Married couples have the potential to enjoy the very closest of relationships. But with that close relationship comes an awareness of the bad as well as the good. And our tendency so often is to focus on the negative rather than the positive.
We do it with our children, too, and we know it’s not good. But it’s even more detrimental in a marriage.
So how can we see these faults in our spouse and yet still be encouraging and complimentary? I had to learn this the hard way—and I’m still working on it today.
- See your spouse through the lens of biblical values. For example, a husband is described as a sensitive leader of the family, tender toward his wife, self-sacrificing, highly regarded in the city and in his job, complimentary and supportive of his wife in her role as wife and mother. A godly wife is described as confident, industrious, compassionate, and well-organized. Pray that God would give your spouse whatever he or she may be lacking to fulfill their roles and purpose. Praying for your spouse to grow in these biblical traits will change your attitude toward him/her.
Focus on and celebrate the good. Be grateful for every good thing no matter how small. When a negative or fearful thought about your spouse comes to your mind, choose to toss that thought out and replace it with a better, positive, encouraging thought. Whatever you think on, will become your reality.
Speak well of your spouse to others. We can easily cross the line when with friends by griping about our spouse’s shortcomings. It’s dishonoring to your spouse, it affects your attitude, and weakens your relationship. So pass by the opportunity to voice those disappointments.
Build up your spouse with your words. Rather than speaking negative, discouraging, downgrading words to your spouse, use words that affirm who they are and recognize their work and accomplishments for the family. Hearing your encouraging words will allow your spouse to think well of himself/herself, and will motivate them towards even higher goals. It’s the self-fulfilling prophecy at work. What you think of and say to your spouse will impact their self image and actions.
See your spouse as a work in process. None of us is or will be perfect. God is continually doing a work in us. Pray that He will complete the work in both you and your spouse. Let your words reflect what you see by faith rather than what you may be seeing right now.
We all can stand some improvement. Consider how you would feel if your spouse was magnifying your faults and belittling your strengths. You may find that as you pray for and speak words that build up your spouse, you will receive the same in return.
Question: What is one specific way you can show your spouse your support and faith in him/her this week that would make a huge difference? Share your answer in the comments below.