My friend Joe was struggling in his marriage. Between job insecurity, some poor decisions, and a persistent medical challenge, there was a lot going on in his life. So we talked, did lunch, prayed, talked some more, and I invited him to a men’s accountability group.
At every turn, Joe insisted he was committed to making things work. He even got a copy of The Love Dare from the movie Fireproof (2008). But also, at every turn, the biggest stumbling block in his relationship was a marked lack of kindness. “Kindness covers a multitude of other shortcomings,” I told him. “It needs to be your number one aim.”
As men, we like to talk about leadership, we rightly stress faithfulness, we value honesty, we tout responsibility, we encourage spending time with our spouse, and we talk a lot about the practice of mutual respect. But the unsung hero of long-term relationships that work is kindness. “In the end, only kindness matters” (Jewel, “Hands,” 1998). Watch Kindness: A Chain Reaction.
Learn five reasons kindness matters, and make your love challenge that simple.
1. Kindness is foundational to a relationship.Relationships may begin with chemistry, but they grow in care and kindness.
Relationships may begin with chemistry, but they grow in care and kindness.
2. Kindness heals.
We hurt one another all the time – usually not on purpose, but it happens. Kindness is the balm that helps us to heal and also begins the process of rebuilding.
3. Kindness lubricates disagreement.
We can often avoid hurting one another when we take care to be kind. There’s nothing wrong with disagreement, but disagreement engaged in the context of kindness doesn’t have to lead to anger. Here are 5 attitudes designed to help your family live in peace.
4. Kindness is love in action.
Love that neglects to be kind is a false love. Love in action is kind by nature. Kindness matters because it demonstrates, it proves, the presence of real love.
5. Kindness trumps everything.
It doesn’t matter how right we are, how smart, or even how great we are at anything at all; if we’re unkind, then our smarts, our looks, our great job, our leadership skills, and so much more are pretty much worthless. Kindness is not about us; it’s about the other.
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why is being kind important?”