Who do you have cheering for your marriage? Are the voices speaking into your marriage offering words of support, encouragement, respect, wisdom, truth and hope? Or do they tend to offer up only what you want to hear?
On a regular basis we are seeing marriages undermined by family, friends, and co-workers who are for the individual but not for the couple. As a result, their conversation doesn’t build the marriage and support commitment. Rather, advice is given to seek happiness and fulfillment even at the expense of the marriage.
In that context, read these words from Proverbs 16:28, “A perverse man (or woman) stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.” In your marriage, anyone who sows seeds of division between you and your spouse is not your friend!
When you choose to build your marriage, life and Satan will throw everything at you to keep you from succeeding. To counter those pressures you need people who are lifting you up, cheering for you, and supporting your commitment to your spouse.
Three things you can do to build a “cheering section”
1. Be respectful
Speak well of your spouse in front of others. Let them know that your marriage matters to you. Tell others the positive traits you respect in your spouse. Share good stories about your mate and your marriage. This sets the tone for others’ support for the two of you.
2. Be committed
Make sure everyone knows of your love for your spouse and your commitment to your marriage. Your verbal boundary around your marriage will steer others’ advice and conversation toward your stated desires.
3. Be pure
Build your close friendships with the same gender as you. You may relate better with the opposite sex, but you cannot guarantee what will happen with another person’s affections toward you—or yours toward them if the conditions were right. Your marriage is worth you focusing on same-gender friendships.
Four factors in identifying your “cheering section”
1. They commit to pray for your marriage
When a friend commits to be your marital cheering section before God, you can be certain they will do all they can to see those prayers answered in your life!
2. They speak respectfully of your spouse
If someone uses derisive language about your spouse, gently correct them and set the record straight about who your spouse really is! If they continue to degrade your spouse, make the decision to distance yourself because this person is stirring up dissension in your marriage. (Proverbs 16:28) It’s time to find a new friend.
3. They are personally pro-marriage
If you aren’t sure where a person stands in their position about marriage, ask them!
4. They encourage you to spend time with your spouse
This can be subtle but people who are cheering for your marriage will encourage you to be with your spouse, not away from them. It’s great to have and build friendships—we certainly work on that as well. But we’ve watched as husbands and wives get pulled by guy-friends or girl-friends who put undue pressure on spouses to “get away” on a regular basis from their spouse. Your marriage cheering section will respect when you say you need to be with your spouse.
What else would you add to the lists? When you are intentional in developing your marriage cheering section you will have momentum and support as you build your marriage!