Encouraging Your Spouse
God’s order for our lives and relationships is quite simple, we are to put God first, spouse second, others third, and ourselves LAST. The world on the other hand tells us to think of only ourselves. If you have chosen to be married you cannot rely on societal norms, you must rely on God’s word and plan for your life. In such a self-seeking world it can be hard, but there are ways to encourage your spouse and place him before yourself.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
My way or no way
We are born selfish, that is just a fact. When we are infants and pretty much until adulthood we tend to put ourselves before anyone else. We want what we want and when we want it. We need to be taught that things will not always go our way. Eventually, after much teaching, thanks to our very committed parents, a lot of us will grow into less selfish adults.
Unfortunately, there are still many people that fail to learn this. Either from lack of parental guidance or just an inability to grow out of this sin. It also doesn’t help that the society we live in says that things should always go the way you want and that no one else matters. We are constantly shown in the media that we as individuals are more important than the community or marriage. Thus, many people live with the mindset of, “it is my way and if you don’t like that then too bad.”
We are constantly shown in the media that we as individuals are more important than the community or marriage.
Sadly, this also trickles into their marriages. These people are unwilling to compromise and see past themselves. This leaves their spouse with a lack of voice, respect, and at some point a lack of desire to continue putting effort into the marriage.
My Opinion Overrides Yours
This goes hand-in-hand with things being only your way and no one else’s. You can get on any social media platform right now and see millions of opinions. Everyone thinks their opinion is not only correct, but that their opinion completely overrides yours.
In marriage this leads to a lot of arguments and typically a spouse who becomes broken and unwilling to even have a conversation with you. When someone is constantly having their thoughts and feelings criticized they eventually begin bottling everything up. No one wants to be told, especially by the person they vowed to spend the rest of their life with, that their opinion and their feelings are irrelevant.
“I” And “Me” Rather Than “Us” And “We”
If you listen to people when they are speaking about things in their marriage, you will hear a lot of “I” and “me” in place of “us” and “we”. When we get married we are joined in unison with another person for the rest of our lives. Things will never again be about you only, but about the couple as a whole.
I am not saying that you are to stop having your own time, friends, and personal hobbies. What I am saying is that decisions, family activities, and a significant portion of your life is now based on two, instead of one. Your time should be limited compared to the time devoted towards your marriage and family. As I said earlier, you are meant to prioritize in the order of God, spouse, others, and last is yourself.
Five way to encourage your spouse
This does not mean just bending to what your spouse wants in every situation. It simply means to place both of your ideas or feelings regarding a subject on the table and find a way to meet in the middle.
Value his opinion
It is so easy to disregard someone else’s way of thinking as irrelevant to ours. We need to remember that this can cause our spouse to feel shut out, unheard, or insignificant. So if you don’t agree with his opinion that is fine, at least make the effort to listen to what he is saying. Show him that you are trying to see where he is coming from. You will never agree with another person 100% of the time. It will keep communication lines in your marriage open though, if you are showing an interest in your husband’s opinion.
Always involve him
Decisions should not be your own. I am guilty of just making decision a lot without consulting my husband, and while he doesn’t seem to mind, it really isn’t okay. He grew up in a household that disregarded his desires, opinions and thoughts on a lot of things. Thus, he has never been confident in regards to decision-making and it is easier on us both for me to just take the wheel.
That doesn’t make it right though and encouraging him to either make a decision or give me his input has slowly build up his confidence in himself. He is gradually coming around and opening up. I am hearing his voice much more in not only important matters, but also things as simple as what we will eat for dinner tonight.
This is one that I think is super important. We are meant to build each other up. Saying something kind to your spouse or praising them, even if it is just occasionally, can have such a positive impact.
Most people thrive on positive reinforcement We deep down enjoy when our efforts are not only noticed, but praised. If you are having issues in your marriage, this is one of the first things you should think about. How often are saying something kind to your spouse?
If all you have to say is hurtful words and negative things, he will likely be a miserable. Then not only will he not want to be near you, but you won’t want to be near him either.
This is another big one. So many women think that if their husband wants to be intimate that he will take the initiative to satisfy that urge. I really disagree with this idea though. The same feeling of love you get from holding your husband’s hand or from having a loving conversation with him is the same feeling of love he gets when you two are intimate.
Yes, you should definitely be intentional in showing him affection daily with kisses or simple touches, but initiating intimacy is something you should also be intentional about. This is again an area I personally struggle in, but that is due to the issues my husband and I have had with pornography.
I am slowly building up my self confidence and trust in him because I know that he needs me to show him love in this way. Just as I need him to show me love by simple touches or compliments. Your husband wants you to want him just as much as he wants you. So while it may be awkward the first few times, at least start making an effort to initiate the intimacy in your marriage.
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