Love. Joy. Peace.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭NIV)‬‬

Hello everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the pumpkins, foliage and sweater weather that Fall has brought our way. While the flowers are slowly wilting and our garden is offering its last yield of tomatoes and peppers, I have found myself reflecting a lot on fruits. Over the years, I have often been led to this verse in one way or another, so I wanted to see how I could apply this to my marriage. Here are my thoughts. Please feel free to comment with your own interpretation so we can all learn from each other. 
Love. To me, this seems to be the most obviously relevant fruit in marriage, but it may also be the most complex. In other parts of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), we read that love is patient, kind, humble and not envious. As women, we have so many demands on our time that sometimes life’s challenges cause us to lash out at the people closest to us. However, we must remember that our husbands, as the heads of our families, deserve our love – our patience, kindness and humility. This resonates with me as respect. If we respect our husbands, we give them our patience, kindness and humility regardless of the other demands on our time and regardless of what the world throws at us. After all, it’s us (our husbands and ourselves) against the world, not the other way around. Corinthians goes on to say that love keeps no record of wrongs. Dwelling on hurt or the shortcomings of our husbands or even ourselves only produces bitterness and self deprecation. But what a tall order! By these definitions, loving someone seems like a huge undertaking. While I am only in year one of marriage, there are so many things that my husband does that make it worth it. If we tune our eyes to those things, be they large or small, it becomes easier to love. It also makes marriage seem like such a great gift from God. It’s as if He brought two imperfect people together to teach them how to show His perfect love. 
Joy. We are all familiar with the term ‘happily married’, but what else does the Bible say about joy? James 1:2-3 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” To me, this means that we should find happiness not only in the good times, but also when our marriages face dilemmas. If we use our resources, pull together as a couple and seek God, we know that our marriages will emerge stronger and we will be able to look back at our challenges laughing with joy! 
Peace. Within even the first few months of our marriage, my husband and I have had to make big decisions together. I often found myself worrying about whether we would make the right decision. We are scientists and logic appeals to us. However, I have learned that sometimes we need to make the choices that bring us peace. It might not make sense right away, but later down the line the logic reveals itself. Philippians 4:7 says that God’s peace surpasses all understanding. He has our backs ladies! 
Forbearance and Self Control. I group these fruits because they mean essentially the same thing. To me, this applies both in our marriages – controlling our tempers, our demands and our personal shortcomings – and outside our marriages – making sure that the image we portray is one that reflects well on our husbands. But it can be hard to do that if you don’t “get a hold of yourself”. By that I mean staying true to what makes you you. Schedule it. Make it a priority. If we don’t make time for ourselves, we can’t be our best selves at home. 
Kindness, Goodness and Gentleness. These, in my opinion, are encompassed by what the Bible tells us about Love. 
Faithfulness. We all know we should be faithful to our husbands. Faithful to our vows and to our commitment to support each other through good times and bad. What if we break the word down? What if we vow to be full of faith? For me, that would mean I would worry less and I would trust my husband more. I would rest on the fact that everything we go through, as long as we seek God, lean on and love each other, will come together for our good (Romans 8:28). 
I hope you too can draw encouragement and inspiration from these scriptures. How do you apply the fruits of the Spirit to your marriage? 

💚Niki Nelson

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