The term “one another” appears throughout the New Testament and applies beautifully to the husband and wife of a Christian marriage. The Bible’s advice on how to encourage, admonish, or instruct one another in matters of conduct and response is for the mutual good of both, regarding life together in the Kingdom of God.
Accept One Another. To accept another is to receive your mate fully and wholeheartedly, complete with the fullness of grace and without any sense of judgment or condition. By accepting one another, peace and harmony will be produced as God is honored.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (Romans 15:7).
Admonish One Another. To admonish is to provide advice or instruction based in God’s word and wisdom, full with grace and free from any sense of bossiness, judgment or anger. This teaching or advising is often a warning against dangerous or harmful effects, such as considering the consequences of yielding to temptation or sin. Several conditions apply to giving admonition: 1) it is to be done wisely, 2) it is to be done one person to another (never in public); 3) it may be given joyfully, perhaps in psalms or songs; and 4) it is to be given in thanksgiving for God’s standards, wisdom and love. Admonition is to be exchanged by mature Christians, both equipped by the Holy Spirit. It should never be used as leverage for scolding or as a means to get one’s own way.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16). …you…are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to admonish [instruct] one another (Romans 15:14).
Be Devoted to One Another. Devotion is the fervent or zealous expression of warmth, affection and love for another. The expression of devotion is both sincere and active.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10).
Be Kind and Compassionate to One Another. One of the visible Gifts of the Spirit (Gal 5:22), kindness is your provision of something good and beneficial for your partner, given without limitation or condition. Kindness is often given spontaneously in response to the urging of the Holy Spirit, and is uniquely a characteristic of love.
To combine an act of kindness with compassion is to do so with mercy, affection and tenderheartedness. This concept engages the heart as the source of affection and love. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).
Be Unified with (or Belong to) One Another. To be in unity with your mate is for both to be “likeminded,” sharing compatible beliefs with serious consideration.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity (like-mindedness) among one another as you follow Christ Jesus (Romans 15:5); so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to one another (Romans 12:5); … for we are all [one another], members of one body (Ephesians 4:25).
Bear With One Another. “To bear with” means to endure difficulty with patience. In its origin, this word meant to hold oneself erect and steadfast enduring hardship. As the married couple bears with one another, mutual care, encouragement and patience are produced, and allow no room for self-centeredness. In this way, neither person tries to “fix” or correct the other, but holds the relationship in humility, love, patience, and gentleness. Husband and wife become so dedicated to each other that, regardless how difficult things may become, they are fully committed to their marriage and one will not abandon the other.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing (enduring) with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).
Carry One Another’s Burdens. To carry the burden of another finds expression as the couple honors their binding partnership, particularly as they undergo a difficult or grievous experience. As the burdens of life such as suffering, pain, and distress, become unbearable for one member of the marriage, the other partner is called to share the burden in shared perseverance, encouragement and support. This way, Christ’s law of love is served and honored (Mt 22:36-40; Jn 13:34; 15:12; 1 Jn 3:23; cf. Lev 19:18).
Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
Confess to One Another. To confess one’s sin to one’s partner in marriage is to admit one’s separation from God. This is not just a confession of having sinned, but also demonstrates an understanding that forgiveness and grace are of the greatest significance to God. As the person who bears the burden of sin enters into God’s grace, repentance and forgiveness will flow without the interference of anger or shame – a first step toward achieving spiritual healing, righteousness, restoration and reconciliation.
Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).
Demonstrate Concern for One Another. This expression of care occurs when one marriage partner assumes responsibility for the other out of compassion to their condition of spiritual poverty or hunger, or simply the difficulties of daily life. Dealing with these kind of problems calls not only for providing things such as food, shelter or clothing (Mt 6:25-34), but expressing a caring for God’s beloved child in the same way God himself cares for him or for her. Husbands and wives are called to hold one another in the same regard as Jesus himself.
God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for one another (1 Corinthians 12:24-25).
Do Not Grumble To or About One Another. This is an instruction against persistent or excessive grumbling, groaning, moaning, murmuring, sighing, complaining or criticizing your partner. These behaviors are products of a judgmental attitude, which Scripture warns against. The consequence of this behavior is God’s own judgment (Mt 7:1).
Don’t grumble against one another, brothers [and sisters], or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door (James 5:9).
Do Not Slander One Another. To slander is to speak against your partner with the intent to harm his or her reputation. This includes insult, gossip, or speaking lies or evil out of frustration, anger, selfishness or self-righteousness. To slander is to convey hostility, a reflection of ungodliness. James forbids Christians to indulge in slander, for it is an expression of arrogance and disregard for your mate and an affront to God.
Brothers [and sisters], do not slander one another (James 4:11).
Edify One Another. For a husband and wife to edify one another is to work to build up, strengthen or increase each other’s potential, in the cause of peace and harmony. The objective of edification is a continuous seeking to help, aid, improve, and refine one another, just as “iron sharpens iron” (Prov 27:17). Edification comes from a sincere desire to be of service to others. This ministry of grace involves mutual accountability, where the man and woman both choose to set aside harmful and divisive heart attitudes. Edification speaks the truth in love (Eph 4:15) and in this way, both are made free (Jn 8:32).
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to edify one another (Romans 14:19).
Encourage One Another. To encourage your partner causes him or her to be built up, heartened, comforted or consoled, with reassuring words and, and where it is appropriate, physical embrace. The Bible also instructs in the building up the husband or wife who may be timid or weak (1 Thess 5:14), who may be diminished in motivation, limited in capacity or somehow incapable of attaining the goal of the life-changing principles gospel.
In the early church, giving encouragement was an important part of the apostle’s missionary work. It continues today, as partners in Christ build up and soften their partner’s wounded or hardened heart. In this way, both husband and wife are equipped and released for continuing ministry to one another. Encouragement is an expression of love that enhances the unity of both partners. As they join with the Holy Spirit in the expression of heartfelt compassion and sympathy to each other, the foundation of the marriage is built up and strengthened (Phil 2:1-2). …Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today (Heb 3:13-14)…encourage one another and build one another up (1 Thess 5:11,14)…and let us consider how we may encourage another toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
Fellowship with One Another. To have fellowship with each other within the bond of Christ is to recognize and participate deeply in the life of God’s Kingdom, and in each other’s lives. This kind of fellowship includes the common giving of time, wisdom, words, prayer, finances, or goods, all to the service of the marriage, the kingdom of God and the Lord himself. Within this two-person fellowship of faith, created by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit, both members become mutual participants and recipients in the unity of the marriage (c. Jn 17:23). Godly righteousness produced by the work of the Cross and continued by the Holy Spirit provides the common ground for marriage fellowship to prosper.
But if we walk in the light, as [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Forgive One Another. Forgiveness emphasizes the gracious giving of a free gift of kindness. It reflects one person’s Christ-like attitude for his or her partner in marriage as a fellow believer. To offer forgiveness imitates Christ’s own attitude of relating to people, in contrast to inappropriate, hurtful or angry attitudes that occur when Christ is not considered. Forgiveness has extraordinary power to heal and restore a wounded or broken relationship.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).
Greet One Another with a Holy Kiss. This greeting can be described as an enthusiastic embrace, signifying appreciation or affection for one another. In the time of Christ, the kiss was administered on the cheek as a common form of greeting, adding to the joy of the occasion. In the marriage bond, this is an expression of joy and affection, one for the other.
Greet one another with a holy kiss. (Romans 16:16; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14).
Honor One Another. Honor treats a person with extraordinary respect and value. For husbands and wives to honor one another is to recognize the other as having been created in the image of God. Contained within this idea is a caution against disrespecting gender or social position, and against holding tangible things in higher regard than your partner.
Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10).
Live in Harmony with One Another. Harmony can be understood as “having thoughts that follow the same path.” This has to do with being of the same mind, united in spirit. When a couple is in harmony, they share similar beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Christians are instructed to care for one another with great consideration and sensitivity – all the more true for the married couple. Pride, arrogance, slander and vengeance are to be thoughtfully eliminated from their relationship, for these are obstructions to God’s blessings.
All of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers [and sisters], be compassionate and humble. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:8-9; Romans 12:16).
Live Peacefully with One Another. Peace envelops the concepts of tranquility, agreement and harmony. Peace fills the relationship between God and humankind. Peace means “to be whole, to be sound, to be safe,” which God alone can provide. Peace is the very essence of the gospel (Eph 6:15), the foundation of the Church (Rom 14:17f) and of the marriage union. Peace powerfully contributes to the wholeness and sanctity of both husband and wife (Mk 5:34).
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to edify one another (Romans 14:19).
Love One Another. As husband and wife love one another in Christ, God’s own divine love is declared through their conscious choice to express sincere appreciation and high regard for each other, because they have also been made spiritual brother and sister by Christ himself. To love in this way is to answer the call from Jesus Christ to communicate fondness, respect and concern for one another, to express genuine pleasure, and to welcome one another with warmth and affection. Love thereby witnesses to the honor and glory of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as a sign and proof of faith (Gal 5:6b; 1 Jn 3:10; 4:7-12).
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another (1 Thessalonians 4:9); This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another (1 John 3:11); And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands abide in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he abides in us: We know it by the spirit he gave us (1 John 3:23-24); May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for one another and for everyone else… (1 Thessalonians 3:12); Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers [and sisters], love one another deeply, from the heart (1 Peter 1:22); Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:8-9); Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8); Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loves us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:7-12; cf. 2 John 5).
Practice Hospitality with One Another. When husband and wife offer gracious hospitality to others, they frequently welcome people who are not members of their extended family or close friends. Hospitality is to be given generously and with a warm, personal interest, taking care not to criticize or convey the idea that the guests are in any way troublesome or unwelcome.
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9).
Practice Humility with One Another. To be humble is “to walk without strutting,” demonstrating an absence of arrogance or pride. Humility is the foundation of the husband’s and wife’s servanthood to one another, demonstrating an attitude of willingness to be of service to the cause of Christ, regardless of the cost. A lack of humility may act as an obstacle to God’s blessing.
Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hands, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:5b).
Pray for One Another. To pray for one another is for husband and wife to intercede for each other, making their requests of God on behalf of their partner. This way, a heartfelt concern for them is expressed (Mt 14:23).
Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed (James 5:16).
Serve One Another. Husbands and wives are called to respond to each other’s needs by serving one another in a humble manner, having the same attitude as a lowly servant. To serve in this way acknowledges Jesus’ “ownership” (Rom 1:1; Gal 1:10), for all who follow him have been purchased at a price (1 Cor 6:20). Husbands and wives who are believers in Christ are called to forsake sin, selfishness, and doing things in their own power in response to the teachings and lordship of Jesus. This way, the unlimited power of God provides direction and fulfillment for their lives.
Serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13c).
Submit to One Another. Submission requires each the husband and wife to make a conscious effort to live in humility and peace with each other, voluntarily yielding in servanthood to the welfare of each other. By doing this, the ministry and model of Jesus Christ is demonstrated, out of devotion to him.
Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ (Ephesians 5:21).
Teach One Another. Mature Christian husbands and wives are called to share the wisdom of Jesus with one another, emphasizing its importance for learning how to live in the Kingdom of God.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).