Have you encouraged and affirmed your spouse in word and actions recently? It’s important to note:
“When a husband and wife share tender feelings for one another, something miraculous happens. Their affirming words become light in a dark place, strength in moments of weakness, music to the soul. And if their words are reinforced with gestures of affection, unexpected kindness, and utter dependability, they experience a loving affirmation that enables them to embrace life in ways they never dared alone.” (Richard Exley)
So, we ask you again, have you encouraged your spouse lately? Encouraging words can go a long way in strengthening the foundation of your relationship. God tells us in the Bible:
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.“ (Proverbs 25:11)
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.“ (Proverbs 14:1)
Here’s another Biblical prompting for us to “encourage one another” whenever possible:
“And when he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith; and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” (Acts 11:23-24)
Are you a “good” person, “full of the Holy Spirit and faith” where the Lord can use your life as a vessel to draw others to Himself? Are you “wise” —where you build up others (particularly your spouse), rather than tearing them down?
Have You Encouraged Your Spouse?
It’s not a matter of giving false encouragement. That would do more harm than good. It’s looking for the “grace of God” —evidence where your partner in marriage has done something that is helpful. It’s also letting him or her know that you noticed.
Don’t lock those points of grace up within your mind, giving them the silent treatment, without sharing them with your spouse. Our words can become as “apples of gold in settings of silver.” Your spouse who receives them, will be blessed that you paid attention and shared those words of appreciation.
By doing this, you are addressing their “aloneness.” God said that it is “not good for man to be alone.” Your spouse needs the encouragement of a partner who cares and shares in ways that others might not.
“Be your spouse’s biggest encourager, not his/her biggest critic. Be the one who wipes away their tears, not the one who causes them.” (Dave Willis)
To the best that we are able:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
There have been times when my husband Steve has voiced words of appreciation over little things that no one else might acknowledge. They have blessed me deeply to know that he takes the time to notice.
There have been other times when my heart has been troubled and he has grieved with me. He then asks me if he could pray with me. I can’t adequately express how much those times have meant to me. To know that I have a partner who cares enough to connect in such powerful ways is priceless. And for him to pray a prayer addressing that, which concerns me, is especially priceless.
So we ask you, “Have you encouraged your spouse today?” If you need help with how you can do this, we recommend that you read the following linked article (and apply what you learn):
We’re Encouraged to Encourage
Within this article, here’s one little nugget of potential inspiration Doug wrote that might inspire you.
“Life is full of problems, and we need to deal with them. But if we aren’t careful, all we see are the problems. There are lots of good things we can focus on. Instead of ‘catching people being bad,’ catch them being good. Make your words a fountain of life. Be a positive person. Encourage one another.”
Also note that even if your spouse hasn’t encouraged you, it’s important not to allow yourself to hold back from being a vessel of grace.
“As spouses we need to give prayer, encouragement and grace to our mate even when he/she makes a mistake. For some reason it’s easier for us to be nicer to folks outside our house. Let’s aim to respond in kindness, love, patience, mercy, prayer, and grace the next time our spouse messes up. Let’s look for the good our spouse brought to us in the past and encourage him/her to stand up, dust off, and keep moving forward in Christ.” (Kevin Bullard)
Remember, “While we were yet sinners” Christ sacrificed his life for us. He didn’t wait for us to bless Him first to lavish us with extravagant love and grace.
It’s Important to Note What God Tells Us in the Bible:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, THAT IT MAY BENEFIT THOSE WHO LISTEN. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
We hope you are vessels of appreciation and grace, rather than dispensers of criticism. It’s easy to go the negative route when you live together day after day. Instead, put effort into noticing, and acknowledging even little things that are good in your spouse. Pray for God’s help in noticing, and as God inspires you.
And as you do so, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.“
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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