A number of years ago, President John F. Kennedy made the following statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” If we reword this challenge in our thinking, as it pertains to our marriages, perhaps we may be onto to something. The point would be, “Ask not what your spouse can do for you; ask what you can do for your spouse.” We’re talking about dispensing encouragement to your spouse. Every day can be a new start when you are encouraged to see it as such.
Dispensing Encouragement to Your Spouse
In relation to marriage, and what we can do for our spouse, I’m reminded of a few quotes I read recently:
• We live by encouragement and die without it —slowly, sadly, angrily. (Celeste Holm)
• No matter if we’re the CEO of a Fortune 100 company or the night custodian who empties the wastebaskets, we all need encouragement. It’s the oil that lubricates our soul and keeps it from grinding to a rusting halt.
The lack of encouragement is almost epidemic today. It’s the reason people dread going to work in the morning. It’s why kids can’t wait to get out of school. And it’s why some people can’t wait to get out of a marriage.
What is it that enables us to give our mates this crucial encouragement? Grace —it’s the lubricant that lessens the friction in marriage. Grace keeps the gears of the relationship running smoothly. (Dr Chuck Swindoll)
Bless Your Spouse
So, not only to keep “the gears of the relationship running smoothly” and to also to be a dispenser of grace and encouragement, please look for little ways you can encourage your spouse. You might even ask him or her, “What can I do for you that would bless you? I just want to bless you because you are a blessing to me.”
And if your spouse has not blessed you recently, I’m so sorry. May he or she wake up and join you in working on your relationship. As you journey on this path, I pray the Lord encourages you in some way. Please keep in mind that what you do to others, you also do onto the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider that you would be doing it as “unto the Lord.” You would be planting good seeds —that which especially pleases the heart of God.
As you look for ways to encourage your spouse keep in mind the following:
“If you have any encouragement from being united to Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion… in one spirit and purpose… Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
We’re further told, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Jesus “emptied himself” and “humbled himself.” He even took on “the very nature of a servant.” (See: Philippians 2:1-4.)
The challenge is given to us, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” (Ephesians 6:7-8)
In Galatians 5:13, we’re told to, “Serve one another in love.”
Jesus gives the challenge, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“So then, encourage one another and build each other up, as you are doing.” (Thessalonians 5:11)
This is my prayer:
Lord help us to be encouragers —to lavish Your love upon our spouse. Help us to find ways to bless and not discourage —to serve, rather than looking to be served. We know this is the example You have lived out before us. Help us to be dispensers of grace and love –especially to our spouse. And in doing so, may You be seen all the brighter. May we participate with You in drawing others to You —knowing that it starts within our hearts and within our homes —one act of kindness built upon another.
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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