Integrity. Inventiveness. Intimacy. Improvement. Initiative.
How do I choose a Value for the letter “I”? There are many I want to highlight (of the 16 suitable) which have importance in marriage…
So I’m going to “cheat”. (I can do that – it’s my rules and my writing! Right? 😉 )
Let’s start with Intimacy
Here’s the definition for Intimacy from Robert’s list of 400+ values:
Intimacy: – close or warm friendship; belonging together.
Well, I might have already solved this Value’s problem, because I’ve covered Friendship in this list of 27 Values and Belonging. Did you realize that these two words were a part of Intimacy? Did you have any idea, that when you are “intimate” with your spouse, that being friends and belonging to each other needed to be a part of the equation?
When I use the word “intimacy” – as a word on EncourageYourSpouse.com – I’m usually referring to the sexual component of marriage. Though Robert and I don’t write about sex in marriage in a candid way, we have created a page to refer readers to valuable online writers who write about sex in marriage from a Christian viewpoint. I’m positive they also have something to say about being friends with your spouse and belonging together… A healthy sexual relationship needs intimacy.
And then there’s the Value of Inventiveness
I’d also choose Imagination – but that’s included in the definition of Inventiveness:
Inventiveness – the power of creative imagination.
Why do I want to use this Value of Inventiveness for the letter “I” in this challenge?
Life can be rough. Brutal sometimes. There are many trials that wear at a marriage relationship. From 1st year struggles when two people with such different thoughts and habits adjust to being married, to decades further into a marriage where health challenges, physical or mental, rob you of the spouse you have relied upon all those years…
These life trials you share with your spouse are enough to bring one to tears. Loud and undignified cries, and soft, heartbreaking sobbing also. I know.
I could write a few thousand words about the Value of Inventiveness – being creative and imaginative – and how it could bring a sense of movement and hope throughout all these marriage trails. (And maybe I will, one day.)
But the one Value I’m going to choose to write about for this challenge (A to Z) is…
We’re searching for integrity as human beings. It seems to be eluding us in our work world, in our political world, in our education systems and even in our church worlds.
Unfortunately, the Value of Integrity is also failing in marriage relationships. It’s a subtle thing. Nobody can identify the true cause – that evil satan’s lies lead us all down rabbit holes into a miasma of confusion where we end up in conversations of “he said” or “she said”.
What is Integrity?
As Robert has defined it in his work on Values:
Integrity – holistic consistency of expectations and outcomes; honest and morally upright.
Just so you know, when Rob was researching the Fortune 500 companies, Integrity was the #1 Value listed. It’s one of the 17 Common Values.
Common Values – What are they?
Common Values are those that every customer/vendor/employee assume every organization has – to some degree. Robert spent a year researching the common Values that organizations love to tout and he writes about companies who live their Values (and those who don’t) at FergusonValues.
However, when we wrote our ebook/workbook about Values for Couples in Marriage, we needed to identify Values which most couples assume and hope the other will have. We decided that the Fruit of the Spirit identified a beautiful list of 9 Common Values:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22
So – would you agree that most couples would hope their spouse has these Fruit of the Spirit as their guiding Common Values?
If couples had these nine Values: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… would they add up to Integrity in your understanding?
Would this grouping of Fruit of the Spirit mean that there would be a holistic consistency of expectations and outcomes and each spouse could trust the other to be honest and morally upright?
How to Build the Value of Integrity into your Marriage
The most succinct answer to how to build the Value of Integrity into your marriage is this: Walk in the Spirit.
How? The writer of Galatians, Apostle Paul, describes it this way:
I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are revealed, which are these: adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, selfishness, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I previously warned you, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law. Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another and envying one another.
Walk in the Spirit of Christ – follow Jesus’ teaching – live your life as husband and wife, and lead your family like Jesus. Then, you will know that you are using the Value of Integrity.
How do you start this “walking in the Spirit”?
Start by talking with God. Prayer. Prayer is a quiet and personal, heart to heart conversation with someOne who loves you. All of you. Every. Single. Piece. He loves you – without reservation. Really! Turn to Him.
Start by reading His Word. The Bible. It’s a treasure that’s free. Today we have online Bibles versions that go really deep or are in easy to understand, modern verbiage. I use BibleGateway.com Pick the verses in Galatians 5:22-26 – and try out different Bible versions. Amplified. The Message. New International Version. Dwell inside these Divinely orchestrated Words – sink deeply. Let them reverberate.
Start by spending time with others who are seeking to Walk in the Spirit of Christ. (These people won’t be perfect – I warn you! They will make so many mistakes. Most of them will be in churches. You can’t do this alone. We weren’t meant to seek Jesus, to follow Christ, alone. Even the first church after Christ didn’t do this walking in the Spirit alone…)
So why is important to start surrounding yourself with others who honor and seek God, through His Son, Jesus? You’ll learn together. You’ll make mistakes together. You’ll support each other. And together, you’ll move forward. Together you’ll be transformed. Integrity will show up in your lives. It won’t be clean and easy – it’ll be messy. But the reward is amazing. The ultimate reward is a promise so immense our little minds can’t fathom its greatness.
Look for those who lead like Jesus – those who have a holistic consistency of expectations and outcomes, those who are honest and morally upright.
Ask God to help you find them. And you will.
Bring the Value of Integrity into your marriage.