Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10 NLT)
I interviewed Dr. Gary Smalley several years ago. Our conversation focused on how to develop and maintain a healthy marriage. He referred to Romans 12:10—“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Then he explained that verse with words I’ll always remember: “Pretend there’s a scale from 1 to 10 that measures importance. If you consider yourself an 8, then you’d best consider your spouse as a 9.”
I’m convinced that applying this principle is essential for enjoying a strong marriage. Consider a couple of examples:
A husband returns from work at day’s end. He’s tired and wants to relax by watching TV before dinner. Meanwhile, his wife is cooking dinner while caring for their kids—a toddler determined to climb on everything in sight and a school-aged child who needs help with her homework.
Mom has worked all day, too. She’s exhausted so she asks her hubby for help. Now he’s faced with a choice: meet his own needs or delight in honoring his wife. A wise husband will choose the latter. Doing so will make his wife feel valued and will impact their marriage for good in the long run.
Here’s another example. A wife is tempted to criticize her husband to his face and to their friends after he makes a financial decision—against her better judgment—with a negative outcome. She resists the temptation to bad mouth him, choosing instead to forgive and then work together with him to deal with the fallout. It’s easy to see which response will have a more positive impact on their marriage.
Honoring our partner is critical for maintaining a good marriage. So is doing so with delight. It just doesn’t have the same effect if we bestow honor begrudgingly.
So, what do you think? Have you seen this quote by Dr. Smalley prove true in your marriage? If so, how?