How to Love Your Spouse Well

Quite often life gets crammed with daily responsibilities and before you know it, you’ve fallen away from ways to intentionally love your spouse well.

Hidden in 1 Corinthians 13 we find fourteen vital ways to infuse our marriages with a love that will stand the test of time.

14 Principles that will help you Love Your Spouse Well

1. Love is patient.

Being understanding toward your spouse means sometimes you’ll need to lay down your desires for theirs. Ephesians 4:2 gives the reminder “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” This phrase “bearing with” means to hold on, wait, or tarry alongside of. Bear with your spouse, be understanding in how they see and do life. Help them along graciously.

2. Love is kind.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another”, Ephesians 4:32 says. Be sensitive to each others needs. Show mercy and generosity. There is no law against goodness, so be good to your spouse’s heart. Be kinder than necessary in all things.

3. Love does not envy.

Envying your spouse is when you begrudge each other their role. This leaves fertile ground for bitterness and contention to grow. “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 Bring life and peace to the body of your marriage by being thankful for your spouse’s efforts, noticeable or unnoticeable. Realize that while you may not understand exactly what their day held, they still deserve appreciation and recognition for making it through alive and sane. 🙂

4. Love does not boast.

Bragging about how great you are or slighting your spouse’s efforts and role is a fine way to make them feel unappreciated. Don’t do it.

5. Love is not proud.

Being proud and puffed up is a disgrace. Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace”. Think of the last time you stood beside someone who oozed pride and arrogance. Most likely their presence made you feel belittled. Possibly a bit suffocated. Don’t suffocate your spouse by projecting a conceit, disdain or other haughty attitudes and behaviors.

6. Love is not rude.

Rudeness is never acceptable behavior. Being abrupt, sharp, ill-mannered or disrespectful in any way is never helpful in a relationship. There is a verse for husbands that says, “Love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (Colossians 3:19) This should be a mutual principle in the marriage, “love your spouse and do not be harsh with him/her”.

7. Love is not self-seeking.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 Self-seeking people are the ones who manipulate, connive, are tricky in their conversations and dealings and are only interested in anything that promotes themselves. A narcissist. Don’t manipulate your spouse or play their hearts to get what you want. Be sincere, genuine, honest and concerned about their greater good.

8. Love is not easily angered.

Being short tempered or displaying unpredictable, uncontrolled outbursts of anger makes your spouse fear you. It may not look like they are afraid of you, and they might not even recognize it as fear. But if your spouse feels like they are “walking on eggshells” around you, they have an unhealthy concern around you that makes them shy away.

9. Love keeps no record of wrongs.

Pocketing your spouse’s offenses and pulling them out to use against them later is a dangerous habit. It erodes and disintegrates trust in your marriage. Reminding your spouse how awful they are sets up an expectation for perfection, and since your spouse is human…well that’s what they are going to act like. Human. And none of the humans I’ve met are perfect. Let your spouse know that it is safe to have flaws by not using theirs against them.

Lesson 4 of this Bible study for wives shares how forgiveness freed up my need to remind my husband of how human he is sometimes.

10. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.

Sometimes we are tempted to hide things from our spouse. No matter how small, purposely withholding something from our spouse will invite suspicion and doubt. Being dishonest or deceptive in any way, is sure to drive a wedge of distrust deep into the heart of your spouse, so be truthful and transparent. “An honest witness does not deceive”. Proverbs 14:5

11. Love always protects.

Protecting your spouse isn’t only done in the physical sense. Shielding them from the plans of the enemy is vital to their mental and spiritual well-being. A few ways to protect your spouse are:

(a) Build them up with encouraging words (Ephesians 4:29)

(b) Do not withhold your body (Lesson 2 of this Bible study for wives explores biblical concepts of your sexuality with grace and gentleness.)

(c) Pray and fast for your spouse and marriage. (This book is encouraging and blessing many marriages. I wrote it during some of the hardest years of our marriage.)

12. Love always trusts.

If your spouse has proven dishonest or untrustworthy in the past this one can be very hard. Remember that they too, are a human in need of grace and forgiveness. Rather than trusting your fulfillment solely to your spouse, place your trust in the God who does not disappoint.Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:4-5) because He is the one “who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17) or fallen humans.

13. Love always hopes.

Hope is grounds for believing something good will happen. If you’re marriage is in a difficult season, hold on the promise that the Lord sees your situation and He plans to make good come of it. Remember Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 55:8-9. The Lord knows what He is doing. Fiercely hold on to the hope of a brighter tomorrow, and pray expectantly for the healing of your hearts, minds and marriage.

14. Love always perseveres.

Don’t give up hope. Don’t give up on your spouse. And don’t give up on your faith. Press on in the goal to love your spouse well. Keep practicing and perfecting a love that is true and sincere. For when we do, we are told in 1 Corinthians 13:8, 

Love never fails.”

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  1. Tricia Wolfe says:

    Ouch! according to 1 Corinthians 13, I do not love my husband. I knew I needed this study but I didn’t know I’d be slapped with my sin on Day 1. Iron sharpens iron. Thank you for speaking the truth in love. I need it!

  2. Ruthie says:

    Thank you, Kaylene. Reading your posts reminds me of how great our God is. I should continue to hope and not give up.

    • Elisha says:

      Oh boy, as much as I’d like to think I don’t have unforgiveness towards my husband I can see where I quickly allow past hurts to creep into my thoughts and actions. Praying today my fulfillment in my God will be so much more abundantly satisfying than my records of wrongs and hurts from my husband.

  3. Alisha Lockhart says:

    I love your posts (I’m reading this one while doing the 7 day fast for my husband and marriage). I look forward to it daily and when I’m done with this one, will likely do the 40 day fast. Your insight and ALWAYS incorporating God’s word is so powerful. God Bless you.

  4. Erika says:

    I can’t pick just one…I could improve in all areas. This study caught my eye on some other website and I felt the Lord telling me to do it. I need it and even though I don’t like how much it hurts, I am hoping for good outcomes on the other end. Thank you for revealing to me exactly what the Lord expects of wives.

  5. Tanisha says:

    I was convicted on just about every one of them to some degree. Before Christ I would have said “none of these apply to me” but now I am being made aware of the” logs” within my own eye. I’ve always thought my husband was just quiet but now I think some of it may be because of my treatment and reactions when he would try to talk to me about things that makes him just avoid meaningful conversations ( the truth is not always easy to hear.) Thank you Jesus for this new insight .

  6. Teneshia says:

    I just started, but let me tell you, it’s been an eye opener for me! I would have to say the first one got me. Love is patient! See as of right now my husband is not a Christian, and so, it’s hard for me to be patient with him, because I try to get him to see that God is loving and that he cares for him, but it’s like he just don’t understand! I’m praying and believing that when I’m done with the 7 day fast, that he will be saved and know God for himself.
    I just thank you so much Kaylene for letting God use you!

    • Kaylene Yoder says:

      Teneshia, it is refreshing to see your desire to be a godly wife and build into your marriage for God’s glory. Sometimes no matter what we do we cannot make others be saved. It must be their personal choice. Often we wives want something so badly for our husband that our words actually hinder their growth. The seven day fasting & prayer challenge is not a tool for your to change your husband. It is a tool for you to draw closer to your Heavenly Father on a more personal level and through that the Holy Spirit will teach you and reveal things to you. It is hard being in an unequally yoked marriage. I pray that you will grow in all wisdom and knowledge in the Lord and that your beauty would come form your complete dependence on Him. And that though your pure and reverent life, your husband may be drawn to the Lord. (1 Peter 3:1-2) Blessings to you, sweet one. May your joy and peace be abundant today.

  7. Lynnette says:

    I look forward to your emails every morning. I teach myself to attain that whatever the Lord teaches that day to let me HEAR it. Let me then teach it to my children. I homeschool so I use it as my way of starting off the day. To be good people. To learn from all things.
    My struggles are 8,9 and 10. I guess.
    I do lash out and get stressed with the kids not doing what they were supposed to and am tired cleaning up at midnight.
    I have a hard time with my husband expensive gift giving. He has a big heart and wants to give our kids the nice things. It always costs us. He works 16 hour days. I stay at home and homeschool our 7 children. My husband works hard and I remind him that they don’t need whatever expensive addened. Half of the gift is for him as well. It makes him so happy to give it. It’s like 2 presents instead of one. It’s hard to express how much I disapprove.
    Then 10. I am brutally honest. I like it told to me straight so I try to do the same to my husband. He tells me he wishes he I would hold back. I try to protect him by not telling him things. I do feel like it’s lying by omission. I know when I can sense things are a little off. I don’t want to put a seed of mistrust in him. Or tell him every little thing.
    So yup not perfect. I always look for improving because that is the only thing you can do.
    Thank you for your work. I appreciate it and you are truly inspiring.

    • Kaylene Yoder says:

      It is my pleasure to share, Lynnette. Unfortunately I have no amazing advice for you right now. I would like to encourage you to consider the weight of your words. Your husband might be able to better receive them if you try to sandwich the critique between two praises. For example (& you might already do this!) say, “I appreciate your giving heart. It makes me feel cherished and I enjoy seeing the joy on your face when you bless our children. However, could we set up a budget to accommodate your desire to give? Or maybe there would be other ways you could give instead of giving purchased things. Like your time – could we have a family outing hiking trails or have a picnic or something. Maybe make memories instead of buying things. I really appreciate how you love and lead our family. We need you and we love you.”

      Lynnette, my husband is a spontaneous buyer / giver as well. We have recently come to an agreement that we will no longer shower our kids with gifts for their birthdays or Christmas. Instead, we reserve the money we would have spent on gifts or parties and use it for family trips & outings. Memories make the best gifts, and we desire to make a lot of them! 🙂

      Hope this encourages you in some way, Lynnette. Your husband already knows how you feel about his spending. Consider offering alternative ideas that would still accommodate his gift of giving. Help him see that a day off work to take his family to a zoo or park would bless each heart in your home. Especially his. Pack a lunch to cut costs. Plan ahead of time to take lots of pictures & use those for souvenirs instead of purchasing some.

      Lynnette, I sense his gift giving might be how he justifies his long hours at work away from his family. Just a thought I had while reading your comment. God bless!

  8. Nancy Hughes says:

    I love this. I am encouraged by the daily emails. Thank you so much. I look forward to practicing and fasting often.

  9. Rhonda Faylice Golden says:

    I’ve been far off base for a long time! I thought I loved my husband but I see now I wanted him to love me more than I loved him! I’m praying for God’s healing in our relationship in this season of our lives! Thank you!!!

    Rhonda Golden

  10. Allison says:

    I know it was the Lord that led me to your page. I have been so blessed by your ministry. Thank you for all you do

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