Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

In its verb form, honor is about two things: to esteem and to fulfill. To esteem our spouse is to regard them as super valuable, none above them, to appreciate them as a prize or a treasure. To fulfill simply means to carry out as pledged. Honor seems to come naturally during our dating relationship. Something happens after we cross the portals of marriedlife. Mr. and Mrs. Perfect lose a bit of their luster. Imperfections and shortcomings rise to the surface of the relationship. Effort is required to esteem. Effort is required to fulfill the pledges once made with heartfelt sincerity. Effort is required to honor. The dreaded 3 words of relationship. Effort. Is. Required. So how do we embrace the reality that effort is required to have the great relationship we signed up for and intentionally honor our spouse?

Here are 5 ways:

1.    Let kindness be your primary response. We’ve noticed that the first thing to go in a relationship is the simple act of kindness. Want to re-energize your relationship? Ask yourself, “What is the KIND thing to do?”

2.    Make sure your behavior is above reproach, and when it isn’t, ask forgiveness. No one is perfect, so there will surely be times we miss the mark. Going back to the place the train left the tracks and doing some damage control is in order. Seeking forgiveness for bad behavior is best. If you won’t allow it from your kids, don’t accept it from yourself.

3.    Never dishonor your spouse in any way before others, most importantly, your kids. Couples who cut each other down in public make me wonder what they are saying to each other in the privacy of their homes. I would venture to say it is worse. If you have kids and you are brave enough, ask them, “How would you describe your mom and dad’s relationship?”

4.    Remember you are married to someone of the highest worth to God. As image bearers of God, we are of immeasurable value to Him. So valuable that He sent Christ to pay a high price that we would be able to have a relationship with Him. If the God of the universe has esteemed us in such a way, we would have to possess a lot of nerve to dishonor others.

5.    Honor your spouse regardless of whether they honor you or not. This is a tough one. It would be easy to take the marriage into the realm of contractual relationships with the valid argument that “If he doesn’t, I’m not” or “I will if she will.” The greater challenge is to stay in the arena in which the marriage relationship is forged and tested, covenant. The language of covenant is reflected in those vows we pledged, “I promise to…til death do us part.” It means, “I will even if you don’t.”

Challenge:See if you can out honor your spouse this week. Don’t let them show you up!

- Scott & Dawn Smith