of it from your behavior and speech.
Make an official declaration of your decision to uproot old habits and create new beliefs and attitudes. Prayer will help you establish a great foundation for your new resolve to be kind, and the Holy Spirit will strengthen you to carry out your commitment. Be intentional toward your mate, but also respond to those surprising opportunities to practice kindness that come along every single day.
You and I have a lot of farming to do. Oh, yes, it's work. And yes, it's daily. Some parts of the field will be easy to plow, and some will be harder.