“Be your spouse’s biggest encourager, not their biggest critic.”
I saw this quote from Marriage 365 in my Instagram feed one day. I saved it right away because I need this reminder on more days than I’d like to admit!
Two things really came to my mind in a convicting way.
First, my mind naturally gravitates toward finding fault to “fix”. It’s a trait that helped me be a successful editorial assistant during my college years, a job that’s typically given to grad students, but not so great when it comes to people.
Second, I’m often pretty caught up in what’s going on in my world. When Joel and I have a chance to talk, I often fill the conversation with what’s new in our business or what Josiah’s been up to that day. I’m not always intentional about asking a journey of questions to hear about what’s happening in Joel’s world. His job, his thoughts, the little moments of his life.
I know that Joel doesn’t need me to be there to “fix” him. Part of loving each other and building a strong marriage is the ability to help each other see weaknesses and grow through them, but not to nag. Not to criticize, not to try to create a person that he’s not.
Learning more about all the little details of Joel’s day really helps connect us on life’s journey. What feels insignificant at the time is really a bonding experience. The more I understand about his world and the intricacies of what he deals with, the better I can encourage and help him when he’s in a frustrating place.
What I want for our marriage is that encouragement would be a normal part of our interaction together. His way might not be my way (nor mine his), but there’s beauty in the differences. We’re so much stronger, more graceful, and more balanced because we have very different strengths and weaknesses.
How can you turn your marriage into one characterized by encouragement instead of criticism? Do you find yourself nagging, criticizing, or arguing over things you think should be done differently? Are they imperative things, or just a difference of opinion?
Next time you find yourself tempted to criticize how your spouse is spending time, eating for breakfast, or speeding your 1-year-old around the house in his highchair, step back for a minute and evaluate.
Is there an opportunity instead to encourage? Ask respectfully for something you’d like to change?
Criticism very rarely gives you the results you’re really craving, but making an intentional effort to encourage each other daily will create the kind of marriage you want!
Here’s to building stronger, healthier, and encouraging marriages!
P.S. In case you missed the link above, I encourage you to check out Marriage 365! I love having them pop up in my Instagram feed for a mini dose of marriage encouragement. They also have an option to sign up for the email newsletter. Check them out!
And if you want even more J&A marriage inspiration, check out this whole collection of Tuesday Mochas on our blog! We share little pieces of marriage advice, tips, and encouragement as we travel this journey of life as a husband-wife wedding photography team.
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