Encourage one another

“Encourage each other every day while it is ‘today.’” Hebrews 3:13 (NCV)

Most of you have to juggle a lot of important roles in your life. You’re a colleague, a parent, a family member, or a friend to someone. But if you’re married, God has given you another incredibly important role: to be your spouse’s biggest fan. It’s a job only you can do in the way God desires—and your spouse desperately needs you to do it.

Every person on the planet needs to be affirmed by someone on a regular basis—including your spouse. It’s how God wired us. More than likely, affirmation was part of your marriage in the beginning. You probably wouldn’t have married each other if it wasn’t. But like so many other parts of a growing marriage, affirmation often fades over the course of time.

The Bible says in Hebrews 3:13, “Encourage each other every day while it is ‘today’” (NCV).

But how do you encourage each other? What should you affirm in your spouse?

Here are some practical ways to affirm someone. They’re great tips for marriage and for any close relationship.

  1. Affirm their value.

One meaning of the word “appreciate” is “to raise the value of something.” You raise the value of other people when you appreciate them. As you appreciate your spouse, you raise their value and the value of your marriage. Proverbs 12:25 says, “A word of encouragement does wonders!” (TLB). A word of encouragement will do wonders for your marriage—or any other relationship.

  1. Affirm their strengths.

You bring out the best in your spouse when you point out their strengths, instead of focusing on their weaknesses. Choose to be a dream builder, not a dream buster. We ultimately become what other people see in us. No person in your spouse’s life can impact their self-identity—and ultimately their future—like you can.

  1. Affirm the role they play.

You and your spouse make your own unique contributions to the world. Let your spouse know how much you appreciate the role they play. Cheer them on and help them see the impact they’re making.

You have an incredible opportunity to impact your spouse’s self-understanding. You can use that opportunity to either build them up or tear them down. It’s your choice. And it’s one of the most important choices you’ll make for the health of your marriage.

Choose to intentionally build up your spouse, today!

Adapted from an article by Rick Warren

Arguments in marriage

Sadly, it’s human nature that we often hurt most the ones we love the most and are the closest to. People who are married often argue with their partner more than with anyone else! If you’re having problems with arguing in your marriage, then of course all the above pointers will apply. But here are some extra tips:

Opera tenor Jan Pierce, after being married nearly 50 years, said: “My wife and I made an agreement long ago, and we’ve kept it no matter how angry we’ve grown with each other! When one is letting off steam, the other should listen–because when two people are peeved and trying to get their point across at the same time, there is no communication, just noise and bad vibrations!”

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The thorn factor

I don’t think that God intended any marriage to be perfect. I think of it as the “thorn” factor that He allows into the equation — that element that we shrink from, but that He knows we need. You may ask yourself, “Why would we need differences of opinion, sensitivities, misunderstandings, jealousies, resentments, comparing, sacrificing, arguments, emotional upsets, fears, heartbreaks, and adversity? Those things don’t sound like they would build a very strong marriage.”

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Five things super-happy couples do every day

By Ty Wenger:

The Lord knows this is not the sort of thing guys brag about. But I have a ridiculously happy relationship with my significant other.

It hasn’t always been this way. In fact, I’m not ashamed to admit that our current bliss is the result of almost a year of counseling, a desperate effort undertaken several years ago, when we appeared destined for doom. What we learned then is something all happy couples eventually discover: A good relationship is a bit like a pet boa constrictor: either you feed it every day or bad things happen.

We asked happy couples to tell us about relationship-strengthening solutions they’ve developed. Try your hand at incorporating a few into your daily life, and maybe you can be as ridiculously, embarrassingly, revoltingly happy in your relationship as I am.

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Give up the blame game

By Renata Waldrop

One thing that is very damaging to a marriage is blame placing. When you place the blame on your mate, in a way you excuse yourself from being a part of the solution, and you put the onus on your mate to do all the work of changing whatever you’re unhappy with.

“Honey, where are my navy pants? Didn’t you wash them?”
“I can’t worry about your clothes because I’ve got to get your son ready! Who else is going to do that?”
“Well, I worked overtime last night! I didn’t have time to wash and press a pair of pants.”

This was normal conversation in our house – one spouse offering up a sacrificial responsibility, the other countering with greater sacrifice. I even recall one or two arguments over the fact that he keeps more pillows on the bed than I do. (It seemed important at the time.)

Our marriage had become little more than dueling to-do lists – a competition to establish who had the most hectic schedule, as if that were the secret of marital superiority: “She who works hardest wins.” But what did I expect to win?

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Eight lessons of love

By Mike and Debbie Breaux

Growing up, I (Mike) had all kinds of confusion about the crazy little thing called love. In the fifth grade, I got my first crush on Kathy. She had that Laura Ingles Wilder thing going, with the braided pigtails. So cute! I chased her at recess. I threw rocks at her. All the ways you show affection in the fifth grade.

By high school my dating techniques changed – thankfully! I started to date Debbie. I remember sitting with her in a movie theater. My heart would pound because I wanted to hold her hand so badly! But I was shy. I’d go into this countdown mode. Ten, nine, eight … ten, nine …

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