“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 every message could speak to your particular need! But all we can do is follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, hoping you’ll understand that “one size doesn’t fit all.”
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 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,” which we came up with ourselves, and a few that were passed along to us from our readers.
Keep in mind that these are just suggestions or even “suggestions in progress” because you might find 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:
Ways 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 for her, to bring home. 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, or I come up to him at a spontaneous moment and give him a long passionate kiss, or 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 (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.
And don’t forget to compliment them in front of the children (which is good for the children to hear you do —it teaches them to do the same some day with their future spouse), as well as 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 (if 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 looking 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, and 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:
Please, honor each other, your children, AND GOD!
We hope this has been helpful. Again, one size doesn’t fit all, but perhaps you can 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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