Whether you’ve been married for days or decades, these devotions from the newly released Love Notes for Couples will help strengthen and encourage your marriage. And even if you’re not married, these biblical insights can benefit any relationship!
By Gary Chapman, author of Love Notes for Couples
My Loved One Above Self
Don’t be concerned for your own good but the good of others.
1 Corinthians 10:24
Most counselors agree that one of the greatest problems in marriage is decision making. Visions of democracy dance in the minds of many newly married couples, but when there are only two voting members, democracy often results in deadlock. How does a couple move beyond deadlock? The answer is found in one word: love.
Love always asks questions. What is best for you? As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, believers need to be primarily concerned about what is beneficial for others rather than just what will help or please themselves. Love does not demand its own way. Love seeks to bring pleasure to the one loved. That is why Christians should have less trouble making decisions than non-Christians. We are called to be lovers. When I love my wife, I will not seek to force my will upon her for selfish purposes. Rather, I will consider what is in her best interests.
Putting my spouse, the one I love, above myself is such a simple concept, Lord, yet it’s so difficult. I need your help. As we make decisions as a couple, help us not to demand but to offer. Help me to be loving in the way I make choices.
If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.
For thirty years, I’ve been counseling couples and leading marriage-enrichment seminars. I’ve never met a couple who didn’t have conflicts. I’ve met some who knew how to resolve conflicts, and I’ve met many who allowed conflicts to destroy their marriage.
One way to work through a conflict is by setting aside time each week for a “conflict resolution session.” When you sit down to discuss a conflict, take turns talking. Start with five minutes each. You can have as many turns as needed, but don’t interrupt each other with your own ideas. Wait for your turn. According to King Solomon, listening to others—particularly if they have constructive criticism to share with us—makes us wise. When we listen to our spouse, especially during conflict, we will gain understanding of ourselves and each other.
You may ask questions to help you understand what your spouse is saying. For example, “Are you saying that you feel disappointed when I play golf on Saturday instead of spending time with you and the children? Are you saying that you would prefer that I not play golf at all?”
After listening, you then have your turn to talk. In this example, you might explain how important golf is to your mental health. Then together you can look for a solution that both of you agree is workable. Listening and seeking to understand each other is crucial in resolving conflicts.
Father, I want to be wise. Please help me to respond the right way when my spouse tells me something I don’t necessarily want to hear. Help me to think about what is best for our relationship, not just about my own needs.
Love Notes for Couples by Gary Chapman
From the bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages comes a short devotional for every couple looking to deepen their relationship with one another—and with God.
Are you and your spouse speaking the same language? He sends you flowers when what you really want is time to talk. She gives you a hug when what you really need is a home-cooked meal. The problem isn’t love―it’s your love language. Adapted from The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional, this devotional is perfect for the couples in your life—or for you and your spouse! As you learn how to express heartfelt love to your loved one, you’ll find yourselves deeper in love and growing closer to God—together—as a result.