You remember it, don’t you? You were head-over-heels in love with someone. He or she was all you could think about and you wanted to do everything you could to make that special person feel incredibly loved. You loved them so much that you took it to the point of marrying them. Then life came. Jobs came. Kids came. Arguments about this or that came. The flame that was present dwindled into a spark and you’ve found yourself wondering how to start that fire again.
One of the most effective ways to rekindle the fire of our first love is so easy, yet it seems to escape so many of us. Encourage your spouse. Really, that’s it. You’ll be amazed at the difference in both of your attitudes toward each other. What are some ways to do this?
Encourage Your Spouse in Public
When you build up your spouse in public it benefits both them and those that hear it. You don’t have to brag about them and especially don’t compare them publicly to others in the room (i.e. “Honey, I’m so glad you don’t argue with me about the bill all the time.” loud enough for the couple arguing about the bill to hear), but gently build them up. Say things like:
- “I love watching you with our children. You’re such a loving a caring mother” while you and your friends are having a discussion about parenting.
- “Here comes the love of my life” if you’re waiting for him to arrive from work while sitting at a table with friends as you see him arriving.
- “Did you know what [insert name] did for me the other day? It was so meaningful!”
- She recently worked hard to __________ and did a great job at it!
Don’t say things like:
- “The wife” wants me to vacuum tonight but I’d much rather sit and watch TV. (Don’t use the words “the wife” at all, esepcially if she’s right there with you, it makes her sound like some object that is just there. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” is a joyful declaration of the marriage covenant (Song of Solomon 6:3). Our bodies belong to each other now (see 1 Corinthians 7:4).
- I was so frustrated at you the other day for….
- Yeah, but you always….
- He doesn’t ever say THAT at home…
By watching and hearing your love for your spouse, others will be blessed by your verbal generosity and challenged to do better in their own marriages.
Encourage Your Spouse in Private
This includes both in the privacy of your immediate family (your children) as well as in private between the two of you. Your kids primary example of the way a husband and wife treat each other is you. They will learn how marriage works by watching what you do and say. Try these encouraging statements:
- I love your daddy because he…..
- Mommy is so beautiful, isn’t she?
- Daddy works very hard every day so that we can have more than we need.
- Mommy is tired because she’s been doing a great job playing and caring for you today. Let’s let her rest for a while!
While in private with one another, don’t let it become an opportunity to “say what you would never say in public.” Take time to encourage your spouse with things you noticed throughout the day or with something that you haven’t said for a while. Try to change “I love you” to “I love you because…”
Encourage your spouse both publicly and privately and do it generously and often. Don’t be arrogant about it or compare them to others, but genuinely build them up at every opportunity you get. Those who hear you (your friends, your family, your children) will be richly encouraged as well.
So, let’s put it into practice! Why do you love your spouse and how can you show it?