Encouragement for Married Couples
The Lord put it on my heart to share four encouragements for us as married couples for the new year. His heart is for our relationships in marriage to continue to grow and improve and to be a blessing to each other with each passing year. I believe these simple suggestions can be of benefit.
- Take time to talk. We all are busy and it is very easy to ignore the need to share with each other. Husbands, you can really bless your wives by initiating a time to talk without distractions. Plan a time! Wives especially appreciate being able to share their hearts and to be simply heard and affirmed in what they are feeling. I have shared publicly about my need to fight the urge to answer feelings with facts. Ingrid simply wants to know that I understand what she is going through, and that I love her just the way she is. She is not looking for help or solutions unless she asks for it.
Reflective listening is a simple practice where you reflect back to the person what they shared with you, demonstrating that you were both listening and understanding what the other said. “So what you are saying is that…” All of us should learn to do this with each other. Please be intentional and take some time to talk. Husbands, your wives would love to know what you are thinking and feeling too!
- Take time to pray. Jesus said agreement in prayer is the place of power, that if two of us agree touching any subject on earth it is done for us by our Father in heaven (Matthew 18:19). I encourage you to pray after you take the time to talk. It does not have to be a long time, but simply to agree in prayer for each other. Ingrid and I also try to pray every morning before she heads to school. Sometimes it is for five minutes, other times it is just for a minute before she goes out the door. We pray “They kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth” in our lives, in our children, in Ingrid’s school, in our church–it can be whatever is on your heart. A short simple prayer has power, and I encourage you to take the time to pray together.
- Take time to have fun. What do you enjoy doing? Make time to do something fun together. Play a board game; watch a movie; go for a walk; go ice skating; go out on a date. It is important that we do things together that bring us joy as a couple. My dad used to warn me with the old saying, “Dave, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” You and your spouse are a gift from God to each other. He means for you to enjoy each other. Take time to do something fun together.
- Enjoy each other physically. C. S. Lewis correctly noted, “Pleasure is God’s idea, not the Devil’s.” He designed us for sexual pleasure, and we should be happy to enjoy it. Paul encourages husbands and wives to have sex in 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, and to even see their spouse as having “authority” over their own body! (It’s in the Bible!) Beyond the physical enjoyment, being one physically also unites us emotionally and spiritually. You feel closer to each other after making love, which is again God’s design. I encourage you to plan times to enjoy each other physically.
I am glad to report that after 40 years of marriage, Ingrid and I have a better relationship than ever, and that our love is stronger and we enjoy each other more than ever. I want that blessing for you as well. These four simple practices have helped us, and I believe they will help you, too.
For those of you with younger children, doing any of these can be a challenge. I encourage you to pursue them regardless of the difficulty. The Lord will help you. If we can help with babysitting or some practical way please let us know. I am praying for all of you to go deeper with each other.
Finally if you need some help do not be embarrassed to ask for it. Ingrid and I have gone to other pastors and their wives both early on and then some years ago when it seemed it would be beneficial to talk to someone about our lives. And it was. We are here to encourage and help each other, not to judge one another. Let’s be intentional about building our marriages in 2022.