Loving like Jesus is important at all times, but when you’re experiencing a challenging season, Christlike love becomes absolutely critical. In order to keep Christlike love a top priority, you must practice it intentionally on a daily basis.
Christlike love transcends all–hard times, interpersonal conflict, joy, and loss. Whatever you and your spouse are facing right now, you can make it to the other side through Jesus’s love. Let’s look at a few ways we can all prioritize Christlike love during hard times.
When times are tough, you and your spouse may have different needs and priorities that may feel unusual or clash with “normal” life. Or, your usual needs may be amplified (for example, a spouse who craves physical touch may want more cuddling when they’re stressed or taxed out). No one knows your spouse’s needs better than you do, so stay tuned in and mindful of what they need.
Some of us wall off or shut down when we’re under stress. Try to keep tabs on your emotional health so you can remain approachable to your spouse. Take care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically during this time so that you can be available to listen and to talk when needed.
Hard times can make it easy to act out of character, and to be short and impatient with one another. Give your spouse plenty of grace during this time, but don’t forget to do the same for yourself. In life, we’re going to make missteps and disappoint one another from time to time–it’s just inevitable. And when life gets hard, we’re more likely to make mistakes. When that happens, forgive one another and yourselves, then move toward the next right step.
Going the extra mile to show love to one another becomes exponentially more important when you’re going through a difficult time. Rather than using your energy to focus on negativity and the difficulties you’re dealing with, focus instead on how you can show more love to your husband or wife. Don’t just anticipate, though–ask. What do they need? What would they like? Is there something you can do to help lighten their load or just make them feel more nurtured?
Stress makes many of us turn inward and focus on our own pain. We tend to fixate on what can help us feel better, to the detriment of the people around us. Once in a while, check in with yourself. Are you taking care of you, or are you looking out more for what your spouse needs? Fill each other’s cup. Shoulder each other’s burdens. Through selflessness and radical love, you’ll get through this together.