Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 7, 2018
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Have you ever wondered why some marital relationships last and others don’t? Psychologist John Gottman wondered this exact thing, so he created a “love lab” designed like a bed and breakfast retreat on the University of Washington campus. Then, he invited 130 newlyweds into his lab and studied them while they did everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, listening to music, and hanging out. During the study, he discovered the answer to his question about why some relationships flourish and others don’t.
It seems that it all came down to one trait: kindness.
Gottman noted that throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, or what he calls, “bids.” For example, a wife may say, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” In response, her husband has the opportunity to “turn toward” his wife by going to the window to admire the bird with her. Or, he can “turn away” from her by ignoring her, saying he is busy, continue what he is doing, or acting hostile.
What Gottman discovered is that when partners respond to one another’s bids with kindness and attention, they have a higher marriage success rate. After six years, couples in Gottman’s study who divorced had “turn toward” bids just 33 percent of the time. Or, only 3 in 10 bids for emotional connection were met. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87 percent of the time, which means that nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.
This reminds me of an important principle I have been learning in my own marriage: love grows when each partner expresses their needs and the other person meets their needs. Through attentive interaction, trust is built. A “need” may be physical, spiritual, intellectual, or it may be a simple request for emotional connection such as, “Come and look at this bird with me.”
When your partner expresses a need, and you meet that need, you are serving with humility, and as a result, trust and love grow. This also happens when you express a need and your partner responds with servant-hearted humility. Love grows when needs are met.
The great thing is that you can be the first to respond to your partner’s needs. You don’t have to wait for them to make the first move to build more love and trust in your relationship.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love . . .” (Ephesians 4:1-2).
Lord, thank you that you have a design and a good plan for godly relationships. Please help me to love with humility and to look for opportunities to serve my partner. Amen.
Take the next 24 hours and intentionally be more attentive to your loved ones needs and respond to their bids for connection. Also, ask him—or her—how you can serve them better. Then, follow through and do what they have asked you to do.
When you meet your spouse’s need you are serving with humility, and as a result, trust and love grow in your relationship. #WisdomHunters #kindness
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