In the previous Insight, we called for an “army of marriage encouragers” and mentors to rise up to help those who need it. We’ve had a great response. Many of you have visited the Marriage Missions web site, have prayed for and have written words of encouragement to hurting spouses. THANK YOU! Keep up the good work—on our web site and elsewhere. We pray many more will join with us in this ministry opportunity. (FYI: We added more info into that Insight. We believe you will find it to be helpful to read, as you carry out this mission.) But we dare not neglect the fact that encouragement should begin at home.
Please don’t neglect your spouse while you encourage others. Your bride or groom should receive the benefit of the best of your attention and words. Minister to him or her FIRST, and THEN, from that healthy perspective, go out and minister to others. We’re talking about the 1 Corinthians 7 principle. Once you marry, put your spouse first, as far as your outreach.
Here are several scriptures, questions, and points to challenge us all in our marriages:
- “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Do you encourage and build up your spouse? Did you promise to do this when you said, “I do” on your wedding day? Are you living within your marriage in a way that shows you are a promise-keeper?
“When you talk, you make a series of choices about what subjects to discuss. You also decide what memories to bring up, and what points to make. There are negative things you could say, but there also are positive ones. Choose the positive. Choose to specialize in encouraging words, not in critical comments. As Paul wrote, ‘Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification‘ (Romans 14:19).” (Doug Britton)
- “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” (Romans 15:2) You can’t get a neighbor who is much closer to you than your spouse. Are you a builder?
• Men need the strong support of other Christian men —but the voice of affirmation they long to hear the most is that of their wife.
• Many men feel neglected and in need of their wife’s attention, affirmation and encouragement.
• A woman has a larger than life need for her husband to whisper, declare, and shout to the world that she is the most important person in his life.
• It’s not enough to appreciate your wife —you have to tell her!
(Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg)
- “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.” (Ephesians 4:29) Is your talk wholesome? Does it “benefit those who listen” (including your spouse and your children)? “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.“ (Proverbs 14:1) This can apply to men too. Are you tearing down your “house” or are you building it up?
- “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) This applies to our spouse, AND to others. Don’t neglect comforting. Show compassion.
- “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) Do you “spur” your spouse “toward love and good deeds?” Does your spouse know, without a doubt that you love him or her?
Remember, Encouragement Begins at Home:
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11) Speak words to your spouse that express your appreciation of him or her. The things you say to your spouse 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.
This is our hope for you:
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” (Romans 15:5)
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ALSO —
If you want to read some specifics on ways to encourage your spouse, here are two linked articles that could help you:
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