I want to ask you a few questions.
- Do you like it when someone shows genuine interest in you?
- Do you like getting encouragement when you feel weak?
- Would you like it if someone asked you empowering questions when you were feeling down?
- Do you like to know that you are enough?
- And most importantly, do you like to feel loved?
Can I get an AMEN to all of the above!? I want all of those things! And you know what, our spouses want those things too.
Treat your spouse the way you want to be treated
The thing is, it takes a conscious effort to consistently show this kind of behavior. My husband and I have been married for almost five years, crazy! And one of the most powerful things I have learned is that treating him the way I want to be treated (even when he doesn’t deserve it) sets the foundation for connection, happiness, and a healthy marriage.
For this reason, I make it a priority to build my husband up every day, even if it’s something small. And it’s especially important for me to do this during times that maybe I feel like he doesn’t deserve it. Because let’s face it, there are certainly times I don’t deserve it either.
It isn’t easy to treat someone the way you want to be treated when they aren’t treating you, well, the way you want to be treated. If you’re like me, my instinct is to mirror that behavior, and if my husband had a bad day and is being short, well then hey, I’m going to be short too.
But friends hear me, this type of behavior is a slippery slope, and so unnecessary.
Maybe your spouse is short because he/she had a terrible day, perhaps they’re stressed, worried, confused, scared, or overwhelmed. We have to take a second, step back, and take our needs out of the equation for a bit. I’ve had to train myself to stop asking “what am I getting out of this” and instead ask “what am I giving”?
When we stop focusing on our own feelings, needs, and rules, and we GENUINELY put all of that energy into the other person. That’s when real, unconditional, selfless love happens. How do you put this type of energy into the other person?
1.) Have genuine interest in what your spouse is doing
Whether it be work or hobby’s, showing interest can be challenging! Especially if your spouse is doing something crazy like running marathons, (cough cough, my husband!). However, no matter how crazy, weird, or uninterested you are, become interested.
I’m not saying you have to love or join in on whatever hobbies your partner is doing (you won’t see me running marathons anytime soon!). But just by showing your spouse you’re interested and cheering them on goes such a long way. And who knows, you might end up loving their crazy activities. It could be an opportunity to spend some extra time together.
Maybe you’re saying, well why should I show interested if my husband doesn’t show any interest in what I’m doing? REMEMBER – What am I giving, instead of, what am I getting? You see, the more we give, the more we get. But someone has to start! I guarantee if you will take that first step, and show the other person genuine interest, then it will start a positive chain of events.
2.) Recognize your spouse’s weakness and compliment them
None of us are immune to feeling weak at times. Even the toughest, strongest, and most confident people have the occasional insecurity sneak up on them. One person in the relationship may verbally express a weakness, while the other may hold it back and only through subtle details may you notice.
No matter how you recognize when your spouse is feeling weak or insecure, make it your job to speak in a way that drives those feelings away. Compliment them daily, make it a habit.
3.) If they’re feeling down ask some good questions
“Questions immediately change what we’re focusing on and there how we feel” – Tony Robbins
Now, this doesn’t mean put your detective hat on and go full blown interrogation mode on your spouse. No, that will be ineffective and most likely cause them to shut down.
Instead, ask some great questions to get your partner out of their current negative emotional state. For example, a while back my husband was so frustrated with work. First of all, I acknowledged his feeling; you never want to minimize how someone is feeling in their negative emotional state because those feeling are very real at that moment. Instead, start to guide them out of that state through some great, empowering questions. Here’s what I said:
Babe, I know you’re feeling frustrated with work, what’s the biggest challenge you feel like you’re facing? I did a couple of things here. 1.) I acknowledged how he was feeling, 2.) I changed the word frustrated to challenged (read this post I did about the power of vocabulary), 3.) I tried to get him to pinpoint what was making him feel this way.
By doing this, I was able to help him get out of the doom and gloom feeling like everything was going bad. Instead, there was one particular area that he realized was ultimately causing the frustration. I kept asking more empowering questions, and before you knew it, we were focusing on solutions, ideas, and a plan.
If you guys have been reading my blog for a while now, you know I’m kind of obsessed with Tony Robbins book Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! Chapter 8 in this book, Questions are the Answer, was life changing for me. You have to read it! It will transform the way you think about questions.
“I began to realize that thinking itself is nothing but the process of asking and answering questions.” Tony Robbins
4.) Let your partner know that they are enough
This one doesn’t need much explanation. Today more than ever people live with the pressure to have it all, or more accurately, appear to have it all. Living with these demands we put upon ourselves through comparison is exhausting. How do you put a stop to it? You remind yourself and your partner that you’re enough. Thank them for something small, like going to work and providing for the family. Frequently express gratitude for what you have. Compliment something you love about them, tell them how proud you are to be their wife/husband.
Do this every day! Even if it’s a small gesture, practice it. We all want to know that we are valued and loved for who we are. Whatever you would want your spouse to say to you, say it first. Don’t hold out; life is too short. I heard someone say on a podcast recently, what if every day you treated the people in your life like it was the last time you were going to see them, what would you say, how would you act? Life flashes by in an instant, spend your time letting your spouse know that they are enough.
5.) Above all else – Love
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13 is probably one of the most common readings done at a wedding ceremony, but do we embody its meaning? Do we practice it, or do we just read it because it sounds right?
Relationships don’t have to be drama filled or complicated. We are given 1 Corinthians 13 to take the guess work out of it. Write this verse down, read it, think about it, live it. It wasn’t created for a pleasant reading at a wedding; it was created as an extraordinary guide to a happy, healthy, loving marriage. Don’t just tell your spouse you love them, show them. Show them by being kind, respectful, patient, selfless, encouraging, supportive. Build your spouse up through these actions and see the beautiful relationship that forms from it.
What are some small things you do to build your spouse up?
Take one small step today.