How to Strengthen Your Spouse

couple encouragement

We are convinced that every married person should proactively strengthen their spouse. There are all kinds of situations and issues that assault us and bring us down, aren’t there? For example…

  • The sheer pace of life with children, sports, work responsibilities, church activities, the pull of friends, household chores (it’s tiring to just see the list!), can wear us down like waves beating on the shore. There are times when we are simply exhausted from the dailiness of life.
  • Some men and women struggle with insecurity for various known and unknown reasons. But it’s very real and can affect how they see themselves in marriage and life in general.
  • Even married spouses can be affected by loneliness. Not because you aren’t there for them, but because they long for a same-gender friendship(s) that is lacking in life.
  • Fear affects men and women in different ways, but can be very present in marriage. It can keep your spouse from facing life with peace and confidence.
  • Failure is an incredibly vulnerable experience for a husband or wife to experience in marriage. It could be failure at work, as a parent, financially, morally—a myriad of ways that we can miss the mark.

During good times we can shore up our spouse and strengthen them. And when they ache in their body and soul we are empowered by God to strengthen them as well.

In the book of 1 Samuel beginning in chapter 17, the account is given of David, the giant-killing shepherd and one-day king—and his closest friend, Jonathan, who was King Saul’s son. You can read the account for yourself, but over time David went in and out of King Saul’s favor. Eventually, Saul wanted David killed, so David went on the run into the desert with a handful of men. Bible scholars estimate that David was running an in hiding for six to eight YEARS!

David was probably exhausted, fearful, insecure, upset at being unjustly treated, and lonely. At some point in his flight from King Saul, David’s dear friend, Jonathan, seeks him out and finds him in the desert.

The Bible describes their meeting this way: “And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David…and helped him find strength in God.” (1 Samuel 23:16). We don’t know what Jonathan said to David, but we know what he must have done. He reminded him of God’s promises. He reminded David of God’s greatness. He reminded him of God’s purposes in his life.

Here’s a thought:

What if every husband and wife was attentive to their spouse’s needs to strengthen them? What would happen to marriages today if each of us took the initiative to help our spouse find strength in God? Don’t you believe that would radically change the tone of our marriages if we injected them with hope and confidence in God?

Starting today, ask God to show you how you can strengthen your spouse in Him. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. Search for verses and promises in the Bible that directly apply to what they are facing
  2. Ask your spouse if you can pray for them. Hold them or place a hand on their shoulder as you pray
  3. Remind your spouse of how God has worked and provided through your marriage—be specific
  4. Remind your spouse of how God has worked and provided through the pages of the Bible—be specific
  5. Tell your spouse how much Jesus loves and cares for them. You might read Matthew 6:25-34 together
  6. Remind them of God’s presence as you go through the valley (Psalm 23)

Let your spouse know that you are in this together, as you build your marriage!

5 Steps to Connect and Listen in Marriage

black couple in love 2

We want to connect with our spouse! So many marriages struggle because one or both spouses feel they aren’t known, heard or understood. In our marriage, we believe that if we had just taken the time to really listen through the years, so many disagreements (read: arguments) would have been avoided. But instead, we reversed James 1:19 and were quick to speak and slow to listen. In any relationship that’s a recipe for disaster. If only we had heard (and heeded) the wise words of James and read quotes like these:

  •  St. Francis of Assisi  prayed, “Grant that I may not so much seek to be understood, as to understand.”
  • German theologian Paul Tillich wisely pointed out that “The first duty of love is to listen.”
  • Greek Philosopher Diogenes humorously pointed out that “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.”

If you and your spouse want to connect at a deeper level and avoid costly misunderstandings, an important first step is to take a look at yourself.

We found that sometimes we simply need to grow in self-awareness. There are thought processes and actions that we habitually or unintentionally fall into which can actually create the disconnect that we loathe. Here are five things to consider…

1) Am I really listening?

When your spouse is talking, ask yourself, “Am I really listening to understand, or simply formulating my response until he/she is done?

2) What’s my body language?

When you are engaged in conversation, imagine sitting across from yourself. What does your body language project? What expression is on your face? What kind of verbal/physical feedback are you giving as your spouse talks? (Hint: sighing, looking around them at the TV, checking your watch or phone are NOT advisable!)

3) Do I fully understand the issue?

Before you state your response, ask questions to be sure you fully grasp what your spouse has said. (See our Building Block on this here: http://bit.ly/16bqqlz)

4) Is my tongue under God’s control?

We know this can be difficult, but if you have trouble controlling your tongue or your tone, develop the practice of shooting up a prayer to God for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your response. A simple prayer like, “God, please give me self-control and gentleness in what I say” can go a long way in bringing connection or resolution. When we’ve practiced that simple act of prayer before speaking we have seen God transform our conversation so that it is clear, receivable, and honoring.

5) Does my spouse need time to process?

Some people are processors—they need time to think mull over, and consider various options. Give the grace in your marriage to allow your spouse to step away from the topic for a while (whatever you agree on). This allows them the opportunity to think through all of the variables and bring their truest self to you in how they respond.

What can you think of to become a better listener as you Build Your Marriage?

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What Every Woman Wants–The Heart of the Matter

Woman Dreaming

Men want to know how to capture and keep their wife’s heart. Women want their husband to continue to pursue their heart. The problem is too many men take their cues from movies, the other guys at the office, or music. Too many women take their cues from movies, their girlfriends, or the music they listen to. The end result? There becomes a growing frustration and disconnect in the marriage.

To understand what every woman wants, men have to go  back and look at what the Author of marriage says about the way to treat our wives. In fact, we were even given a model to follow.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives JUST AS Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” We’ll address the implications and the how in a moment, but first, the benefits.

  • Your wife will know that she is cherished.
  • Your wife will know that she has value.
  • Your wife will want to draw closer to you.
  • Your wife will feel safe around you.
  • Your wife will know she can trust you.
  • Your wife will feel more intimate toward you.
  • Your wife will feel more confident.
  • Your wife will gain strength from your strength to serve her.
  • Your wife will experience peace knowing you are attentive.
  • Your wife will feel connected to you.
  • Your wife will feel more attractive
  • Your wife will draw closer to Jesus.

Every woman wants that–and you have been given the example and have been empowered to give this to your wife.

Men, EVERY time you see a cross, it’s a reminder of how Jesus has loved you…

  • Unconditionally (“While we were still sinners Christ died for us.”)
  • Sacrificially (“…walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”)
  • Obediently (“…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death….”)
  • Lovingly (“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”)

What every woman wants is a man who will love her JUST AS Jesus has loved him.

So how does a husband live this out on a daily basis?

  • Sometimes it’s just the simple things like asking if he can get something for her when he goes to the kitchen.
  • It’s staying home from golf or personal interests and watching the children so she can go out with her friends.
  • It may be putting one’s career on hold to stay at home while she supports the family financially.
  • It’s doing the chores that she really doesn’t enjoy.
  • It’s listening and talking when you’d rather read, watch ESPN, or simply be alone for a while.
  • It’s choosing to be pure in what you watch and what you think about so that you are faithful to her in all things.
  • It’s studying her needs, wants, and love language so you can tailor your expressions of love to her way of receiving love.
  • You get the idea.

Husbands, how will you love your wife JUST AS Christ loved the church as you build your marriage?

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