This is my commandment, that you love one another, just has I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:12-13 NASB
Many couples expect romance to just happen, but we have found that intentionality is the key to rekindling romance. In two places, Scripture says, “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19).
It’s directed to husbands, but it is the right advice for wives, too. In the original Greek wording, the meaning is closer to “keep on loving your spouse,” or “keep on treasuring your spouse.”
To Do Lists
Do you make to-do lists? My wife and I sure do. Both of us are what our kids call ‘list freaks.’ The only difference is that Cathy makes her multiple lists and follows them, and I make my lists and then lose them!
Whether we write them out or not, everyone has to-do lists. We note things as simple as picking up the groceries, calling a friend on her birthday, or paying the taxes on a certain day.
The Bible is much more focused on to-be lists than to-do lists, but throughout the Bible there are a variety of “to-dos” for Christians concerning how we treat each other. They are often referred to as the “one anothers.” Here are a list of 15 of them we think directly related to marriage:
- Romans 12:16: Live in harmony with one another
- Romans 15:7: Accept one another
- 1 Corinthians 12:25: Care for one another
- Galatians 5:13: Serve one another in love
- Galatians 5:15: Don’t spitefully hurt one another
- Galatians 5:26: Don’t provoke or envy one another.
- Galatians 6:2: Carry one another’s burdens.
- Ephesians 4:32: Be kind to one another.
- Ephesians 4:32: Forgive one another
- Colossians 3:9: Don’t lie to one another
- 2 Corinthians 1:4: Comfort one another
- Titus 3:3: Don’t hate one another
- Hebrews 3:13: Encourage one another
- James 5:9: Don’t grumble against one another
- James 5:16: Pray for one another.
These “one anothers” are perfect “to-dos” for a healthy marriage. What if we lived our lives and focused our marriages on these amazing biblical mandates on how to treat our spouse? When the day gets busy and the time runs short, we must admit that we all tend to short-cut this to-do list.
As we look at the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, He obviously lived out the “one anothers.” He understood that treating people by the Golden Rule of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just a philosophy of life, it is the way to live life.
We love what Mother Teresa once said: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” Isn’t it interesting to note that the happiest people we know are the ones whose to-do list is filled with loving and serving one another?
- Scripture says that we are to love one another as Christ loved us. It also says that there is no greater love than when a friend lays down his life for someone else. How can laying down your life be applied to our marriage relationship?
- What is challenging about the “one another to-do” list for you?
- Which “one another” is hardest for you?
Create a One Another To Do List
Going back to the list of “one anothers,” circle the three that you want to work on this week. Think about how you will specifically accomplish these tasks. Then actually do them for each other.
Excerpted from Closer: 52 Devotionals to Draw Couples Together by Jim and Cathy Burns; Bethany House, 2009
Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California.
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