Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Colossians 3:18, 19.”
How much trouble and what a tide of woe and unhappiness would be saved if men, and women also, would continue to cultivate the regard, attention, and kind words of appreciation and little courtesies of life which kept love alive and which they felt were necessary in gaining the companions of their choice. If the husband and wife would only continue to cultivate these attentions which nourish love, they would be happy in each other's society and would have a sanctifying influence upon their families. They would have in themselves a little world of happiness and would not desire to go outside this world for new attractions and new objects of love. . . .
Many women pine for words of love and kindness and the common attentions and courtesies due them from their husbands who have selected them as their life companions. . . . It is these little attentions and courtesies which make up the sum of life's happiness. . . .
If the hearts were kept tender in our families, if there were a noble, generous deference to each other’s tastes and opinions, if the wife were seeking opportunities to express her love by actions in her courtesies to her husband, and the husband were manifesting the same consideration and kindly regard for the wife, the children would partake of the same spirit. The influence would pervade the household, and what a tide of misery would be saved in the families! . . .
Every couple who unite their life interest should seek to make the life of each as happy as possible. That which we prize we seek to preserve and make more valuable if we can. In the marriage contract men and women have made a trade, an investment for life, and they should do their utmost to control their words of impatience and fretfulness, even more carefully than they did before their marriage, for now their destinies are united for life as husband and wife, and each is valued in exact proportion to the amount of painstaking effort put forth to retain and keep fresh the love so eagerly sought for and prized before marriage.
“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 1 Corinthians 7:3.”
Husbands and wives should feel it their privilege and their duty to reserve for the privacy of each other’s society the interchange of love tokens between themselves. For while the manifestation of love for each other is right in its place, it may be made productive of harm to both the married and the unmarried.
There are persons of an entirely different cast of mind and character, and of different education and training, who love each other just as devotedly and healthfully as do those who have educated themselves to manifest their affection freely; and there is danger that by contrast these persons who are more reserved will be misjudged, and placed at a disadvantage.
While the wife should lean on her husband with respect and deference, she can, in a wholesome, healthful way, manifest her strong affection for and confidence in the man she has chosen as her life companion. . . .
It is the high privilege and the solemn duty of Christians to make each other happy in their married life; but there is positive danger in making self all-absorbing, pouring out all the wealth of affection upon each other, and being too well satisfied with such a life. All this savors of selfishness.
Instead of shutting up their love and sympathy to themselves, they should seize every opportunity of contributing to the good of others, distributing the abundance of affection in a chaste and sanctified love for souls that in the sight of God are just as precious as themselves, being purchased by the infinite sacrifice of His only-begotten Son. Kind words, looks of sympathy, expressions of appreciation, would be to many a struggling and lonely one as the cup of cold water to a thirsty soul.
A word of sympathy, an act of kindness, would lift burdens that are resting heavily upon some shoulders. And words of counsel, admonitions, warnings from a heart sanctified by love, are just as essential as an effusion of loving sentiments and expressions of appreciation. Every word or deed of unselfish kindness to souls with whom we are brought in connection is an expression of the love that Jesus has manifested for the whole human family.
This excerpt is taken from the book In Heavenly Places (Washington. D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1967), pages 206, 207. Seventh-day Adventists believe Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.