This is such a relevant topic for messy marriages, because the need for encouragement in most messy marriages and lives is extremely high.
So I spent a lot of time pondering what is most encouraging to me in my marriage (as well as, other relationships). And one thought stood far above every other answer. You might be surprised to know that it wasn’t getting gifts, or going on fun dates with my spouse, or talking together, or even hearing words of affirmation (although, that was pretty close!).
The one act that makes me the most encouraged in my marriage is . . . humble authenticity.
I think that may be true for many of you too, because my recent post “I’m a Perfect Mess” seemed to encourage many of you. And I’d have to say that when my husband (or anyone for that matter) admits where they’ve failed and are real about their humanness, I am encouraged.
Why does this encourage me (and perhaps us) so much?
I think it’s because it melts the barriers between us.
It draws us to each other like magnets to steel.
And perhaps that’s because it’s the way God works best in and through us—in our weaknesses.
So, if you’re struggling with your spouse right now, maybe the place to start is with yourself and your humanness, your frailty, your weaknesses. Ask God to give you insight into your heart and actions. Then really listen to what He reveals to you.
God may convict you about a discontented attitude or a lustful eye or the sarcastic tone that you hide behind to slash your spouse with words. Whatever it is, confess this fault—this sin—to your spouse.
And don’t just leave it up to “I’ll do it whenever the time is right.” Get out your calendar and schedule when you plan to offer this gift of encouragement to your spouse. Otherwise, you might chicken out, because being humbly authentic takes courage. But I promise, God will bless you just as much as your humble authenticity blesses your spouse.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)