You Are Called to Encourage Your Spouse
By: Kia Stephens
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Sometimes, it is easier to encourage people when they are of no relation to us. We can easily encourage a friend on the phone or a random stranger but when it comes to the people that live in our house, it can be difficult to strengthen them emotionally. This includes our spouse.
Yes, we purposefully said, “I do.” We donned our white dresses or our tuxedos, stood at the altar, in front of all our family and friends, and vowed to love, honor and cherish them. With all of our being, we meant every single word. Slowly, however, with each passing year, our commitment to the vows we made may have waned a bit.
As we became acquainted with our spouse’s annoying habits, temperament differences, and unbearable flaws we realized consistently and continually offering encouragement might be more difficult than we originally thought. This is not to say we do not love our spouse, but it is to say sometimes we don’t feel like encouraging them. Instead, we may be tempted to criticize, offer unsolicited advice, and nag until we see the results we’re looking for.
These things come naturally but they are not effective in inspiring greatness. On the contrary, they do just the opposite. What is effective is genuine, heartfelt, and love-soaked encouragement.
The question becomes how do we offer encouragement to our spouses when we are disappointed by a decision they made, bothered by their current behavior, or have repeatedly asked them to do something they are not willing to do? Should we just fake it? How are we supposed to offer our spouse what we may not genuinely have to give?
For a while, we may be able to do this in our own strength but in the tough seasons of marriage, we will soon realize that our own strength is not enough. Genuine encouragement requires the Holy Spirit. There may be days when we need encouragement ourselves or we are frustrated by our spouse. In these times God is able to give us the right words to say. He empowers us to encourage them out of the great encouragement He offers us.
When it comes to encouraging our spouse, we are the best people for the job so we cannot opt-out whenever our feelings dictate. We know our spouse better than anyone. We journey through life with them and know all of their strengths and weaknesses. We can encourage them in a way no one else can. In looking at 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 (NIV) Paul encouraged the church at Thessalonica to build one another up. In the Greek, the word build means to build a house. When we encourage our spouse it is synonymous with partnering with God to help form them into who God desires they ultimately become. Consequently, when we do not use our words to encourage our spouse we can potentially destroy and tear down the people we love the most. We must be intentional about only using our words to build our spouse up.
This is a tremendous and sobering responsibility and can only be done with the leading and help of God. When we struggle to encourage our spouse we can rely on God to enable us to do what we feel we cannot. This is not an optional task but one we committed to when we joined together in holy matrimony.
Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally absent father. Each week through practical and biblically sound teaching she encourages women to exchange father wounds for the love of God the Father. For more encouragement download Kia's free audio message, “Knowing God as Father.” Additionally, you can connect with Kia on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.
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