“One-size” doesn’t always fit all (as the fashion industry suggests). That’s the same principle that should be applied to marriage suggestions and advice. Adjustments can sometimes be necessary.
Continually, we receive email, and comments are posted on the web site from opposite ends of the spectrum. Some people write to tell us that the marriage suggestions they receive from the Marriage Messages have helped them to save their marriages. Others say they are helpful blessings. About 99 percent of the correspondence we receive have positive things to say.
But then we have others that say we’ve missed the mark as far as helping them. They say that certain Messages hurt their hearts because they’re in abusive situations and/or their spouses won’t respond in a positive manner to the advice given.
Marriage Suggestions Don’t Fit All
How we wish all of the marriage suggestions we give could speak to your particular need! But all we can do is follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. We hope you understand that “one size doesn’t fit all” as far as advice given
Even so, as you prayerfully look through each message, we believe you’ll be able to find something that you can use and/or pass onto someone else who could use it. Pray for those who CAN use the information …and if you can’t, wait until another message comes along that you can use.
One of those messages where we received differing email was Marriage Message #299 —Make Your Spouse Feel Special. Some said the female author obviously wasn’t a “working woman” (which in reality, she is). And then others said they couldn’t do those things for varying reasons. Our response is, if they won’t work, don’t use them. If you can, think of other things that will. All of these are just suggestions —not requirements.
We want to give you a few additional suggestions to “Make Your Spouse Feel Special.” These are ones we came up with ourselves. And there a few that were passed along to us from our readers.
Keep in mind that these are just suggestions or even “suggestions in progress.” It is possible that some of them won’t work the way we suggest them. But there could be an idea that you could re-adapt for your lifestyle. So, here goes:
Marriage Suggestions to Make Your Spouse Feel Special and Valued:
1. Give gifts beyond special occasions.
Look for something to do or give that is a “Just Because I Love You” type of gift. Keep in mind that the gift is for THEM, not for YOU, so give accordingly. For example, some women love to receive flowers. If this will speak love to them, then find times to give them to her. Even giving one flower specially packaged or less expensive flowers if you’re tight budgeted is better than none. Or, find a field of wild flowers where you can pick some to bring to her. For most women, it’s the thought that counts.
I wouldn’t enjoy it if Steve gave me flowers. And Steve knows that. I like flowers to grow outside where we can appreciate them there. But when Steve rubs my feet or my back after I’ve had a long day or says, “You just sit and let me take care of dinner or the dishes” or something like that, I feel VERY loved and valued.
Steve loves it when I scratch his back or I greet him at the door wearing something he enjoys. He loves it when I come up to him at a spontaneous moment and give him a long passionate kiss, He also loves it when I buy him something he considers to be a treat at the grocery store. The point is, that with every gift, learn to give what your spouse enjoys. (Do this even if it makes no sense to you why they would like it.) And then make it a point to JUST DO IT!
2. Be generous with compliments.
Just because you live together as husband and wife, it doesn’t mean you stop needing to be appreciated. Look for every day things your spouse does. And then let them know you appreciate them.
Also, don’t forget to compliment him or her in front of the children. This is also good for the children to hear you do. It teaches them to do the same someday with their future spouse. Additionally, compliment your spouse in front of other family members, friends, etc. “Giving accolades in front of an audience is like giving your spouse a care package for his or her heart.” It also blesses others as they hear it. But most importantly it blesses your spouse!
3. Husbands AND Wives should use their manners.
This is ESPECIALLY true when they’re with their spouse. After all, our spouse is supposed to be the person we value the most (besides God). Why should we be less polite to them than to a stranger? There’s something to be said for being comfortable in our own home environment. But does that mean that we are to put aside our manners? Let’s find balance when we relax. Getting comfortable doesn’t mean taking each other for granted and not respecting our spouse as being important enough to be polite.
4. Husbands AND Wives should pay attention to looking nice for their spouse.
There are times when we might not be able to look our best. (These are times when we’re sick or we’re doing maintenance on the home, etc). But we should generally try to keep ourselves looking and smelling clean. And we should make it a point to look nice enough so that our spouse feels valued. Part of what attracted them to us before marriage was our appearance. Marriage doesn’t kill that part of them off. It’s what’s in the heart that makes the most difference, but the outside appearance isn’t to be neglected either.
5. You BOTH need at least SOME time to relax.
If it’s at all possible, try to find ways to help your spouse relax sometimes. Do something for them that gives them that luxury.
6. Don’t use the Bible as a weapon against your spouse.
Your spouse is not your enemy (even if their behavior isn’t what it should be). The Bible tells us to “speak the truth in love.” If you’re “speaking the truth” but it’s not given in love —motivated by love, then you’re “only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” according to the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13.
7. If you have children living in your home, be mindful that you aren’t alone.
This might sound simplistic. But it’s amazing how often a husband and wife will fight in front of the children, forgetting that they take in everything that happens between the two of you. They’re like little (or big) sponges soaking it all in. You’re teaching them not only by your words, but by your actions. It’s important to note that you hurt their hearts when you hurt each other.
It’s like what Dr Phil McGraw says, “Your words and actions write on the slate of whom they are and who they become.” Pay attention and grow up!
Children have the unique ability to twist things and make everything that goes on in your lives as if it’s their fault. Don’t participate in hurting them emotionally in that way. Make it your mission to find ways to communicate with each other in respectful, God-honoring ways. If your spouse won’t help in this matter, then YOU be the hero in your home and learn what you can so at least ONE parent is doing the right thing! Our web site has a lot of articles posted that can help you with this mission.
Marriage Suggestions and Advice:
• Spouses Fighting in Front of Children
• Little Eyes Are Watching – Marriage Message #153
• Communication While Raising Kids – Marriage Message #270
Please, honor each other, your children, AND GOD!
We hope these marriage suggestions have been helpful. Again, one size doesn’t fit all. But you may be able to glean enough that you CAN use in some way. And please know that our hearts and prayers are with all of you!
Cindy and Steve Wright
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3 responses to “Marriage Suggestions Don’t Fit All – MM #302”
(USA) Hi, I really like your website. I’ve seen that my parents did all the wrong things listed as not to on this page. They are in their mid 60’s now and they are still having trouble communicating. I realize it’s also impacted me. At times, I know I shouldn’t do that, but based on what I’ve seen as a kid, I project those bad traits. My question is, is this translated into Vietnamese? I would like to give it to them to read. Thank you very much for the help.
Jen, I’m sorry to say that we don’t have anything interpreted into Vietnamese. You are welcome to do so for your parents. They don’t even have to know that you did the interpretation for them. Just make a copy, translate, and then hand to them whatever you think will help them. Just because they are in their 60’s and have lived dysfunctionally this long, it doesn’t mean that they can’t learn a new way of interacting… unless they choose NOT to. We’ve seen others who are older than your parents and married longer who have taken some of this material and have improved their marriage IMMENSELY! They have a better marriage than they ever had. What is sadder than the life they lived together up until now, is if they decide to keep living that way, even though they have communication tools they can use to change things.
I’m proud of you Jen, for recognizing changes that need to be made and working, with intentionality, to live differently. You may have learned differently from your past, but you can change your future by learning new skills and fighting against past implanted negative behavior. Keep failing forward. You WILL progress, if you’re determined to.
I didn’t have good examples of healthy communication while growing up, either. But I have fought and keep fighting what I knew in the past and am determined to apply the wisdom God shows me. At first my husband and I had a terrible marriage. We now have a GREAT one! But we keep working at it. Trust me when I say, it is worth it!
You have been most helpful. Thank you. Where a spouse is not responding may be a reflection of how we have asked our partner. Where a partner is not is a good situation to receive the positive message, I have found it easier to let my spouse read your messages separately on their own and I simply reinforce that messages by a positive robust message towards them that broadcasts the same messages. Subconsciously they have had to deal with the hundreds of positive ideas from you and have slowly but more importantly positively responded. After considering separation and divorce a few times, I am proud to say we are back to the times when we met and got married 25 years ago and we are both planning and looking forward to our 25th anniversary in early August.
So once again thank you. And to those that seem to be losing hope, I say it is time to reflect on how perhaps they are communicating your ideas to their partners and that they should spend more time reinforcing the good between two people in marriage as opposed to the negative issues.
I am also happy to say I started forwarding your messages to a friend who was on separation and I asked him in turn to forward them to his spouse. Happily after about four months of living apart, they are back together and you Steve & Cindy saved another 30 year old marriage that was on the rocks.
May God bless you abundantly and may your word reach more couples like us who have managed to save our marriages through your good work.