Our Spouse Feels a Strong Hope When We Encourage Their God-Given Abilities
There are specific grace-filled exercises we can add to our marriage that empower us to use our words and actions to help build a strong hope into our mate. Just as in the past two chapters, we’ll use three words that start with the letter A to give us direction.
The apostle Paul said, “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). God has placed abilities in all of us. He meant for us to ID these early on and then maximize them for his glory and the benefit of others. When we do this, we feed our need to feel a strong hope. We get to enjoy the fact that God has given us a position to play in the game of life, and he’ll empower us to play it well.
When we connect the dots between having a strong hope and harnessing our spouse’s God-given abilities, the strength of our marriage increases exponentially. Together we become greater than the sum of our parts. This is why we’ve got to be honest about the toxic power we wield in our spouse’s life when we mock their dreams or disparage their attempts to try something new.
There’s an old adage that says, “You’re either doubled or halved on your wedding day.” Grace-filled couples quadruple each other’s potential. In the process, the strength of their marriages, and the hope they offer to others, allows them to leave their footprints all over the future—even long after they’re gone.
Our Spouse Feels a Strong Hope When We Encourage Them toward Great Accomplishments
We need to become mentors to our spouse. They need to know we believe they can do the things God calls them to do, and they need to know we’re there to help them see these callings through to completion.
Some coaches gain winning records by using ridicule, shame, and intimidating bravado. Their victories generally come at a high personal price to their players. And usually, before it’s over, their accolades are overshadowed by their bad reputation. This is not how God coaches his team. He motivates by love. A married couple is a team. Their accomplishments in life depend far more on how they function as a couple than how they perform individually.
Because of this, grace compels us to bring passion, mercy, and encouragement to our role as our spouse’s mentor. Mentors sometimes have to ask hard questions or dismiss poor excuses. But everything is done with God’s heart leading the way. When we let the grace that overcame our own weaknesses redefine us, we become a grace-filled person committed to seeing our spouse turn their life into a series of positive accomplishments.
Our Spouse Feels a Strong Hope When We Help Them Live a Life of Adventure
One of the best ways to build a strong hope into our spouse, and our marriage, is to live a mighty adventure. I’ll take it a step up from there: one of the best ways to build a strong hope is to live a mighty spiritual adventure. When our primary desire is to be emissaries of God’s grace, any adventure we take on is a spiritual adventure.
Adventures require taking risks, facing unknowns, and processing fear. Last time I checked, risks, unknowns, and fear are things God loves to lead us through. You can’t live a life of genuine faith without being willing to follow God into places you’d prefer to avoid—trusting him all the way.
When we insist on a married life of minimal risks, we choose safety over strength. God doesn’t want us to live a safe life; he wants us to live a strong one. To do that, we have to be willing to listen to the prompts he gives us when he wants us to turn onto the roads less traveled. It’s not uncommon for one member of the marriage team to be more inclined toward this than the other. And obviously, adventure doesn’t give anyone license to be reckless. But there is a cause-effect between a sense of strong hope and couples who are willing for God to use them to do mighty things.
One of the things you have to know when you choose to live a life of adventure is that you’re going to be defeated. Victories in life are almost always a process of two steps forward, one step backward. Undefeated seasons are anomalies. So it is with a married couple who ends up in the winner’s circle. You seldom get into it without scars to show for your effort. But what’s the alternative? You can take the safe spectator’s route through life where you never have to lose, but you never gain much of anything either. Or you can take on the risks of life knowing that you will be forced to lean into each other and lean into the Lord in ways you never would have otherwise. Leaning into each other is a good thing. It’s even better when you’re both leaning into God at the same time.
Excerpted from Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Kimmel © 2013. Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., Brentwood, TN. worthypublishing.com. Used by permissio
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