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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Painter

Esteem in the Marriage

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

In a marriage relationship it is vitally important that have a great deal of esteem for their spouse. The word esteem means to prize or put a high value on. What is the value of your spouse to you? Paul instructed the church of Philippi to esteem one another better than themselves. If such is expected among church members, surely it should be present between spouses.

It is natural in a marriage, especially when there is strife, to focus on the weaknesses of our spouse rather than on their positive traits. However, when we constantly keep our spouses’ weaknesses before us it causes us to not have the esteem for them that we should have. Some may feel that their spouse is not worthy of esteem or exaltation. They have trapped their spouse in a position of disdain for the sake of their weaknesses. We do this when we constantly turn over their mistakes in our mind over and over again. This is foolish and unlike the Christ whose example we should follow.

“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Philippians 2:2)

Before we can have esteem for our spouse we must love them as Christ loves and we must be likeminded with them as Christ is minded toward us. The love of Christ forgave our weaknesses; and the mind of Christ chooses not to remember them. “…Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34) Therefore if we will esteem our spouse in the footsteps of Christ than we must forgive their weaknesses and choose not to remember them.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

When there is no esteem in the marriage their will indeed be strife and emptiness. Esteem is the very thing that drives these from the home and from the very marriage union itself. Without this esteem we allow things to fester within us until they boil over into strife and empty words that do nothing more than damage the relationship between husband and wife.

Esteeming one another requires humility. Each spouse must be humble enough to think of their counterpart as being better than themselves. Each spouse ought to give thanks to God on a regular basis that He has given them a spouse they were not worthy of. I was not worthy of my wife. I recognize that only by the grace of God have a married such a lady as she. Every husband should be able to say this of his wife, and every wife of her husband. If you cannot say the same with a true and honest heart, and without feigned humility, then it is because you do not esteem your spouse as you should. Therefore, the relationship will be full of vanity and strife.

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Philippians 2:4)

When we esteem our spouse as we should it will result in an intense desire to please them. We will want to make them happy with a true and genuine heart. We will prefer them and sacrifice for them because we esteem them, we value them very highly. This is where esteem is put into action. When a spouse is very self-centered and always looking to curve the situation to their benefit it is a result of lacking esteem. It shows that you value yourself more than you value your spouse. Again, this is foolish and not Christlike. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (Ephesians 5:25) Esteem requires sacrifice.

I would like to challenge every married couple to esteem one another, and value one another as Christ valued us. Let us follow His example and we will find a sweet harmony exists when both the husband and the wife esteem each other in the home. This is where strong homes and families are built.

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