When you go to counseling, lets face it. You do some some cheesy stuff on the comfy couch.
Feeling this, and feeling that, hold each other by the hands, saying, “I was wrong”, etc… all in the comfort of…the counseling office!
Although I’m now on the giving end of these “cheesy” exercises, I’ve been in your shoes. I know how it feels.
The truth is though, that these exercises really do have value. The one I want to share with you today took me by surprise almost 19 years ago as I reluctantly went through the motions only to get to the end and being intimately embraced by my wife who was now in tears (tears of joy of course).
When was the last time you praised, or appreciated, your spouse?
For most, this is a convicting question. The reality is, we are moving so fast in our jobs, parenting the kids, and taking care of other family responsibilities, we miss most of the ways we should be praising each other. And that’s in a typical healthy relationship! Insert a stressful or even volatile husband and/or wife and praising each other is the last thing on your mind. And if that’s not enough going against our best intentions to praise, our natural inclination will always be to criticize because of the effects of sin.
Left to ourselves we will go on a sin hunt, but through the power of the Holy Spirit God calls us to go on a praise hunt.
Yes, your spouse has faults. The reality is, they always will! But, certainly there are areas that are deserving of your praise or appreciation. In fact, lack of praise in the areas they are deserving could be discouraging them in the areas they need to grow.
Praise is God’s idea and largely precedes his call for us to change in other areas. We should follow this same model. Look at how Paul did this with the Corinthian church. The Corinthian church was full of problems. They were split with factions, tolerated immorality, pursued lawsuits among each other, struggled with sexual immorality, got drunk at the Lord’s supper, taught false things regarding the resurrection, and they failed to give financially to the church. In full knowledge of all these issues in their lives, look at how Paul addressed them in I Corinthians 1:4-9:
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge– because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
In view of all your spouse’s problems, how do you choose to address him / her?
How should we praise? Here’s a few tips:
- Publicly – Everyone likes to be praised in front of people. As appropriate, look for ways to praise your spouse in front of their friends.
- Praise Character vs Achievement – Instead of praising your husbands promotion at work, praise the faithfulness and perseverance that led to the promotion. Start praising them for the fruit of the Spirit you see evident in their life – Galatians 5:22-23.
- Be specific – Always try and tie your praise to a specific event. Instead of praising their humility, praise them for a time they showed that character quality.
- Praise often – Make it your goal to praise your spouse at least 1 time per day. Ideally, do this in person, but don’t let that stand in the way. As God brings something to your mind, PRAISE! Send an email or text. Call them on the phone. Post it on their FaceBook page.
Put it into practice tonight. Pick a fruit of the spirit and think of a specific event where they demonstrated that fruit, and let it rip! Try the below script:
“I want you to know how much I appreciated you when you demonstrated (Insert Fruit of the Spirit) when you (Specific Event).”
Only thing left for you to do is put it into practice. Ask God to make you aware of the areas your spouse needs appreciation and praise…then tell them!
…even if it seems cheesy. You never know where this will lead!