“Keep it up!” “You’re doing a great job!” “Way to go!”
Isn’t it nice when someone encourages you for doing a good job? In his first letter to the church in Thessalonica the Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Paul encourages and lays out the two areas for Christians to focus on in their relationships.
We’re going to take these two areas that Paul focused on and apply them to marriage. Read through the following questions and let them guide you in how you help your spouse be their best.
1. Encourage Your Spouse
“What do I see my spouse doing well?”
Because marriage is an intimate relationship, it can be easy to notice the flaws and distracting habits of one’s partner. Instead, focus on telling your spouse what they do well. Be as specific as possible. You might be creative in how you communicate what you observe. Write a note. Pen a poem. Make a video and email it. Tell them over dinner in front of your children. You get the idea.
“What gifts and abilities do they have?”
This moves from the external things that they do to the way that they are wired by God. Describe to them the things that make them special and unique. You might say something like, “Here are some of the ways I see that God has gifted you.” “These are just a few of the reasons I think are so amazing.”
“What character qualities do I appreciate?”
This drives at the core of who your spouse is. It could be their integrity, discipline, joy, patience, work ethic, etc. You might do a search on the Internet for character qualities and see which ones resonate with what you see in your spouse.
“How can I reinforce my spouse’s abilities?”
As you consider your answer to the previous three questions, come up with ways that you can regularly feed into your spouse regarding what you see and experience through them.
2. Build Your Spouse Up
“What can I pray about for my spouse?”
This is the single most important thing you can do for and with your spouse. Ask for two or three things that you can be praying about. Take time to pray with them for their concerns. Be faithful and to lift your spouse up in prayer every day. Follow up every few days regarding the request which they gave you. This lets them know that you care and continue to pray for them.
“What experiences does my spouse need to use their abilities?”
Perhaps there are opportunities for your spouse to serve according to their gifts and abilities. Maybe there is a conference that would feed them spiritually and you can save up and send them. Maybe there’s a class at church or in the community that you can encourage them to take that will reinforce how God has wired them.
“What relationships can I encourage?”
Perhaps there are relationships you can encourage with others who have similar gifts and abilities. Maybe your spouse just needs to make some good Christian friends who can refresh and encourage them. Your affirmation in pursuing those relationships can build your spouse up in ways that only a good friend can do.
“What scripture can I give to build up my spouse?”
If you aren’t sure where to start in finding good verses, we encourage using the Bible app found here. Searches on the Bible app or Internet can yield a treasure trove of verses to build up your spouse.
You’re already doing some of these things, now take what you’ve read and apply them to your spouse as you Build Your Marriage!