Every day I mess up. I am selfish and look out for my own interests. I stub my toe on another toy and say a word I probably shouldn’t in front of my children. I am running late for the school run (my own fault) and hurry the boys along with a short fuse. I waste time looking on my phone at nothing and then say I have no time to clean. These are flaws I know of and work hard to try and improve on. I’ll have a few days in a row where there’s no swearing, or a week of smooth school runs, but life always returns back to the imperfections that come from being sinful and selfish. But you know what? Our family thrives on kindness in spite of the flaws. If Colin followed each of my mistakes up with a berating I’d be devastated, and not just because my love language is words of affirmation. There is a place for rebuking of a sinful heart or correction if the person is unaware of the impact something is having on others around them but for day to day flaws I’m only too aware of, I don’t need more criticism. There’s already plenty going on inside my own head. And yet, much as I value this kindness from Colin, am I as quick to be kind back? How about with the boys? With friends and family, particularly when they’re not there?
Kindness, warmth and affection towards those we love is so important and yet often they’re the people that get our cruel comments and apathy. We wouldn’t meet up with a good friend and slate them or act disinterested in what they’ve been up to, yet all too often this is the way people treat those they live with.
This article explains the importance of kindness in marriage.
I was so struck by the part on responding with overt hostility when your partner wants to share an interest of theirs. I know there are times I’m reading or writing and Colin keeps talking about a tackle that’s just happened in the rugby, or a decision the ref made he disagreed with and I can respond like that with a sigh or disinterested comment. How important it is to be kind to each other. It makes us happier with ourselves. It makes our homes happy. It gives our children such a positive start in life and sets them up for being kind in their relationships outside of our immediate family too.
Let’s start with those closest to us.