Are you living in a home where you are being affirmed and feel you are continually receiving spousal encouragement? Are you an encourager? Remember that we are told in the Bible:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:23).
The above Bible verse is a good one for us to remember —especially in our marriages. As life gets hectic we often forget to be nicest to the human being we claim to love the most. Our spouse is the one we should WANT to find ways to “spur” on “toward love and good deeds” —our spouse.
Giving the Gift of Spousal Encouragement
We forget that some of the reasons we married is to love them. It is to share our lives with them in honoring, cherishing ways. Spousal encouragement is part of our promise to them. Plus we promise to help them to be all they can be in Christ so we can live a “life of love” (as God tells us to do in Ephesians 5:1) for the rest of our lives together.
I (Cindy) read in the devotional book, A Gentle Spirit (published by Barbour Publishing), something that spoke on this aspect of living. It reminded me of marriage and the role we’re to play in encouraging each other.
The writer, Hannah Hurnard, wrote how dissatisfied she was with her life in how she was relating to the people around her. She prayed to the Lord about the lack of power she had in helping them. She perceived that the Lord said to her:
Look at Your Motives
“My child, what is your motive—to help or hurt? Instead of blaming people, bless them, speak well of them. Concentrate on discovering the good things in people and on encouraging them to enjoy doing good and lovely things. You can’t force people to stop doing bad things. But you can make doing good, so attractive that they don’t want to waste a minute of time on the wrong and harmful things.
“Quietly adapt yourself to living happily with the people who aggravate you. Do this rather than trying to force them to change their habits so as to suit you.”
1 Peter 3:1-4 says, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husband so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
In 1 Peter 3:7 ISV, husbands are told, “In a similar way, you husbands must live with your wives in an understanding manner, as with a most delicate partner. Honor them as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing may interfere with your prayers.”
Acting Like Jesus in Spousal Encouragement
With these admonitions in mind, the following is something else Hannah Hurnard wrote which might inspire you to better help, rather than hurt each other:
“Whenever you react with praise and thanksgiving for an opportunity to grow more like Jesus in your way of reacting to things, INSTEAD of grumbling or feeling self-pity, you will find that the whole situation will be changed into a greater blessing.”
How true this message is in how we approach each other in marriage! When I’ve tried to force Steve to see things my way, he has acted all the more resistant to treating me as I felt I “deserved.”
Even if I was right in what I was trying to communicate, the way in which I was saying it brought about negative results all the more powerfully.
And instead of Steve truly understanding what I was trying to convey, his mind seemed to slam shut. He was resistant to whatever I was trying to communicate. He would then stubbornly do things his way. Of course, this is the opposite of what I hoped would happen.
I’m reminded of the Bible verse that says,
“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another. Be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 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)
Piling on Insults
God tells us through these verses in the Bible that we are not to pile our insult on top of theirs. That’s not what God is calling us to do.
We’re told in Romans 12:2:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Even if your spouse doesn’t do what he or she should, that doesn’t give permission to “conform” to the ways of the world. We are not to pile evil upon evil and insult upon insult. It’s a great temptation and we can feel a pull to do so. But that doesn’t mean we should. Sometimes going along with our raw feelings just complicates matters all the more. God created and embraces us, expecting better than that.
May we continually keep this in mind! May we be dispensers of grace and encouragement, rather than vessels of criticism.
It is our heart’s cry that together we will reveal and reflect the heart of Christ in all we do and say within our marriages. May we treat each other with the love and honor that we vowed on our wedding day we would give. And most importantly, it’s that which God would have us give.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ALSO, on the Issue of Spousal Encouragement —
For a few more insights on this topic, please click onto the following Crosswalk.com web site links to read the articles:
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