Can You Build a Marriage with Bricks?
Have you ever tried to build a marriage with bricks? Encouraging words might help you do that.
Today’s post is from a guest writer–my husband, Larry:
“To encourage or ‘edify’ literally means ‘to build a home.’ The writer of Proverbs said wisely, ‘A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver’ (Proverbs 25:11, NIV). As you edify your mate, you are constructing your marriage, buiding a rock-solid foundation for your home out of love and consideration. How do you do that?
“Affirming words are strong bricks that build esteem in our mates, especially when we offer them with precise timing–like when Rebecca has just put on her dress and is looking at herself in the mirror with that ‘I-sure-don’t-look-as-good-in-this-as-I-used-to’ look on her face. Bingo! What an opportune moment to reassure her that I still find her extremely attractive. Or when I’m staring at my to-do-list with that ‘I’ll-never-get-all-of-this-done’ look on my face, it’s a great time for Rebecca to give me a word of thanks and encouragement for working to provide for her and the family.
“I remember a time in our marriage when I had resigned my position on our church staff and was trying to determine what God really wanted me to be doing. I felt discouraged and was wrestling with self-doubt. Rebecca and I were sitting on the couch in the den one night shortly after my resignation, when she turned to me and said, ‘You know, you’re really awesome.’
“She began to enumerate the ways she considered me to be a blessing in life: the ways I supported her, the strength she drew from me, my sensitivity to the children, my wisdom as a spiritual leader. She piled up ‘apples of gold in settings of silver’ on me that refreshed and brightened me in a way that nothing else could have done. I got up the next morning ready to face the future with confidence.”1
That’s a short exerpt from the book Larry and I wrote together: Marriage Toners, Weekly Exercises to Strengthen Your Relationship. We hope to have that book available soon on our website as an e-book. You can read more about it on our marriage enrichment page–as well as information on our marriage enrichment retreats. The principles in that book have transformed our marriage through the years, and we love encouraging couples any way we can!
I wish Larry and I could say we’ve always encouraged each other through uplifting, encouraging words. But probably like you, we forget easily. Your circumstances may differ completely from ours. It doesn’t matter. All couples need to work at “building the home” together. Maybe you, like us, need some quick reminders on how to do that. If so, practicing affirming words is a good place to start. Try building with these quick encouraging word “bricks”:
- Catch each other doing something good, positive, or helpful. Brag on them for doing it!
- Write down your spouse’s positive characteristics. Then compliment them in those areas often.
- Find something good to say about your spouse daily–regardless of how your day went.
- Think up an encouraging word picture that describes your spouse or how you feel about them (Song of Songs in the Bible is full of word pictures. You may just need to make yours more, um, 21st century-ish). Instead of saying, “Your teeth are like a flock of sheep…” (Song of Songs 4:2 NIV), you might say: “Honey, I love your beautiful smile! It’s like a bright ray of sunshine that lights up my heart.”
Everyone loves a good word.
What about you? What kind of encouraging “bricks” have you used to build your marriage?
1Larry & Rebecca Jordan, Marriage Toners