Helping Your Spouse Be More Like Christ
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. - Hebrews 3:13
Marriage is like having a built-in best friend. What are some of the benefits of a best friend? Support. Encouragement. Knowing someone “has your back” no matter what.
Even if there are hard days or seasons of your marriage where you don’t really see your spouse in this role, it doesn’t change the fact that you have a unique voice in your spouse’s life to encourage them that no one else does.
If you don’t build up your spouse, who will?
Ecclesiastes 4:9 (ESV) reads “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil”. Not only are we supposed to encourage each other in marriage, we’re supposed to help each other run the best Christian race possible. Yet more often than not, we can be found tripping each other up instead of spurring each other on.
If we truly believed the Bible when it says in Ephesians that “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” then we’d realize that our spouse’s success is our success. And ss Christians, there is no greater success than walking with Christ. So how can we encourage each other on our spiritual journeys?
It probably doesn’t look like yelling “you’re being sinful!” during a heated argument or “you’re sinning right now!” when they’re caught up in a moment of road rage. After all, Proverbs 15:1 (ESV) tell us that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” And Proverbs 25:11 (ESV) reminds us that “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
Encouraging our spouses in the Lord looks more like those soft words and gentle answers. It means swallowing our own pride in order to demonstrate a Christ-like example. It means being intentional with our words and offering verbal support when our spouse is discouraged in their faith. It means patiently listening as they ask questions or express doubt, reminding them of the fruit you see in their life, and being a soft place to land when they trip.
Instead of “I told you so” it’s “Tell me more.” Instead of recoiling in anger or disgust, it’s drawing near with hugs and love. Instead of spewing words of condemnation, it’s providing words of exhortation.
Hebrews 3:13 assigns a direct connection between encouraging one another and avoiding sin’s deception. Think about it—everything is easier when you feel like someone is on your side. Have you ever been a part of an accountability group as you fought an addiction, or committed to weight loss, or a new gym routine, or diet? What seemed so impossible alone becomes much more doable with support—even fun! Knowing someone is there and cares is a game-changer for almost everything.
Create that space in your marriage for your spouse. Odds are, they’ll do that for as well. And then together, you can “run with endurance the race set before you, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith”. (Hebrews 12:1 ESV paraphrased)
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over sixteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her drummer of a hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Visit her and see a list of books at http://www.betsystamant.com./
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