By Eric Scalise, Ph.D.
"Living by the One Anothers" – Part One
When I talk with couples who are interested in growing their marriages, they frequently ask about practical strategies they can integrate into their daily lives, things that will both deepen and strengthen the relationship. I often give them the One Another challenge—a purposeful way to walk out the various “one anothers” found in the New Testament. Some themes such as love and encouragement, are repeated a number of times, but I found 30 unique, proactive verses (from the NASB)—one for each day of the month—that offer husbands and wives an opportunity for God’s Word to accomplish its transforming work both in and through the marriage. Here, in Part One, are the first 15 passages to reflect on.
Take a moment and read each verse in context. Then, prayerfully ask God for how He wants you to respond to His commandment. Communicate this intentionally and as a blessing to your spouse… in word and in deed.
Day 1: “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mk. 9:50
Is there an area within the marriage that is a constant source of conflict and strife? Where are you out of rest? Fire cleanses and salt is a preservative. What is one thing you will do today to “preserve” the peace in your home—not merely as a peacekeeper, but as a peacemaker?
Day 2: “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Jn. 13:14
Washing feet is symbolic of taking the lowest place when it comes to serving another person. It is an act of loving and gracious care. How will you wash your spouse’s feet today? In fact, consider doing exactly that as a model of humility for your life partner.
Day 3: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.” Jn. 13:34
Love is a noun, but it is more of an action word. Choose a meaningful and tangible expression that demonstrates love to your spouse. Jesus walked out His love through the message of the cross. It was His altar. What sacrifice do you offer today?
Day 4: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Rom. 12:10a
Devotion often speaks of unfailing loyalty and commitment to another…to an organization, a task or a cause. In what way will you devote yourself to your spouse today? Consider this as a gift, given not out of obligation or necessity, but with great joy, faithfulness and enthusiasm.
Day 5: “Give preference to one another in honor.” Rom. 12:10b
Showing preference is a way to communicate that others are more important than you are, that their needs and concerns have precedence or higher priority at the moment. When done publically, it also conveys honor. Honor your spouse today and give him or her the higher place.
Day 6: “Be of the same mind toward one another.” Rom. 12:16
There is always power in unity, even a blessing. Saying, “I love you!” is personally meaningful for so many. Saying, “I love us!” speaks to the greater quality of the relationship. Where do you need to seek unity with your spouse today? How can you have an “us” moment?
Day 7: “Let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” Rom. 14:19
The very foundation for a biblical marriage is Christ Himself, and we can be confident that it is both firm and secure. Building up something speaks of increase, development, expansion and growth. You need the right plans, the right tools and must put forth the effort.
Day 8: “Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” Rom. 15:7
Most people don’t necessarily fall in love with someone who is opposite, as much as someone who is different. Aren’t you glad you didn’t marry your clone? Yet, we still wrestle with our differences. Acknowledge, affirm and celebrate one treasured aspect of your spouse today.
Day 9: “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Rom. 16:16
In Jewish tradition, this is an outward expression of affection, kindness, and abiding friendship. Physical touch is important in any marriage, and not just sexual touch. There are also ways to verbally, relationally and spiritually touch another. How will you greet your spouse today?
Day 10: “Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer…” 1 Cor. 7:5
Hurt feelings, anger, and disappointments, foster emotional and physical distance within the marital bed. Intimacy, or the lack thereof, can be used to manipulate and control one’s spouse. When is the last time you had an intentional, planned out, romantic and passionate date night?
Day 11: “…but God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to the member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” 1 Cor. 12:24-25
We tend to nurture, cherish and take care of what we think truly belongs to us. Your soulmate is the most precious human relationship you will be given on this side of eternity. We really are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Where does your stewardship need to show honor or care?
Day 12: “Through love serve one another.” Gal. 5:13
Sadly and far too often, servant leadership is absent in the home. Human nature tends to be too self-centered and “me-focused.” The highest form of love is called agape because it is covenantal. How will you serve your spouse today in a manner that could never be paid back?
Day 13: “Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal. 6:2
The Greek word used for burden here is “baros,” a heavy load too much for one to lift or carry. Originally it was a nautical term referring to an overloaded and unbalanced ship. Where is your spouse burdened down? What ballast will you provide today to help lighten the “cargo?”
Day 14: “Show tolerance to one another in love.” Eph. 4:2
Fairness, objectivity, safety and the freedom to express one’s beliefs, thoughts and opinions on a matter, all create the necessary breathing space in a relationship. Have there been any suffocation points in your marriage? An invitation to open dialogue is wonderful gift.
Day 15: “Be kind to one another.” Eph. 4:32
Kindness is recognized as a virtue in almost every culture globally and is one of the fruits of the Spirit. A pleasant and unthreatening disposition is Christlike in its character. Surprise your spouse—shower him or her today—with generosity, tenderness, empathy and compassion.
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Justice In The Home
Never Give Up
"Above All Else"
The Influence of Friends
From Mourning to Morning
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Eric Scalise, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, is the President of LIV Enterprises & Consulting, LLC and CEO for the Alignment Association, LLC. He is the former Vice President of the 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), as well as the former Department Chair for Counseling Programs at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. He is an adjunct professor and the Senior Editor for both AACC and the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. Dr. Scalise is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with 36 years of clinical and professional experience in the mental health field. Specialty areas include professional and pastoral stress and burnout, compassion fatigue, mood disorders, marriage and family issues, combat trauma and PTSD, addictions and recovery, crisis response, grief and loss, leadership development, life coaching, and lay counselor training. He is a published author with Zondervan, Baker Books, and Harvest House, is a national and international conference speaker, and frequently works with organizations, clinicians, ministry leaders, and churches on a variety of issues. Dr. Scalise and his wife, Donna, have been married for 36 years, have twin sons who are combat veterans serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and three grandchildren.
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