Marriage Secret #1:
"I want my spouse to treat me like I am the most important person in the world to them."
Every husband and every wife wants to be treated as though they are the most important person in their spouse's life. (I talked about this in my blog article for Marriage Secret #1 called Unlock the Secrets to Marriage.) The reason why we agreed to marry the person we did was because they convinced us that they saw us as essential for their life -- they valued us. Likewise, we pursued them as though they were very important to us. If we had treated our future mate as unimportant they would not have married us. This issue of importance -- How important am I to you? -- is crucial to the feeding of a marriage. If we starve our mate of time and attention, if we stop pursuing them and communicating their importance to us by words and actions, we end up strangling our marriage.
Let's take a deeper dive back into the first marriage secret -- "I want my spouse to treat me like I am the most important person in the world to them."
The Bible is clear that a man and a wife should show how important they are to each other. This is done in two primary ways: honor and respect.
"You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered." (1 Pet. 3:7 NASB)
"Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." (Eph. 5:33)
One spouse wants and needs honor, and the other wants and needs respect. Scripture tells us that it is usually the man who wants and needs respect and the wife who wants and needs honor. These are closely related concepts but they are distinct.
Today, let's take a look at the issue of honor.
To honor someone means to add or attribute great value to that person. Things that are valuable are held in high esteem or regarded with great respect. Your spouse has a high value because of who they are to you and to God. You don't create their original value, but as their spouse, you add more value to them because of the value they already have as your spouse. Your job or responsibility is to add more value to them and put them in a position to succeed in life. This begins by putting focus on their value and worth to the marriage and family. You can choose to point out all the things they do right and compliment them for it. You can consider their good points, their strengths, and contributions to you, the family, their work, and community, and draw attention away from their mistakes or mess-ups. In other words, promote the things they do well, and minimize their weaknesses.
Generally, people want to please the people who value them. I mean if the president of your company were in your office, you would not try to score points by telling them what they don't do well. If your goal is to gain a raise or promotion, you would spend time telling them what they do well and where their actions are making a difference in your part of the company. You would show how much you value and honor them as your boss. In the same way, if you want your marriage to be a great relationship and partnership, focus your attention on what your spouse does well. Add lots of honor to your conversations. Notice the good things they do and try to say something about it. Doing this will give them energy to do what they do well even more!
Now, it doesn't mean that we can't influence change in our spouse; all of us have weakness, mistakes, and blind spots. But one of the best ways to help a person change is to help them understand that they don't have to change to earn your love -- you already love them and realize how valuable they are to you. I see way too many husbands and wives who put down their spouses because of this or that small thing and then wonder why they don't have a loving marriage. It comes back to this idea of extending honor! The things we value we honor...we protect, cherish, and respect them. The things we don't value are not honored...we kick around, toss aside, or reject them. More than any other person in our lives, we want our spouse to be pulling for us and focus on why we have value. We need to do the same for them.
Stop putting your husband or wife down or mentioning their mistakes, weaknesses or blind spots, as though that will cause them to want to change. It won't. Instead, build them up. Talk about all the ways they are wonderful. Add value to them by letting them know that you notice everyday what they do well.
Since adding new levels of honor to your marriage will change it for the better, I'd like to take you through a couple of simple exercises that can have big impact in your marriage. I think you'll be amazed at how different your marriage will become when you do.
List five of your spouse's strengths?
If you were to catch your spouse doing something good or helpful, where would you look?
Why is your spouse valuable? Consider not just what they do, but who they are as a person.
To your community:
To their work:
To your finances:
Knowing these things, let them know that you value them and why.
(Taken from an excerpt from Dr. Gil's new book, Marriage Secrets, coming out soon.)
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead. In His service,
Dr. Gil Stieglitz
What makes your spouse tick?
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