“One-size” doesn’t always fit all (as the fashion industry suggests). It fits some or many, but not all. Well, that same principle also applies to marriage suggestions and advice that people give you. Just know that it’s sometimes necessary to make adjustments.
We continually receive emails, and comments (posted on the web site) from opposite ends of the spectrum. We’d say that about 99 percent of the correspondence we receive have positive things to say on how Marriage Missions tips have helped them in their marriages. And for that, we are most grateful to God that He has allowed us to help in this way.
But then, others say we’ve missed the mark in helping them. They say that certain tips and Insights disturb them for different reasons. (Some even get really upset!) It may be that they’re in abusive situations, so some tips don’t apply. And they’re completely right. Then others say that their spouses won’t respond in a positive way to certain advice that is given. Yeah, we get that too! So, we advise that they don’t do what won’t work; or they should adjust their approach according to what will work. It comes down to the fact that all of these are just suggestions —not requirements. Only God’s Word is required, not ours.
Marriage Suggestions Don’t Fit All
We hope you understand that when it comes to marriage tips “one size doesn’t fit all.” Some advice may not be for you; it may be for someone else. Or, who knows? Perhaps God wants to use you to pass the tip onto someone else that can use it to help their marriage. But be patient; we’re confident that there will be some tips that you can use one way or another.
With that said, we’re giving you a few additional suggestions to “Make Your Spouse Feel Special” (a marriage message we previously posted). We came up with these ourselves. Additionally, there a few that were passed along to us from our readers.
Again, keep in mind that these are just suggestions, maybe even “suggestions in progress” where you can adjust according to your needs. They are simple suggestions, but very impactful. 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 YOUR SPOUSE, 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 or a bunch of inexpensive flowers (if you’re tight budgeted) is better than none. Or find a field of wildflowers where you can pick some to bring to her. For most women, it’s the thought that counts.
To be honest, I wouldn’t especially enjoy it if Steve gave me flowers. And Steve knows that. I like flowers to grow outside where we can appreciate them there. (God caused some beautiful flowers to bloom on our saguaro cactus this morning. Thank you, Jesus. What a wonderful surprise!)
But when Steve rubs my feet or my back after I’ve had a long day; or he says, “You just sit and let me take care of dinner and/or the dishes” or something like that, I feel VERY loved and valued. To me, that is a wonderful gift!
Now, Steve loves it when I scratch his back, or I greet him at the door wearing something he enjoys. He also loves it when I come up to him at a spontaneous moment and give him a long passionate kiss. He also enjoys it when I buy him something he considers to be a treat at the grocery store. These are all special love gifts to him.
The important 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 everyday things your spouse does. And then let your marriage partner know you appreciate him or her. Keep in mind:
“The tongue is a powerful tool. James 3:6 tells us, the tongue has the ability to defile the whole body and set on fire the course of a man’s life. In the same way, a critical attitude can make or break a marriage. Instead of pointing out all the ways your spouse disappoints you, start to look for positive attributes. Compliment them and also take the opportunity to express your heartfelt appreciation.” (Sabrina Beasley)
Plus, don’t forget to compliment him or her in front of the children. Not only will it bless your spouse but it’s good for the children to hear you doing it. 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.” Plus, it blesses others as they hear it. We’ve found that to be true as we hear others compliment their spouse. But most importantly it blesses your spouse!
3. Husbands AND Wives should use their manners.
Are you so comfortable with your spouse that you sometimes forget to be polite? If so, that’s problematic and you need to change that. Don’t give yourself permission to stop extending common courtesies with your spouse. It can cause an erosion of everything good that you’ve had together. If you’re at that place in your relationship, step back, rewind and be kind going forward.
Our spouse is supposed to be the human being we value the most. 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.
More Marriage Suggestions:
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. (Perhaps we’re sick or we’re doing maintenance on the home, etc. Or maybe we just need a “slop down” day.) But we should generally try to keep ourselves looking nice and smelling clean. (You’d be surprised to know how many spouses write us where this is a problem in their marriage.)
Also, 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. Grow as Individuals and as a married couple.
“One of the best gifts you can give to your marriage and to your spouse is a commitment to keep growing in the Lord. If you cling to romantic sentimentality (‘Why can’t he love me just the way I am?’), you’re preferring spiritual laziness over the health of your marriage and over the desire to bless your spouse.
“I have the opportunity give my wife a gift—a better, more mature me—but not if I’m too selfish or too lazy and instead just want her to keep stepping around the moral obstacles I drop in her way. In his Word and by His Spirit, God has made available to us everything we need to grow: ‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.‘ (2 Peter 1:3) This means not growing is a choice. If we want to grow, we can.
“God has made growth available to every believer. Where do you need to grow? Where is your marriage threatened by a personal weakness? Start addressing those areas where you are weakest. Remember, you’re a two-person team. Your spouse has put a large amount of faith in who you are and who you become. Do everything you can to honor that commitment.” (Gary Thomas)
And as far as growing as a married couple, please note:
“It’s okay to have one rookie season, but it’s not okay to repeat your rookie season. You will make rookie mistakes in your first year of marriage; the key is not to continue making those same mistakes in year five, year ten, or year twenty of your marriage” (Dennis Rainey)
So, the point is, to the best of your ability, make it your marriage mission to grow as individuals AND as a couple.
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 motivated by love, then you’re “only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” according to the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13. Again, please note:
“Reading the Bible together is good, but don’t stop there. Merely reading God’s Word won’t help you or your marriage. That’s like reading a recipe but not actually preparing a meal. It will not create a spiritual bond. The Bible provides God’s instructions on how to live righteously in an unrighteous world, but it does us no good if we don’t apply it. ‘Do not merely listen to the word… do what it says.’ (James 4:22)” (David Clarke)
Keep in mind: the principles for living, that God gives us in the Bible, are also the principles for loving in our marriages.
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!
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 so at least ONE parent is (humbly) doing the right thing!
These additional marriage suggestions and advice might help you with this mission:
Above all, honor each other, your children, AND most of all 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
— 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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